It Is What It Is

images (1)This recovery week has been pretty laid back, yet challenging at the same time. While being the first week of being out of the house and working at an office, my schedule and workouts have been tailored to match.  Since I am now at a gym closer to my employment I have had to change gym locations and with the change came the act of trying new classes. Unfortunately these classes are at different times, so the schedule has been moved around again.  I have used this recovery week to analyze and try out the classes to get a feel for them. Pilates isn’t bad, not the same, but still good.  The biggest difference is spin classes.

I have blogged before about how I prefer spin instructors that while focused on cardio, work to promote cycling in the workout.  I have found a few instructors that give awesome cycle style intervals and limited “Out of the saddle” time.  This week I figured I would give two classes a try and hope at least one of them would not dissapoint.  Luckily the Tuesday class provided what I was looking for.  The Thursday class though needed some adjustments as we were “Out of the Saddle” most of the class.  Personally I do not do Out of the Saddle but instead modify the class to make it work better for what I want.

Instead of doing my own thing 100% I often modify the instructors workout. When they say to add x number of gears and get out of the saddle, I raise the gears and fight to keep a matching cadence.  In all honesty, its actually harder this way, but better for building my leg strength and endurance.  Last nights class with this modification was a killer!  It had numerous hard hill climbs that sometimes had the gear as high as 20-21, pretty close to the maximum.  Of course I did it seated and pushed hard.  By the end of the first hour my legs were burning.  I truly felt like I had been climbing hills on my road bike.  Of course I finished the workout with an additional zone two ride for an hour, just to build up muscular endurance a bit.  By the time two hours were up, my legs were lead!

Looks like the next couple of weeks should be interesting as I further adapt to working from an office while preparing for my first triathlon, just a short six weeks away.  I think I have my structured classes figured out and I am ready to get done with this recovery week and get back to work preparing for the big day. It is nice to have instructors that prepare classes with a cycling focus, but classes can be modified to provide the missing elements when they are purely cardio driven, it is just a matter of perspective and figuring out to use what you have available. Til next time.


  1. Very true! And a two hour ride, seated or standing, is a great ride. I actually find standing a lot harder for me than sitting. While seated I seem to get a better burn in the legs but standing seems to raise my HR through the roof (which still isn’t that hard to do) and really push me.

    1. My real issue with standing is that it is something you do not want to do when cycling. I find it works entirely different leg muscles. My goal is to get a cardio workout, but to also train my legs for riding long and hard. I have spent so much time on spin bikes, I know how to set them up to mimic my road bike without thinking. Can’t wait for the summer weather to get here so I can get out and start riding and seeing if the time on the virtual saddle has paid off at all.

  2. One very important thing I picked up in North Carolina and Northern Georgia – when you’re climbing out of the saddle on extreme inclines, you have to get a rhythm or you’ll wear yourself out VERY quickly. You don’t want to rush things. Keep this in mind when you get to the serious hills because climbing out of the saddle will help. Keep up the progress, you’re doing well.

    1. When I get on a spin bike, my primary goal is to train the legs and cardio system for real riding. It is not a super close comparison, but I believe if planned right, I should get some benefit from it. If anything my legs are getting stronger and their endurance has increased. I could see getting out of the saddle on some of the mountains in north georgia, I hike up there and those things are crazy!

      1. Indeed they are – and don’t take my comment the wrong way, I happen to agree with the way you train, do what pleases you because if you’re happy you will be fit. I just wanted to make sure and point out the importance of climbing out of the saddle so you’ll know what to do when you do encounter the monster hills – I had to call my LBS owner back home to get advice after blowing up in a quarter mile on one of those 25 percent’ers.

        1. I totally understand what you what you were trying to get at, there us a time and place for standing and getting a rhythm, its why the pros do it in the major cycling events on the monster climbs. God point though. I’m spin classes most instructors do it because they are focused on cardio results that have no to little impact on actual cycling muscles.

  3. We are going biking tomorrow and really looking forward to it. The new gym offers a spin class…I need to try it and quit talking about trying it. You’re doing great adjusting to all the changes and making it work for you. Stay strong.

    1. Most spin classes are established as a purely cardio endevour with little real world cycling advantage. You have to work to make the spin bike work to help train for real world cycling. You should definitely try a spin class. If anything it is one tough cardio workout that will strengthen the lungs, heart and legs! I am jealous that the weather is good enough for you to get a ride in this weekend. While it has warmed up here in the ATL, it decided to add precipitation. Have fun!

      1. Oh it’s pretty chilly out there…but tired of being inside.

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