Monday, January 21, 2013

Getting the Cold Shoulder

2013 could not have started sooner.
By the time January the first had arrived my wardrobe was more than ready for my seasonal diet.
My belts were on their last notches and I only had one suit left that fit me.

Redundant clothing retired in wardrobes or slept in drawers, safe in the knowledge that any requirement would certainly not be immanent.
The last days of December had witnessed me waiting for the last two digits of the year change to 13, whilst I tried to cram yet another festive treat into my cavernous tum.

I had decided that 2013 would be my year.
I know I say that every year.
And to be fair every year I do get a little better.
But every year I am also disappointed by thinking what I could have done, by not quite getting to where I wanted to be.

This year had to be different.
With the Mules Club officially starting on the 1st of January I wanted to use that as my motivation, and in turn try and motivate and inspire other riders.

The year started well.
With some mild weather in the first two weeks I had already cycled the same distance than I had in January 2012 and the weight loss was great.

Rather try yet another fad diet, I just applied physics.

Eat healthy food in smaller portions
Ensure that output is greater than consumption.

I had always ate healthfully - with every meal prepared or cooked using fresh produce.
I flatter myself by saying that the food was just too good.
What I had previously envisaged would last three days would be eaten within three hours.

Now I just use a small side plate.
The circumference of the plate is my new boundary.

Last week the weather put a stop to my outside riding with Ice and heavy snow.
Cycling in the Snow is great if the roads are clear and can be quite beautiful.
However Ice is not good.
Not only can you come off, but people can end up colliding with you.

In previous years I would have crumbled, taken a time out and delayed my campaign until the end of January or at least until things got better.
Warm fires and comfort food would have have prevailed and my will power may have cracked.

As I said earlier 2013 is different.
This year I found it as a minor annoyance and looked indoors.
My focus was obviously rewarded as I have rediscovered my passion for Spinning or Indoor cycling.
If you have not tried it - do.
It is a popular class in most Gyms and offers something different.
I know Taylor and Chris our US Mules are Spinning Instructors and do classes in Houston.
I have made do with Beverley Leisure Centre 

When I first started cycling I dd a lot of Spinning and loved it, but after a while felt I was missing out on road time and did it less and less until I stopped altogether.
On a bike you can draft and take it easy if you want.
With spinning there is no such luxury. Its intense.
A good thirty minute workout on a Spinning Cycle can burn as much as 500 calories. Even at challenging levels other cardio equipment couldn't burn that many calories in such a short time.
Spinning is primarily an anaerobic exercise, pulling energy from your reserves and building up your muscular endurance over an extended period of time. However, there are also aerobic benefits of Spinning. Planned Spinning programs include both endurance and cardiovascular training during the workout. At several points you may be required to break your steady pace and speed up to increase your heart rate.

Heart health is an obvious benefit, as is lung capacity. As you work harder during your Spinning workout you will learn to work on controlled breathing, as well. This may help you with anxiety and help lower your heart rate when you get into a situation where physical exertion begins to take your breath away.
Progress at Your Own Pace

Whether following a live instructor or video, the amount of resistance you apply, as you gain strength and endurance is up to you. Each spinning bike has a resistance control knob within easy reach of the handle bars. It works something like switching gears.

 Spinning keeps the pressure off of your knees and feet. You are able to work out hard on a Spinning bike without hurting your knees and feet. It is also a good workout for those who cannot use the treadmill or elliptical because of arthritis.
Spinning instructors never give up when it comes to talking about technique and posture. Correct posture is important to working the right muscle groups. In addition to the major leg muscles worked during a Spinning routine, the abdominal muscles get a workout, as well.

As you spin, unlike racing a bike on the road, you get an upper body rhythm going that helps you keep your leg rhythm. The movement from a slightly bent position and side to side works both the central abdominal muscles and those along the side of your abdomens.

You may not see immediate results of your abdominal work, but over time you will feel your entire body begin to tone up, including your abs.

Regardless of your fitness level riding Spinning bikes keeps everyone together. This goes beyond sitting in the same spinning class, but each individual works equally as hard at their own level. It is amazing how you can feed off of the energy of other riders when you begin to fatigue and start thinking you might want to quit.

Riding together also gives you the opportunity to encourage others. You can inspire those who have not yet reached your level of fitness, while those stronger than you inspire you. Working together, everyone who spins can reach their goals.

Spinning also builds mental strength. When you spin, there are good days and bad. The important thing is that you carry through with your regular Spinning routine. Push through difficult times. Push up hill climbs and push through endurance training.

Self discipline of the mind gained in spinning can be applied to all areas of life. I have found it most beneficial in areas of self-control and confidence. Spinning helps develop a positive, "can do" attitude.

I look forward to getting back on my bike, but intend to keep this indoor activity a key part of my training.

1 comment:

Big Oak said...

Good luck on your 2013 cycling goals!

I've joined the spin class at our local bike shop, and many of the bike club members I ride with participate, as well as several of the bike shop employees. It is a blast!

I do hope the snow melts soon, however, so you can get back on the open road.