Posts Tagged ‘Spinning’

Listening to Your Heart

August 6, 2010

Remember a couple of months ago when I blasted equipment at the gym for not providing accurate calorie counts?  Well, it’s time for a follow-up.  Here’s what my non-scientific study found this time around.

Calorie counts on stationary and spin bikes are still way off.  This holds true even if you’re wearing a heart monitor, which, one would think, would help the computer to calculate correctly how many calories you’re burning.  It doesn’t, so continue to ignore it.

Treadmills are a different story.  They are by far more accurate than bikes, coming within only 50 calories or so of the count registered by my heart rate monitor while running.  So you can pay attention to those numbers if you’re looking for a guide.

I still maintain you should concentrate on your heart rate range during the exercise for the most accurate reading of how hard you’re working. 

If you’re working for endurance (i.e. exercising over a long period of time) aim for a number that’s somewhere around 65 percent of your maximum.  If you’re doing intervals…get that heartrate up to between 80-85 percent of your maximum during those intervals and although the heartrate to fall to around 60 percent inbetween.

Not sure what your maximum heart rate is?  It’s really simple to calculate.  All you have to do is subtract your age from 220.


Just like Queen, I want to ride my bike

July 6, 2010

I’ve been spending a lot of time on a bike lately.  Mostly it’s because I’m in the final stretch of training for the bike leg of an Olympic length triathlon.  (After two  years of doing the NYC Triathlon solo, I decided to form a three person relay team this year.)  The other reason is because I enjoy biking so much more than running.  And now I have even more incentive to keep pushing those pedals.

One bike, two bike, red bike, blue bike.

According to findings, based on the second Harvard Nurses’ Health study, bicycling may help women control their weight during their 30s and 40s.  (The study, by the way, started in 1989 and is currently tracking more than 100, 000 nurses who fill out questionnaires about their health from time to time.)

What they’ve found that is that over the last 16 year period, women who upped the time they walked briskly or bicycled each day by 30 minutes maintained their weight.  Some even dropped pounds.

Conversely, women who decreased the time they spent walking briskly or bicycling to less than 15 minutes a day, gained weight (about 4 1/2 pounds).

Researchers aren’t quite sure why this is, but as one tells the “New York Times”, “[sic] it’s highly suggestive that bicycling is highly beneficial in women.” 

To that I say, “Bicycle!  Bicycle! I want to ride my bicycle!”

Monday Music Mayhem — Patriotic Edition

July 5, 2010

Songs about America in honor of her birthday.  You’d be surprised how many good songs there are out there that reference the USA.  So break out the red, white and blue and break a sweat to these songs!

Living in America — James Brown

American Idiot — Green Day

Party in the USA — Miley Cyrus

Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue — Toby Keith

America — Neil Diamond

American Boy — Estelle

And by far my favorite patriotic song ever recorded: (It’s slow, but a great hill climb song if you’re spinning.)

3 Simple Bike Stretches

May 4, 2010

I spent Sunday with 30 thousand of my closest friends, riding my bike through the streets of New York. It was a beautiful day for the Five Boro Bike tour which, as the name suggests, took riders through each borough on a 42 mile loop of the city. It was a great ride, but boy am I feeling it this morning (Still!). I’ve yet to go back to the gym, but I am finding stretching at least 20 minutes in the days since have really helped alleviate some of the stiffness. Here are some of the stretches I’ve been doing. Feel free to try them no matter how many miles you’ve logged!

Sit down with both feet touching, then pull them towards your crotch. Now gently try to lower your knees. Do not force, stop when it becomes uncomfortable.

Sit with your legs crossed in front of you. Keeping one knee where it is, stretch the opposite leg behind you. Lean forward as far as you can go without forcing it. Repeat on other side.

Lie down on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Slowly start lifting your torso, onto your shoulders. Bring your shoulder blades together, and if you can, grasp your hands together, underneath you. Remain in this pose for a few breaths before rolling back onto your back.

100 in Less than 30

December 17, 2009

It’s the holiday season and in between all those parties, shopping, baking, gift wrapping and decorating, you really don’t have the time to squeeze in a formal workout.  So here’s a list of things you can do to burn 100 calories in half an hour or less.

A clock scale -- you can use the hammer to motivate yourself to workout

  • Jump on a stationary bike and ride it at a pace of 20 MPH for 4 minutes, 52 seconds.
  • Walk uphill at an incline of 10 at 3 miles an hour.  You’ll burn about 100 calories in 10 minutes.
  • Swim for 15 minutes…doesn’t matter how fast or which stroke, you’ll still burn about 100 calories.
  • Use a stationary rower for 11 minutes.
  • If you’re a runner, run a five minute mile, you’ll hit 100 at 4:30.

And some of my favorite, non traditional ways…

  • Chop wood continuously for 4 minutes, 22 seconds.
  • Go two rounds with Mike Tyson. (don’t worry if you can’t make it that long, lying unconscious for an hour will also burn the same amount.)
  • Get stuck in traffic for almost an hour.
  • Walk back and forth to the copier for 26 minutes.
  • Jump up and down on the bed 1,336 times.
  • Spend half an hour putting up the Christmas lights outside the house.

Keep in mind that this is for a 150 pound person.  If you weigh more, you’ll burn more, if you weigh less, you’ll burn less.

Spinning Your Wheels

November 5, 2009

Some mornings, despite the best of intentions, we don’t make it to the gym or that spin class we had to sign up for two days beforehand because it fills up so fast. 

Enter spinning podcasts. 28_spinclass_lg

These are exactly what they sound like…spin classes in podcast form. 

No longer are you beholden to set spin times and crowded classes.  Now you can get the calorie-blasting workout that you love (and crave) on your own time. 

One of my fave spin podcasters is Trihardist.  Her music picks are good (a spin essential) and she keeps the talking to a minimum, which really lets you to get into a riding groove.  The “classes” are about 45 minutes long and include a warm-up, cool-down and stretch.

If you need more encouraging, just remember that you can burn upwards of 500 calories during a spin class.

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

September 9, 2009

Now that Labor Day has passed and summer is officially over (boo!), this is a great time of year to stock up on your running and biking necessities.  From sneakers to bike shoes and  cute running outfits to not so cute crocs, you’re sure to be able to find what you need (or want) for a steep discount.  And this doesn’t only apply to brick and mortar stores.  Some of the best deals can be found online.  For example, is selling bikes for 35% off.  And if you use this coupon code: TRI25-E, you’ll get 25% off of their triathlon clothes.   Over at Performance Bicycles, they’re in the middle of a summer clearance sale, where most stuff is half off.

But you don’t have to be a tri-athlete to take advantage of the deals.  If you’re an avid spinner, now’s the time to snag a pair of bike shoes.  You’ll notice the difference the first time you clip in and ride.  And if you’re just a regular gym goer, maybe now’s the time to throw out those old and smelly gyms clothes and trade up for something new. 

Happy Shopping!