When I was home for the summer after my first year at university, I started training for a duathlon. I bought a road bike and woke up before work every day to cycle 10-20 miles, and then went for a 3-5 mile run after work every day (I have no idea how I had the motivation; I keep trying to recreate it and it’s not working so far…!).
But, I was in the best shape of my life that summer. My legs especially, they firmed up so quickly and were so toned and strong. And my butt was in pretty good shape too (note the was … haha). When I went back to Vancouver for college I didn’t feel as safe cycling on the roads here – too much rain and traffic (and I’m not great in cold weather, either!), so I started to do indoor cycling – or spinning – classes as a way to keep up those muscle groups worked out in road cycling, so I could keep my times down.
Well, you don’t have to train for duathlons to get the benefits of indoor cycling – trust me, I don’t train anymore and I still feel the burn after a good spinning class. Sometimes I can’t make it to class so I just do a quick workout in my building’s gym. It has a stationary bike and, after all, that’s all you need! A stationary bike isn’t quite the same as a bike used in spinning class – those are specifically designed for indoor cycling training – but it will do the trick in a crunch.
The most fun thing about spinning classes, for me, is the use of music to motivate you. Usually the instructor will come up with a different ‘activity’ (ie sprints or hill climbs) for each song. That’s why I love this routine – it’s from October’s issue of Women’s Health and it’s a great 45-minute workout for you to try out in the gym next time you’re there, complete with song suggestions. So turn up your iPod and spin your butt off!
Let Lance Armstrong be your motivation…
- Minutes 0-3: Warm up with little to no resistance (song: Diamonds from Sierra Leone by Kanye West feat. Jay-Z)
- Minutes 3-7: Add resistance; make pedalling harder and rise up out of the saddle (song: Harder to Breathe by Maroon 5)
- Minutes 7-11: Slow your pace to 55-60 rpm. Alternate standing and sitting for 30 seconds each (song: Grenade by Bruno Mars)
- Minutes 11-15: Active recovery – reduce the resistance and maintain a brisk pace of about 88 rpm (song: Just Can’t Get Enough by the Black-Eyed Peas)
- Minutes 15-19: Flat ride – add a bit more resistance and pedal at 90-95 rpm (song: Days Go By by Dirty Vegas)
- Minutes 19-23: Hill surges – up the resistance, pedaling at 65 rpm. Every 30 seconds do a 15-second surge, increasing your speed (song: Judas by Lady Gaga)
- Minutes 23-27: Fast and flat – ease up on the resistance and pedal at a fast pace – 110+ rpm (song: Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO)
- Minutes 27-31: Steep climb – increase resistance and slow to 70 rpm, alternating between sitting and standing for 30 seconds each (song: Uprising by Muse)
- Minutes 31-35: Steady cruising – reduce resistance and pedal at your preferred cadence (song: Curbside Prophet by Jason Mraz)
- Minutes 35-43: Speed play – mix short and long sprints (95-110 rpm during springs; 65-70 rpm during recovery); start with 10 seconds and work up to 60 seconds with equal recovery time (song: If U Seek Amy by Britney Spears)
- Minutes 43-45: Cool down – pedal comfortably with little to no resistance at about 85 rpm (song: Love the Way You Lie Part II by Rihanna)
- Have you ever tried a spin class? I can’t believe I was taking 5 spin classes a week when I was in college – but now I definitely try to take one every once in a while to keep things different!
- Have you ever trained for an event like a marathon, triathlon, duathlon, 5K etc? Other than the duathlon training I ran a bunch of 5Ks and a 10K recently – I’m not much of a long-distance runner, so for me those shorter races were accomplishments!