In LOVE with teaching on the bike again!

November 7, 2012

I am in love with being back on the bike teaching.

I have taught Spinning, which has evolved into the name of Indoor Cycling for almost 20years. I have been through the old school and now the evolution of what it has all become as I have made that return to the bike.

Now I teach utilizing power (which I can do whether you know your power zones and even if you don’t), I can teach by HR (whether you know the zones or not) cadence, and perceived exertion. NOW…. we periodize our teaching the same way we periodize our training. You can expect that from now through March at Cycledelic we all teach rides that emphasize work in the base phase (mostly aerobic phase) to establish a very solid aerobic foundation. That means aerobic efforts, strength (AND spice when we need it with tempo efforts). It means cadence work, and really getting to know your body on the bike.

In March we begin to work harder efforts and tempo as we prepare for an upcoming season of competition, and so on.

But you don’t compete? Perfect. You can still periodize as well. New to periodization? Read more about it here. It’s something you can and should do whether you are an elite athlete or a fitness athlete. It keeps things fresh, and like I keep saying it gives a lot of purpose to what you are doing in the gym.

When you do the same thing day in and day out, 365 days a year you are setting yourself up for burnout and injury. Let’s say you are a regular fitness enthusiast who spins 3 days a week, takes bootcamp twice a week and yoga on the weekends. There is a lot of variety there. Boot camp changes all of the time.

One of my favorite playlists

You can periodize your indoor cycling though. It’s good for all of us to do, competitive or not. It gives each part of the year a focus to sustain for a bit, then build off of, rather than throwing rocks at the wall every time you hop on a bike.

Challenging ourselves as athletes is crucial, and by challenge I mean variety. Giving the year a purpose or a flow is fun and important.

Being back on the bike as we are fusing what happens outdoors on a bike and indoors has been fun. every ride I teach now has a very distinct purpose,a very distinct plan. Gone gone GONE are the days where we go balls to the wall and make it as hard as possible. I am not saying my class is not hard…… an indoor cycling class is as hard or as easy as you make it….. but my class as I said, has a purpose and a plan.

I can teach to Ironman athletes, cyclists, and to those who don’t even own a bike… all at the same time. I love it.

I love watching the journey through a class. When you hand out that set that on paper looks to be long and impossible and the reaction is of “Oh god”. Four minutes later they are more than halfway through and there comes this look in their eyes….. I didn’t think I would be able to do this, I don’t even train with power! I love watching those moments.

Students of mine have gone from casual indoor cyclists to Ironman finishers. Some never ride outside. Everyone has such a different story and I love that. I love watching people make their own journey. The beauty of indoor cycling is that we can travel those different paths riding next to one another.

Nothing, and I mean nothing beats the camaraderie of an indoor cycling class. that moment where it’s tough and you are right in the thick of it. You ask how everyone is doing. One person let’s out a holler then five people do it. Suddenly you have adults shouting out woo hoo in the dark, mirrors fogged up and in the thick of hard….. together. To some really ass kicking music.

THAT is what I love about indoor cycling. That right there. The together yet separate yet together. The feeling of being out of that saddle and climbing and knowing your neighbor is in that place too. That…. let’s dig through this together and your hard is your hard and mine is mine.

Instead of mirrors, you watch WHERE you ride on screen!

That sweet satisfaction of recovering after a 9 minute and 34 second climb. That seemed too big in the beginning but you remembered not to write the end of the story before it ever happened.

I can walk into any indoor cycling class and convince the class to commit physical suicide. It’s the easiest thing in the world. People want more than that now. These days I walk into an indoor cycling class with purpose and a plan and I promise you that you will walk out of there thinking…. I can’t believe I actually DID that. It’s presented as something physical and as I always remind….. it’s honestly the space from ear to ear that is the hardest to travel.

Right now I am teaching at Cycledelic on Tuesdays at 5:45pm, and Wednesday mornings at 5:30am. I am considering expanding that….. we will see. I know I am more in love with indoor cycling than I have ever been. I am so glad I took the break off the teaching bike…. because it has made the return to it so much sweeter.


One comment

  1. Mary, this old chick has never forgotten you as a favorite spin class mentor from years back. As a beginner, I really felt I could accomplish much more than I thought I could and you had such a way of making the room feel united. There’s alot to say about the energy of a whole room pushing the individual forward and that comes from the tone set by you. Will you post for us if you do any “gentle” spin classes? I haven’t done it in years and would show up for your class any day. Super glad you are teaching a room full again!

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