Friday, October 19, 2012

Movements in the Spinning® Program

The Spinning® program was founded on the principles of outdoor road cycling. The movements that are part of the Spinning® program were developed to simulate conditions we encounter on the road. They were designed with safety and biomechanical efficiency in mind to promote healthy training principles. However, there are instructors that have created movements that are unsafe, can lead to injury and have no foundation in road cycling. They should not be performed by anyone.

There are five core movements in the Spinning® program – the seated flat, seated climb, standing flat, the standing climb and jumps. In addition, more advanced movements are derived from the five core movements. These include running with resistance, jumps on a hill and sprints. There are no other movements in the Spinning® program.

Most students will blindly follow their instructor without knowing if the movement is correct and true to the Spinning® program. So how do you know if a movement is not part of the Spinning® program if you have not gone through a Spinning® Instructor training program? Simply ask yourself this question: “Would I do this on a road bike?” If the answer is no, then you probably shouldn’t be doing this indoors on a Spinner® bike.

So you say you have never seen anyone on a road bike do jumps. True, jumps were designed to improve a road cycling skill of smooth transitions in and out of the saddle. But we actually use the movement out on the road, just not in a repetitive motion like we do indoors. And don’t let anyone tell you that you should be performing jumps in a rapid-fire motion. Jumps are performed to allow you complete each segment of the movement – the rise out of the saddle to the standing flat and the controlled return to the saddle to a seated flat – without compromising your safety. Lift out of and return to the saddle using your legs and not your arms.

There are many other movements that can cause injury while riding the Spinner®. You may have heard of these movements – hovers, squats, riding with your hands behind your back, riding with little to no resistance, riding with too much resistance, and pushups on the bike to name a few. The list can go on forever. These movements are often created by instructors that lack faith in their coaching abilities or feel students need something different in order to “feel the burn” and get a great workout. They can lead to serious injury!!!

No movement should cause you to feel pain or discomfort because your body is stressed in a compromised position. Sure, you’ll feel fatigued, but you shouldn’t ever feel pain during any movement during a Spinning® class. Learn to recognize the difference between pain and fatigue.

Just remember that simple question – Would I do this on a road bike? If your answer is no, then most likely the movement is incorrect.

Friday, September 07, 2012

WSSC 2012 - My Recap

A little late, but better than never!!!

WSSC 2012 was an incredible year for me. I managed to present three of my favorite sessions, three new ones and attend some of my incredible teammate’s rides and lectures. It was an amazing experience for me. To top it off, one of my teammates from my MI class, Angie Scott, was there to assist me in my rides. It was the first time that I have been able to ride with her since we joined the MI team back in 2007. Thanks Angie, you really helped me stay calm and you provided the visual example of perfect riding form.

My experience started on Thursday, I arrived at the hotel later than I usually do, but still managed to get connect with some of my friends I’ve met throughout the years, both on the MI team and attendees. It was relaxing and fun. Our presenter dinner was good and it provided the opportunity to see everyone on the MI team in one place.  I could feel the excitement of the conference starting to build.

My conference sessions started early Friday morning as I was scheduled to present “Communicate with Style” at 7:00 AM. You truly learn the benefit that caffeine can provide at that early hour. The participants were incredible for such an early hour and their contributions to the group sessions were unbelievable. The beauty of this session is that everyone learns a little about themselves as well as those that participate in their classes. I really enjoy presenting this session since so many of us fall into one specific communication style without realizing we may unintentionally ignore the styles of others in our classes.

My Friday afternoon session was “Riding on the Edge”. The ride is based on your threshold as determined by a practical sub-max test. Then the heart or the ride is based on those numbers. The hardest part is to keep within the heart rate parameters prescribed by the ride. Holding to heart rate parameters throughout the ride proved difficult for some as we moved through the core movements during intervals of threshold riding followed by an increase of only 5 heartbeats. Riders experienced the opportunity to see how only 5 heart beats can take them beyond their threshold and how quickly fatigue can set in.

Friday night was the MI team ride. I loved the energy in the room and this year and there was no shortage of excitement. An opportunity to ride with my teammates as well as 200 attendees makes me realize just the special connection we all have when we attend a WSSC.

I was able to sleep in on Saturday, well at least I didn’t have to present at 7:00 AM again. “The Sizzler” was first on the list for my sessions during the day. Thankfully Angie was my model of perfect form on the bike while I got to coach this exciting Race Day™ session from the floor. The riders responded well to the challenges and I’m sure they all reached their goals. The ride was followed immediately by the lunch break which allowed everyone to recover and refuel before their afternoon sessions.

Saturday afternoon I presented my “Dissecting the Pedal Stroke” workshop. We dove into the major muscles used during cycling based on the position in the pedal stroke. Muscle fiber types were discussed and how their use is based upon the power demands of our ride. We looked at a couple of videos to start to develop our coaching skills to correct flaws in the pedal stroke of our students. Finally, we explored pedal stroke drills that everyone can take back with them to their studio to help improve pedal stroke dynamics. Thanks to Cesar Valera for assisting me in tweaking bike setup and coaching the on-the bike portion of the class.

Sunday morning came early again as I presented “Exhilarating Endurance” lecture at 7:00 AM. I was surprised at the number of participants that actually showed up that early considering the time and it being the third day of the conference. This was a new session for me this year and I covered how instructors can make the endurance ride a regular part of their training regime.

My final session was Sunday afternoon entitled “Hear it, See it, Ride it.” My goal was to help instructors identify ways to make their classes more accessible to members that may be deaf, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired. The ride was broken into three segments where riders rode blind folded for the first session, without music and verbal instruction for the second segment, and finally with both verbal and visual cues for the third segment. This was an emotional ride for me to coach. I couldn’t believe the way the participants found their level of flow and rode with so much energy. It was an amazing display to watch. I hope that I can present this one next year.  The response from the participants was very touching and overwhelming.  Almost everyone that was there shared a story of how this ride affected them personally.  Some participants had children, relatives or friends that they knew were being excluded because of visual or auditory limitations.  Thanks to all of you for being there with me and sharing your experiences.

As for my own education, I took Natashia Iacovelli’s “Warrior Within” and came away with such an incredible sense of accomplishment. I highly recommend taking Natashia’s sessions as she has such a way to bring meaning to her rides and lectures. I also rode in Sarah Morelli’s “Reload” where we rode blindfolded the entire hour. This was a great experience for me as I got to prepare for my own session on Sunday. Sarah has such an incredible voice that it blends in and becomes part of the soundtrack. I took Teri Aerands workshop “Finding your S Factor” and learned a lot. The ride was just what I needed.

Overall, I’m grateful for having the opportunity to share the WSSC experience with instructors from all over the world, enthusiasts that just love the conference, and my master instructor teammates. I’m already thinking of sessions for next year and have notes for a couple new rides for next year. I hope to see all of you there!!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Overcoming Fear

One of my friends said that her mother used to tell her, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Wow, that is a powerful and truthful statement. You can literally apply this statement to everything in our lives. It works for personal relationships, our first time getting behind the wheel of a car, our first ride on the bicycle without training wheels or a parent running along to ensure we don’t fall, but most importantly, it can apply to when we take the next step in our wellness initiatives.

As a fitness instructor, I encounter people who fear attending a class because they are unfamiliar with the structure, instructor or are just afraid of what others may think of them in the class. People may be afraid of rejection, embarrassment if they cannot perform all of the movements, their own personal appearance and a multitude of other fears. Overcoming this fear is probably the hardest part for anyone who is considering taking a group exercise class. I’ve had the same fear, I can relate to what they are experiencing. I’m sure you can. I remember standing outside of my first step class – 30 women and then there was me – the lone male with two left feet.

Had I not overcome my fear of taking a group exercise class, I’m quite certain I would have never become a Master Instructor for the Spinning® program, nor pursued my group exercise certifications. Both of which have opened many doors for me and introduced me to some incredible people from every continent on our planet.

If you fear taking a class because you are new to the club or just starting your physical fitness journey, push it aside and take the plunge. Jump in and participate to the best of your ability. It is like diving into a pool; some people put their toes in and leave, while others just dive right in regardless of the temperature. Do not be worried about what others think, they were in your shoes once as well. You may find that they welcome you with open arms.

It is OK to be fearful of your first class. To ease your anxiety, arrive a few minutes before class begins and introduce yourself to the instructor. Ask where you should stand (or sit) and let him or her know your apprehension about even being there. A great instructor will help you overcome your fear and will know to break down their cuing to help you be successful. And let us face it, you’re lapping everyone that is sitting at home on the couch.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WSSC 2012

I wanted to thank everyone that attended my sessions this past weekend at WSSC 2012.  Thank you for sharing your energy and inspiring me to be the best I can be.  Your energy was contagious!!!

Here are the play lists for all of my sessions.  Enjoy!!!

See you all next year!!!

Hear it, See it, Ride it 
One Perfect Sunrise- Orbital
Colossus - Afro Celt Sound System
Rods and Cones - Blue Man Group
My Tribe - Ross Landau
Toca's Miracle - Fragma
In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel
9 AM - ATB

Riding on the Edge 
Deliverance - Yanni
Swamp Thing - Juno Reactor
Push Upstairs - Underworld
Switch/Twitch - Fluke
Good Times Roll - Powerman 5000
He's a Pirate [Chris Joss Ship Ahoy Mix] - Hans Zimmer
The Ring - GMS
Dragula (Hot Rod Hermin Remix) - Rob Zombie
Hovercraft Chase - Nicholas Dodd
Legend in the Redwoods - Cusco
Calls from Her - Max Lasser

The Sizzler
Reel Around the Sun  - Bill Whalen
Keep Hope Alive - The Crystal Method
Thunderstruck - AC/DC
Children of the Night - Juno Reactor
Bark at the Moon - Ozzy Osbourne
Un Poco Flamengo - Chilly Mary
He's a Pirate [Tiesto Remix] - Klaus Badelt
Blue Monday - Orgy
160 BPM - Hans Zimmer
Waiting for Tide - Jesse Cook
Fahrenheit 451 - ATB
Geronimo's Laughter - Cusco

Friday, March 09, 2012

Buying Cycling shoes

“What type of cycling shoes should I buy for taking my Spinning® class?” The answer to that question is based upon several factors. First and foremost is comfort. If you are not comfortable in the type of shoe you buy, then you’re probably not going to enjoy your Spinning® classes.

Another consideration is whether or not your will be using your shoes exclusively for riding indoors or do you plan to ride outdoors. Indoor shoes can be lighter, and often have a mesh upper rather than leather or other manufactured material.

Your next decision is road vs. mountain bike shoe. Mountain bike shoes provide a better walking platform with the cleat recessed within the sole of the shoe. Not only does this makes it easier to walk around, it limits the contact of the cleat with slippery floor surfaces and limits the damage to wooden floors. For Safety reasons, road cycling shoes should only be worn when you are about to mount your bike for the ride due to the difficulty in walking on smooth surfaces and the potential damage the cleats can do to the floor.

Visit several of your local bike stores to find your shoes since different stores carry different brands. Try on several pairs and walk around the shop. Note how they feel and if and where there are pressure points. Remember, comfort is the most important consideration when buying a cycling shoe. Ask if the shop will let you pedal one of their bikes on a trainer to get that ultimate fit and feel.

After you’ve settled on a pair of shoes, you’ll need to get cleats that fit the pedal system on the Spinner® bikes. The cleat mechanism used by the Spinner® bikes is a Wellgo retention system and the cleat is coded 98A. The 98A cleat will allow four degrees of float to limit the amount of knee stress. Shimano cleats will also work on most pedal systems used in indoor cycling. Ask the shop where you purchased your shoes to put your cleats on the shoes. A good bike shop will be able to align your cleats based on your physiology and the way you pedal .

Making the decision to purchase shoes for Spinning® can be a daunting task. But once you make the transition to a cycling shoe, you’ll wonder why you haven’t made the switch sooner.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Winter Training

Well, it's winter here in Northeast Ohio so that usually means limited riding outside. Not this year, things are different. The weather has been mild with little precipitation and warmer temperatures. So my bike is calling my name on a daily basis. It is time to throw the leg over the top tube and take to the roads. Why not put in a long ride outside in cool temperatures? Riding outdoors surely will keep my base building schedule moving in the right direction.

I can't wait until the next gorgeous weekend day to get out and ride. My rule - above 35 degrees and dry pavement. Mostly because I don't want to hit any black ice or residual frozen puddles along the roadway. Thirty-five degrees is still chilly so I'll be bundled in layers. That makes it much easier to pull off a layer if I get too hot. I've got a great pair of gloves to keep my hands warm without sacrificing the feel or control. I'll also pack leg warmers and arm warmers if I need to add more layers without adding bulk. Most everything I carry can be rolled up and put into my jersey or jacket pockets. I also take warmer water with me knowing that the cold air will chill the water but not so much that I get one of those ice cream headaches.

Winter training doesn't always have to be done indoors. When the weather cooperates, pull your bike out and get on the roads. Enjoy the ride!!!