On our Holland America ship they offer a spinning class which, as we're at sea this morning, I am undoubtedly attending.  I will report back with pictures of the set up and possibly our instructor, Fabio, if he's not too weirded out by the whole idea.



Atlanta Spin!

For those of you who don't know, my wife and I moved way away from Boston in the past few months, and have settled in to our new home in Atlanta.  Exciting!  Many of you may have already been guests by now.

But all of the hubbub hasn't stopped me from spinning.  For the first month or two I conducted a detailed search for good spinning programs, mainly to the gyms surrounding my work.  I commute in for about 30 minutes early in the am, and it's nice to not have to travel anywhere after the gym.

So I've settled on a poppin' fresh place called Urban Active here in Buckhead.  I've seen a number of decent instructors come through so far, and right now I'm writing because this morning's class with Lauren got me all fired up.

Lauren tossed caution to the wind and created 5 or 6 one-minute clips of some key songs for spinning, and strung them together back-to-back in class.  We alternated between sprinting for a minute, then climbing for a minute, then back to sprinting, etc.  It's not substantially different from what we might normally do, but I appreciated that getting the songs parsed out just so was extra effort on her part and also effective.

Lauren's class also has the synchronized dance-like style of frequently alternating positions around the bike to the beat.  I love that - gets me going every time.

I may report more in the future, but the good news is that a class here finally inspired me to blog something again :)


Thursday morning @ Recycle

I took my first class with Rachele this morning in the south end.  The studio dubs it the Reascend class implying: hills, hills, hills.  Right from the start Rachele described how, in a full pedal stroke, the heel should almost lead our downstroke.  I find this true especially at higher resistances, which is exactly where we were going.  This also takes me back to one of my first spinning memories over at BSC Fenway, when a cyclist attending the class (who spends a lot of time cycling outside) was giving me some pointers.  Back then (3 years ago?) I had issues with my calves cramping up, and this guy told me that a proper pedal stroke may fix the issue.  The stroke as he described it will feel almost as though you’re able to scrape the ground from heel-to-toe as you come around (he said: “like scraping shit off the bottom of your shoe” … kind of silly, but hey – I remember it now still).  This is what I think Rachele was getting at as well.

So … we climbed a ton of hills, most pretty heavy, and the music was all new to me (forgive me for no links) and I loved it.  The class – to my distinct surprise – also flew by!  I imagined a class focused around hills would actually start to lose its spark but Rachele is incredibly motivating and it’s clear that she’s up there busting her ass at least as hard as we were.

We spent some time crouched really far over, such that our elbows were sitting on the cross bar and our hands grabbing the center handlebar set.  A little uncomfortable for me, but I think this just means I need to stretch more.  Also it was clear that in this position I was isolating a set of muscles that don’t usually get that kind of attention (it almost felt like inner-thigh muscles).

Fantastic workout!  The last thing I wanted to do was leave … because overnight it got to be 20 degrees and windy.  #bostonwinter


Wednesday morning @ recycle

My first trip back to recycle this morning was a sweaty one.  Last night it felt like a cyclone was hammering the city, and as our apt is up high the wind howled past us and the rain battered the windows.  I didn’t get the sleep that I wanted, so hitting up class was harder than usual.

I knew Christina didn’t show up to help me relax, either … a lot of fast arm pumps to some new (to me) music including some new (to the world) Rihanna … the song title eludes me, though.

I struggled during the shoulder and bicep track that she led, but I forgot all about my arms once we hit the last two songs.  Jamiroquai’s Virtual Insanity was a heavy, uphill seated climb.  When Christina climbs she also somehow manages to pulse out a beat with her legs; it looks like she’s kind of dancing, and it looks like a lot of fun.  I try to emulate it, but I fail … I’ll need to ask her about this.  It only works on a very high resistance, though: perhaps I need to get over myself and give it some more gear.

The class ended with Billie Jean.  I saw on Christina’s interview page that if she could teach a one-artist class it would be to MJ.  No doubt; she’s perfected the art.  We spun to Billie Jean with moderate resistance, the challenge being to keep with the beat.  And it’s a fast beat – 117 bpms according to this site.  The class exercise peaked when we had to maintain the pace in position 3, which is just hell on your glutes and hamstrings.  The freaking song is 4:54 seconds long, meaning that my right foot hit a stroke over 550 times to end the class.  Gotta love the ass-kicking (molding?) workout you get here.


conflicts of interest

If you were fortunate enough to pass by the site last night (11/29) or early this morning, you'll note that my initial writings from the last two posts (Friday morning @ Recycle 2/2 and Tuesday morning @ BSC DTX) seemed kind of ... sloppy.

This is because I was a little sloppy, having taken a few (good) strides towards completing my 100-Beers-In-6-Months Challenge at the Parish Cafe last night with some coworkers :)

So I've updated the posts with what I really meant to say.  If you've got one of those clever aggregators (Google Reader!) you may even be able to go back in time and check them out ...

Tuesday morning @ BSC DTX

Today was my first day back from the Thanksgiving holiday.  I ran 3 x times in Tallahassee, but that was still not enough to keep me in stride with my spin workouts.

Meredith showed up early at the gym to make us all look bad, and my gym routine was a little thwarted as I had to walk back to work to grab my shoes and shaving stuff.

Me, strapping in my spin shoes

Class was slated for a full 55 minutes and I was wiped out.  It felt like Meredith stuck around over the holiday, un-phased from the eating holiday, and punished me as soon as I got back.  I managed to weather the climb (my knees felt wobbly), I emptied my water bottle, and I survived my first day back.  The tricep workouts (which she indicated may not comply with the club policy, but she’s a lawyer: I’m sure she can handle it), even without weights, seemed to exhaust me.

It’s time to get back in shape; this is how it starts.


Friday morning @ Recycle (2/2)

I kept on my sweaty long-sleeved shirt and wiped off my bike (futile) after the first class.  I refilled my water bottle.  I was happy to see Christina stick around with me to complete the double-header with Meredith teaching.

Meredith heated it up quickly with a warmup track and then, sensing my fatigued shoulders I'm sure, led us through an chest & shoulder song (are you serious right now?) where I felt like screaming.  Instead I just called her a lot of mean names in my head for the full 4 minutes.  Given how hard she drives her classes I'm sure that I'm not the first.

My favorite section of the session came when she jammed the new hit from David Guetta and Usher, Without You.  This song seemed somewhat questionable to me at first but then Meredith crescendo(e)s into a medium/high-resistance climb and we hit the chorus: invigorating!  The whole class is in sync and it's what spinning was meant to be.  The hard beat of the music unites the class ("shoulder to shoulder" was the call) and everyone works harder than they bargained for.  Great success.

Friday morning @ Recycle (1/2)

Christina taught a full class early this Friday morning.  There was a lot of hard work done to the tune of songs that were less pop-y and more focused.  I felt a few cardio zen moments (endorphins, perhaps).  In particular there was a 2:30 - long song with a relatively fast pace.  Christina put us at a low-moderate resistance (6.5 or 7) and the challenge was to keep the pace of the song for the entire duration.  And we were to do so while crouched in position 3.  She encouraged us the entire time given how difficult the pace was, and afterward gave a little pat on the back, telling the group that when Recycle opened earlier in 2011 (is this right?) almost no one could complete the track.  I believe it; I certainly couldn't have.

It's a mark of Christina's knack as an instructor that she can keep me motivated and excited through softer or slower songs (I typically prefer hard, fast beats); I enjoyed the hell out of that class :-)

To round out the challenge, she ended the Reboot class working our arms.  She really ground them out, which in general would be fine except for this was a double-header and Meredith was up next ...