Spinning #83: Be Strong

(source)

Saturday’s Spinning class was all about being strong, both mentally and physically.  The physical part was obvious:  heavy climbing resistance.  The mental part, well, with a true strength ride there are no recoveries, and you must find a way to relax and stay focused.  The challenge is to find the appropriate intensity to ride with.  You should be in the “comfortably uncomfortable” zone…pushing enough to challenge the legs, but not so much that you need a break before finishing. 

During the introduction of the ride I actually debated with myself:  do I tell them there are no recoveries or just tell them it will be a strength ride and let them discover for themselves.  I decided to set the expectation up right at the beginning of class.  I recognized most of the participants (another full-house!) and knew their abilities.  And if I was in their shoes, I would want to know so I could appropriately pace myself. 

Riding in the Strength Energy Zone builds muscular strength, endurance and your cardiovascular system.  It also trains the ligaments and tendons of the legs to handle higher-intensity as well as improving power and climbing ability.   Recovery is critical after a class like this.  I recommend that you take 48-72 hours off between strength rides.  That’s not to say you can’t ride the day after, just do so at a lower intensity.   

Spinning #83  Strength Energy Zone 8 songs, 55.1 minutes  In true “SEZ” form, heart rate is kept between 75-85% MHR with constant resistance on the flywheel.  It’s one big giant hill!  The key is to relax and maintain focus while still working.  I must say, it does wonders for self-confidence too. 

Monster Hospital (MSTRKRFT Remix)—Metric (5:13)  Easy warm up

21st Century Breakdown—Green Day (5:09)  2 minutes on a flat road, progressively add resistance to find a 75% MHR and start alternating seated climb, jumps on a hill, standing climb every 30 seconds. 

All These Things That I’ve Done—The Killers (5:02)  Heart rate goes higher.  Hold 80% of max if you can.  Alternate same movements as above, this time each one gets 1 minute of attention (repeat.)

Stranglehold—Ted Nugent (8:23) 80% MHR, same movements as above holding each for 90 seconds and repeat. 

New Year’s Day (Vocal Extended Mix—Ferry Corsten Remix)—U2 (9:42)  80% MHR.  Guess, what?  Same three movements, each for 2 minutes repeating until the end of the song. 

Wardogs—Juno Reactor (5:00)  If you have the extra beats to spare, push heart rate to 85% MHR.  Alternating 45 second standing climb, 15 second running with resistance, and 1 minute seated flat. 

Maybe Tonight, Maybe Tomorrow—Wideawake (5:32)  Recover and cool down on a flat road

Magic Mantra—SatKirin Kaur Khalsa (11:12) Stretch and feel strong

The playlist is also on iTunes here:  http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewIMix?id=416652963&s=143441  (or you could follow me on Ping and see all of my playlists & the crazy music I purchase)

Did you feel strong during this ride?  Energized?  Like you were riding in a peppermint forest? 

I’m starting to experiment with essential oils and aromatherapy.  I’ve been interested in this topic for a while, though purely from a self-care standpoint.  I hadn’t even thought about how it could be applied to group exercise classes/the gym until I read an article in American Fitness.

In the January/February 2011 issue there is a great article written about “less-than pleasant smells” at the gym.  On a subconscious level via the sympathetic nervous system, “the brain sends messages to the lungs to inhale and exhale less deeply to avoid pungent odors.”  Not a good thing when you need extra amounts of oxygen during exercise.  The article suggests using aromatherapy to induce a deeper breath response.  “the more pleasant the smell, the stronger the parasympathetic nervous system’s role to lengthen the inhalation and exhalation response. 

So that got me thinking… what would be an appropriate oil to use in a group exercise class that could get participants (and me)to take deeper breaths (because the air didn’t stink) and at the same time create a greater sense of alertness/focus.   I talked to a massage-therapist friend about essential oils and she mentioned peppermint oil was very stimulating for the body and the mind.  Hmmmmm, enter my peppermint body lotion…

Which I used a couple of times last week.  But if you know me, you know I sweat a lot.  There’s something about sweat and lotion that doesn’t mix.  Literally and figuratively! 

Then I found this at Whole Foods…

It’s a small bottle of peppermint oil that you can apply anywhere you want.  I’ve been using it on my wrists.  It’s strong but not overpowering.  I’m also contemplating getting a small portable essential oil diffuser I could tote around with me in my gym bag.

What do you think?  Have you ever used essential oils?  Have you used them in a group exercise setting? 

~Darcy
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2 Responses to Spinning #83: Be Strong

  1. Hey Darcy!
    Thanks for posting this ride.
    On the scent side, I totally agree that an unpleasant odor is bad in so many ways. I am intrigued by the concept of “scenting” the room a bit, but as someone with an incredibly sensitive nose, i’d be nervous that any intentional scent would just make things worse for me. I can’t even be on a bike/treadmill/elliptical near someone wearing perfume.
    Although, I LOVE the scent of peppermint, so that might work.
    Keep me posted on whether or not you do this and how it works out.

    • Hi Jessica,
      You are welcome for the ride/playlist! Are you on Ping yet?

      Regarding my last post, my mother is super-sensitive to scents as well (she
      can’t even use scented shampoos!) so that thought has been in the back of
      mind. I certainly don’t want to give anyone a headache or sinus issues.
      Lately I’ve just been wearing the peppermint oil on my own wrists…and I’m
      far enough away from the riders I doubt they can smell anything beyond the
      disinfectant we use on the bikes. However, I thought about polling some of
      my classes to find out allergies/scent-sensitivities. I love the concept of
      using aromatherapy to illicit a physical and mental response! I’ll let you
      know what I come up with. I may start with my Small Group Training class
      first…they are good guinea pigs :o)
      ~Darcy

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