Love Generation Spin Mix (60 minutes)

23 08 2008

I subbed a 6:30a.m. class this week and decided to make a new mix for it. This mix shares about half its songs in common with the Sandstorm Spin Mix. Both are hour long classes designed for advanced riders. What’s different is in this class, the drills are grouped together. After the warmup, there are 6 minutes of lifts, then a long, 14 minute climb. We move to 11 minutes of sprints, then climb again for 11 minutes before doing some single leg training and cooling down.

Why not make an entirely new mix with no overlap? I could, but songs the two mixes share are some of my favourite go-to songs right now. This mix is sort of like Halifax weather – if you get something you don’t like, no worries – it’ll change in about 5 minutes. You’ll hear everything from rock, pop, alternative, dance, trance, hip hop and even a couple of songs with a reggae feel to them. Time to ride!

Saltwater – Chicane (3:30): Start with an easy warm up with light tension. As the song builds, add in some dynamic stretching and deep breaths.

Love Generation (Bob Sinclar Radio Edit feat. Gary Pine) – Bob Sinclar (3:34): Take the tension to 3/10. Every 30 seconds, increase your cadence by about 10% for 30 seconds, then fall back to the previous cadence for 30 seconds. This isn’t a sprint, we’re still warming up the legs. This is a good time to work on your pedal stroke – feet flat, making big circles, pushing down, scraping along the bottom of the pedal stroke, and pulling up. Knees point straight, be aware of your inner thighs brushing the saddle with each pedal stroke.

Bouce with Me – Kreesha Turner (3:08): Turner’s first album debuted a week ago and it’s eminently listenable. We’re going to take the tension to 4/10 and move into some lifts. Use nice, controlled movements to move up slightly out of the saddle and back down. Keep the palms of your hands on the handlebars, but make sure you’re not using your arms to pull yourself up. If you find yourself falling into the saddle, take a break. We’ll do 4x 8 counts, 4×4 counts, then 4x 2 counts. Repeat.

Sandstorm – Tunnel Alliance (3:33): More lifts, but random counts at random intervals. Explain the drill and call out each interval change: 4! 8! 2! 8! 2! 4!

Disturbia – Rihanna (3:59): This song starts one mother of a hill: 14 straight minutes of climbing. Start the tension at 5/10 and increase it every 60 seconds. There’s 20 seconds for recovery at the end of the song.

Viva la Vida – Coldplay (4:04): Keep climbing with the beat, with a slight lean towards the downstroking pedal. The last 30 seconds are for recovery.

Keep Hope Alive – The Crystal Method (5:43): We’re getting near the top and the hill’s getting steeper. Our cadence is slowing, but we’re staying with the beat.  Use the last 35 seconds for recovery.

The Boys of Summer – The Ataris (4:18): Three 20 second standing sprints, one at each chorus. After the second sprint, increase your cadence during the bridge, before heading into the last sprint. Riders who feel like it can extend the third sprint from 20 seconds to 40 seconds. There are 40 or 20 seconds for recovery at the end, depending on whether riders did the longer sprint.

Stoned in Love – Chicane (feat. Tom Jones) (3:41): Three more standing sprints 30/30/30 at each chorus.

Are You Gonna Be My Girl? – Jet (3:37): We’re going to do these sprints seated – start when you hear “go!” in the song (around :22) and give me 30 seconds sprinting with 15 seconds recovery. We want to hit the lactate threshold here.

U+Ur Hand – Pink (3:34): Back to climbing, but we’re not quite done with the sprints yet – standing sprints at each chorus 30/30/60 but keep to that beat. They’re fast but not all out. There’s one “f” bomb in this song, but I love the song, so I’ve been crossing my fingers that no one complains. The only clean version I’ve found is a different arrangement that I don’t like as much as this one (at least for cycling.)

Billy Jean – Groove Jet (3:43): We haven’t done a seated climb yet, so get back into the saddle and crank up the tension to 6/10. 30 seconds in, take it to 7/10, then 8/10, then 9/10, then maximum effort. Make sure your cadence doesn’t fall below 60 rpms – if it does, cut back on the tension until you’re at your maximum effort for that cadence. Once you’ve hit 10/10 for 30 seconds, start dialling back the tension: 9/10 for 30, then 8/10, and so on.

Lit Up – Buckcherry (3:37): This is a freestyle climb. It’s the last one for the ride, so get all that leftover energy out!

Apologize (Workout Remix) – Power Music (4:21): Finish off with some single-leg training. We’ll do 2 sets of 60 seconds per leg. Keep the other leg on the pedal, but let your lead leg do all the work. You should have enough tension to be clock-watching by 40 seconds in, and very happy to switch. As ever, don’t let the cadence go below 60 rpm.

Angel – Flipsyde (4:27): Found this song on a new iTunes exercise mix – it’s hip hop with a reggae feel and it feels so good to cool down! Take the tension down to 3/10 and do some nice easy spinning. Take some deep breaths and stretch your arms and upper body.

Free Fallin’ – John Mayer (4:24): He broke up with Jennifer Aniston, but he’s been a gentleman about it. A longer ride deserves a longer cool down. Get off the bike to stretch your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves. Ahhh…

One of my favourite magazines is Women’s Health. They do a kick-ass job of covering fitness and nutrition news in every issue, and they’re geared to the average female recreational athlete. Here’s a recent tidbit from the Women’s Health website:

A Brunel University study by sports psychologist Costas Karageoghis concluded that riders work 7% harder without feeling more fatigued when they synch their pedal stroke to music. I always felt intuitively that this was true, but it’s good to see some scientific proof of it. According to the study, the greatest pedal power comes from music in the 120 -140 beat per minute (bpm) range. Bring on the tunes!


Rainy Monday Spin Mix (32.5 minutes)

10 08 2008

This is another eclectic mix that veers from dance to alternative to pop and beyond. Thanks to J.R. Atwood over at for Rainy Monday and Ocean Avenue, both from his latest Spin mix.

Going Wrong (with DJ Shah featuring Chris Jones) – Armin van Buuren (5:36): van Buuren is a Dutch DJ with a law degree. He was voted the #1 DJ in a 2007 DJ Magazine poll. Warmup with an easy cadence, and some light stretching – take a few deep breaths, do some shoulder rolls. Around 4:00, increase the tension to 3/10 or 4/10 and quicken the pace a bit.

Rainy Monday – Shiny Toy Guns (4:00): Leave that tension where it is! This song is a seated climb with a difference – we’re going to increase the tension every 30 (or 60) seconds and quicken the pace by 10-20% at each chorus.

Ocean Avenue – Yellowcard (3:18): Everyone’s warmed up, so it’s time to sprint down the hill we just climbed. Use the first 50 seconds of this song for recovery and easy spinning with tension around 4/10. The first sprint comes at 0:50 – 1:05 and it’s 15 seconds of explosive, out of the seat effort. Take 30 seconds for recovery, then we’ll do a slightly different sprint from 1:35 – 3:18 (the end of the song). Because it’s long, at 1:45, it’s a sustained effort at 80% of their maximum pace – tell the riders we’re trying to overtake the lead rider, who’s well ahead. Remind them to take a break midway if they need it.

Cry for You (UK Radio Edit) – September (2:48): Break it up with some lifts. We’re going to do 4x 8 counts, 4x 4 counts, and 4x 2 counts, then repeat. This song isn’t a cover, but it borrows heavily from Smalltown Boy, the Bronski Beat’s 1984 hit.

Thunderstruck – Birmingham 6 (5:17): People have mixed feelings about dance covers of songs that were never meant to be club tunes – I recently came across a dance version of Kansas’s Dust in the Wind, which is wrong on so many levels. This controversial Danish band’s AC/DC cover is climbing the charts on iTunes, which is convenient, because we’re going to use it to climb, too.  Increasing the tension after each chorus. Use the last 30 seconds for recovery.

Tonight – Jonas Brothers (3:29): More sprints, standard all-out-effort this time: 35/45/50 seconds at 0:38 – 1:14, 1:39 – 2:04, and 2:28 – 3:18.

Athena – The Who (3:48): Single-leg training 45 seconds per side, 2 sets. Make sure riders keep both feel on the pedals for this drill. This was always one of my favourite Who songs, with Roger Daltry at his blustering best.

Free Fallin’ (Live) – John Mayer (4:24): Cool down and stretch to Mayer’s gorgeous version of Tom Petty’s hit. I see why Jennifer Aniston is so taken with him.

One of my regulars approached me last week to ask my advice about nutrition and weight-loss. It’s an area of significant interest for me.  As near as I can figure, here are seven fundamental truths I’ve learned about weight loss:

1. A calorie may be a calorie, but metabolism and genetics are very individual – just as some people are better looking, smarter, or more athletic than others, some people are gifted in the metabolic department. Gina Kolata explores this concept in her latest book, Rethinking Thin.

2. Exercise is great for you, and feels wonderful, but if you’re not watching your diet, you’re not going to lose weight. Sorry.

3. How you look matters more than what you weigh. I wear the same clothing size now that I wore when I was 23, but I weigh 20lbs more than I did then. How is this possible? I weight train now; I didn’t then. Muscle weighs more than fat. Weight gain from muscle development and toning is a good thing.

4. Portion creep and calorie creep have proven the undoing of many dieters. It’s the daily handful-of-this, few-extra-bites-of-that, I’ll-just-have-one-they’re-small that sabotages most people’s results, not the blowout during their week of vacation. I recommend recording what you eat in a food journal. Occasionally enter a day (or better, a week) of meals into a program like FitDay – it will tell you exactly how many calories you’re consuming, and whether you’re meeting recommended requirements for vitamins and minerals. Plus, it’s free.

5. For short-term weight loss, nothing beats a low carbohydrate diet, like Atkins or South Beach. Many people think of low carb diets as all bacon, eggs and bunless cheeseburgers, since this is what is portrayed in the media. Really, the diet is about eating ordinary portions of protein, tons of vegetables, and not worrying about fat content. It is also about avoiding sugar, refined carbohydrates, and highly processed convenience foods – all good lessons that are just now coming into the public consciousness. I think one of the reason low carb diets work so well is they forbid most of the foods that people are tempted to overeat.

6. For long term health, I think the best diet is what bodybuilders call “clean eating” – tons of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, lower fat dairy, whole grains, lots of water, minimal saturated fats, added sugars, alcohol, or processed foods, and no trans fats. Each of 5-6 daily mini-meals should contain complex carbs and lean protein. (I confess, mini-meals have never worked for me. I prefer to eat three meals at regular times and avoid snacking unless my meal will be significantly delayed, or I’m working out in the mid-afternoon. If I do snack before a workout, it’s typically a banana or plain yogurt.)

7. Eat at regular intervals and don’t skip meals. Ravenously hungry people make bad food choices. Remember the acronym HALT: if you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, you’re at risk for making bad food choices. Sometimes, realizing this is all it takes to steer you away from the drive-through and towards the grocery store.

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