Thursday, April 21, 2011


I got to class last night and sat down to look over the profile...and decided I didn't like it at all.  So I did some musical playlisting and flipped some stuff around and pulled out this profile instead.  I actually really liked it.  Nick came with me last night, and he says he's sore this morning...which makes me feel good because I followed along with it at about 85% and wasn't sore at all.  (The pushups Rose made me do still have me achey though...go figure.)

There was a lot of bouncing around, but it was a fun ride, in my opinion.  I wasn't crazy about the playlist (my iTunes keeps randomly deleting songs for me...thanks for that), but it worked.  Classes are getting smaller as the weather keeps getting warmer.

This was actually the last Wednesday I was officially scheduled to teach...I'll be back to subbing lots over the summer, but I don't think I'm scheduled to teach again for over 2 weeks.  Blerg.  Oh well, that gives me time to come up with something really fun for that class.  :-)  8:30 AM, you in?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Practicing What I Preach

I won't lie, this was a miserable weekend.  I caught the office cold and wound up wallowing in snotty self-pity for most of the weekend.

Except Saturday 10-11 and Sunday 8:30-9:30.

This weekend was a perfect excuse to practice what I preach and ride a recovery ride (HR < 65%) in spite of telling everyone else to push harder, faster, stronger.  I did better at it Sunday than Saturday, but part of that was Christina telling everyone not let me sweat.  :-)  She's good like that.

The Tale of Two Mountains ride was fun.  I like co-teaching with Christina...she's fun and we have similar philosophies but very different styles, so it's easy to do a night/day ride.  I told her I want to do a "dueling DJs" style ride with her at some point, but I'm not really sure how that would work...any ideas?

In other news, I bit the bullet and signed up for online Anatomy & Physiology I & II over the summer.  A full year's worth of classes (labs too) crammed into 10 weeks.  Should be a riot.

I'm actually really pumped about it.  I'm hoping that if I'm successful at those classes, I'll be ok taking the 3-day crash course to get NCSM certified for personal training in September.  We'll see.  I've already started coloring inside the lines in my Anatomy Coloring Book.  :-)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Warm Fuzzies

This morning I woke up with what, truth be told, I knew I was going to wake up with...a mild but annoying head cold.  Blech.  You know the kind...scratchy throat and bubbly nose, not quite sick enough to call in a sick day, but sick enough that if you have the choice you'd wallow in self pity on the couch?  Yeah, that's the one.

Fortunately, I love my (night) job, so I used this morning's ride to practice what I preach, which is along the lines of "if you're up to it, working out while mildly sick is ok, so long as you don't overdo it".  I barely had any resistance on, and I kept the workout strictly aerobic.  You know what? No regrets.  I won't claim that it necessarily made me feel better (the shower after sure did though), but I'm glad I went.  It was a good class.

I always love getting feedback, positive or negative, and today was no exception.  One of the women I've seen in class before (hi M!) went out of her way to tell me that it was one of the best workouts she's had in a while.  What a compliment!  I love having this particular woman in class...she's always smiling and working hard, and I love that kind of disposition.  Unfortunately, this is the last Saturday morning I'm scheduled to teach until autumn, to that.

On that note, I added a calendar gadget to the sidebar, so if you want to catch any of my classes ever, you can see when they're happening.  If you're interested in attending but aren't a member of Executive, drop me a line (or leave a comment and I'll get back to you) and I'll get you set up with a guest pass.  Keep an eye on that calendar too...soon I'll be teaching the bootcamp/strength classes as well!

Sadly, my iPod re-synced before I could capture the glory of the playlist that ran through Wednesday, but just imagine some Backstreet Boys in the mix and you get the picture.  Overall, I really liked this morning's playlist.  Very poppy, but that's my style anyway.  :-)

Rocketeer  - FarEast Movement
Higher - Taio Cruz Feat Kylie Minogue & Travie McCoy
Hey Ya! - OutKast
Stronger (Radio Edit) - Kanye West Feat. Daft Punk
In Her Eyes - Basshunter
Forever - Chris Brown
Blow - Ke$ha
Circus - Britney Spears
Welcome To The Black Parade - My Chemical Romance
Dance Floor Anthem  - Good Charlotte
Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor) - [feat. T-Pain] Pitbull
Finger Eleven - Paralyzer
Wind It Up - Kat Deluna
Hello Hurricane - Switchfoot

On another note, I'm looking at taking A&P I&II over the summer so I can get myself at least somewhat in gear to become a certified Personal Trainer come September (when there's a crash course weekend in my town).  Any advice on how not to die taking that much anatomy in 8 weeks?  Blech.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Meant to post this before class tonight, but work kept getting in the way.  Pshaw, who needs to pay the bills, huh?

In any case, this was tonight's ride.  4 hills, with one little set of sprints thrown in for good measure.  It's week 5 of our strength segment, so it's getting harder to impress these guys.  I think I take for granted how hardcore my Wednesday night group is.  We've been training together for over a month now, and I just assume that if they can do it, anyone else can (at least to a degree).  They never complain, and on occasion I'll get a "great workout", but not since week 1 of strength rides have I heard anyone comment on the difficulty.

I taught at lunch today too, and used a ride I taught a few weeks ago. Suffice it to say, I think their regular instructor doesn't take it to quite that level.  I happen to love that's ROUGH, but man it feels like you've accomplished something at the end.  I used a better playlist though. At the end, I got quite a few "wow, that was hard!" (but in a good way) comments.  It seemed to be a big hit, and I was proud of them for sticking it out.  I mean, if you do it right, it is a really tough ride.

I need to go get some work done, so I'll have to post tonight's playlist later.  I'll also need to write it down before syncing my iPod again, since apparently my iPod decided not to sync the last time I told it to, and kept the Backstreet Boys on there.  Sigh.  At least I can serve as comic relief.  Bah dum ching.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Strength Heart Rates

Last week, one of my regulars (not to mention one of my inspirations), Dan, came up to me asking what he should do if he's already at 85% during a strength ride.  He said he was at 85%, but felt comfortable.  I mumbled stuff about maybe his calculated heart rate wasn't right and all that, but truth be told...I didn't know what to tell him.  I wasn't comfortable telling him to go beyond 85%, without knowing that doing so would be effective for him.  So I pawned him off on the personal trainers, hoping they'd have better info, and went home to do some reading.

Turns out, I was right...I was missing the point of strength training.

Aerobic base building is VERY heart-rate centric, and when you're training strictly aerobically, it's very important to keep tabs on your heart rate and keep it below 80% of your max (whatever that is...bearing in mind that if 85% is an invalid number for you, 80% very well may be as well, so it's worth poking around and finding out your true values, for more effective training).  However, the point of strength training is to improve your anaerobic threshold which you can't do if you're aiming for a number that has no meaning for you.

So going into this week, I'm going to teach my strength classes using RPE (rate of perceived exertion) rather than a number.  Around your threshold, you should be breathing in and out through your mouth (because you have to, not because you want to - and allergies don't count! :-}) but should not be breathless.  At threshold, you should be able to maintain a heavy (for you) load for a while (which is also dependent on you and your fitness level), but wouldn't want to stay there all day.  What we're going for is extending both how heavy that load is and how long you can stand it.  This week, I think I'll ask students to gear up to a level they think they can stand for 15 minutes, then settle in to that load, then check their heart rates after a minute or two.  Then I'll add gear challenges as I see fit.  :-)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bike Butt

Short post. I rode about 7 miles total this weekend (to/from the auto shop and to/from the grocery store...whoop).  Just a friendly reminder that Spin might be great aerobic training, but oh. my. god. it is not a good indicator of what the real road feels like. My poor butt. Stupid potholes.

In searching for a good picture to go with this post, I found a few gems, but this one was above and beyond the winner.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Scaling the Seven Seas

Ok, well not seas, peaks.  But you get it.

Last night was a fun (last minute) ride.  The profile was seven total hills, sort of lumped into 2ish hills.  Each one was meant to simulate the highest peak on a continent.  I picked music with a little bit of creative liberty (for example, Pitbull is from Brazil, so he got play during the South American peak...Final Countdown is by Europe, so they were played during the European peak).  Overall, I think it was a hit.  If I'd had more time to prepare, I could have done some more research about each peak, but then I would have just ended up talking more.  This profile is a modified version of one I got from a fellow instructor on, so don't go thinking I'm the creative genius behind it 100% or anything.  I shortened it to fit 45 minutes, modified the cues to match my music a little better, and changed the music 100% from what he suggested.

I would have LOVED to have a projection screen for this ride, but instead we just had our imaginations.  Maybe that was better anyway. :-)

Tomorrow I'm going for a long ride outside, to start actually training for this century fiasco.  I rode from the auto shop to my house this morning and it felt WONDERFUL.  I can't wait get back out!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Running, Or: Endorphin Enlightenment

I've started reading a lot of running blogs lately, and I swear one of these days I'm going to start pounding pavement again.  Maybe I'll even tready it up tonight before class.  Yeah...and if a frog had wings it wouldn't bump its @$$ when it hopped (brownie points if you can name the movie sans Google aid).  

I love this part of my relationship with's that phase where I forget all the reasons I hate running and start thinking it's this glorious, mind-blowing, enlightened activity which, if I manage to stick it out long enough, will wrap me in its warmth and whisper all of life's secrets in my eagerly awaiting ear.  I get new shoes (check), new socks (check), maybe even a gym membership (check) and I wait for The Perfect Day on which to rejoin the fold of Runners Everywhere.  (You know the day...sunny, mid-60s...body well-rested, well-fueled, and well-hydrated...sidewalks free from snow and debris, early enough in the season not to risk dodging dogs, children, and idiot drivers...mmmm...)  Maybe that perfect day is tomorrow.  It won't be Friday, since we're supposed to get snow.  But every Perfect Day seems to be tomorrow, or in half an hour, or after dinner or or or. 

In the end, one of two things happens...either I keep finding reasons why today is not TPD, or I finally settle for a day that's good enough (but never perfect...though sometimes I only decide that post-epic-run-fail) and go about a mile (maybe two) before coming back deflated, dragging myself back down the driveway, and cursing the lion who forced the first human to decide that running would be a good idea.

But then again, I could use a little endorphin-induced enlightenment today...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Double Down Wednesday

Tonight I'm teaching back to back classes...don't worry Mom, the first one is an intro class that's at best 20 minutes of effort.  The second is a little messier...tonight is week 4 of strength training, so we've got a 21 minute hill in store.

I haven't quite settled on music for this one yet, but I'm close.

I'm going to use this for the intro class...just two sawtooths (sawteeth?) so they can get the feel of the positions and cadences.  I'll throw on my top 40s workout mix for this.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Peer Pressure Isn't Always Bad

This week while I was logging my hours at the desk, one of the personal trainers walked up with a new client.  They were talking about his training schedule and whether he should do PT and TRX this week.  He was hemming and hawwing so I leaned over and said "If you're looking for someone to peer pressure you into doing both, I'm pressuring you into doing both."  He laughed and said "oookkkk...I'll do both". I told him I teach spin on Wednesday, so if he's unhappy about his choice he can come and tell me about it on a bike.
See?  Peer pressure isn't always bad.  Read on for more examples of peer-pressurized silliness.

Yesterday I went to two CEC classes: Rate of Perceived Exertion and Race Day.  Both were really good classes, but Race Day definitely was my favorite.  We did a Lactate Threshold ride, and I found out my LT is 89% of MHR, which is 178 BPM.  I plan on doing that ride again in a couple months after I've trained more, to see how far I've come. I didn't feel like I gave up at any point, but there were definitely a few points where I was frustrated with the fact that I simply couldn't keep pushing at that level. We have a few race day rides coming up in about 5 weeks, at the end of our periodization, so I'm looking forward to having something to train for.

I tried to find an inspirational "Race Day" picture, then decided I needed a friendly reminder that I did, at one point, race.  So here ya go, in all my pre-tri glory:

Foxy, I know.

Speaking of something to train for...

Yesterday, I got a message on facebook that my mother in law wants to do the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January.  My cousin in law also wants to do it, and so does my mom.  By extension, so do I.  So that's my cue to get up off the bike and start running again I guess.  I think by the end of the year I'll have convinced myself I want to do a full marathon.  Just to check the box, you know?

I also signed up for the Tough Mudder in a month, and while I had looked at the course previously and had decided it was hard but doable, I looked at it again last night and wasn't sure what part made me think "doable".  There's even a jump off a 15 foot platform into water.  Have I mentioned that I've never *actually* jumped off a high-dive before?  Nope.  Bungee jumped, rappelled down 120+ ft rock walls, but jumped into water from a really high place with no rope attached?  Count me out.  Until May 8th apparently.  Geez.

OMG part of it involves them shooting the snow makers at you???  Crimeny.

Well, at least we get a free beer out of it at the end.  Any ideas on what to wear to this catastrophe?  I'm running it with my friend Julie, so a duo outfit is even better.

Also, Tough Mudder proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior project.  If you'd like to donate to the cause, go here and look me up.  It's a good cause.

I'm also looking at doing a century ride this summer (the only race Nick will do with me), and I think I found one in the end of June that's doable and cheap.  Actually, after some yelling over the washing machine, it's been decided...we're going to do that ride.  So June 26th, everyone come to New Haven, CT and cheer us on!