Call on Me Spin Mix (42 minutes)

14 01 2009

It’s been a while since I did a trance mix.  This one includes a bit of visualization.  I worried it might be too complicated to cue all the changes,  but it was fine.


Unforgivable (First State Remix) – Armin van Buuren (6:22): Start with easy spinning at 3/10 and do some dynamic upper body stretches.  At 2:30 when the vocals kick in, increase your cadence by 10% for 60 seconds, then add some tension and slow down a bit.  At 5:00, take the tension back to 3/10 and increase the cadence by 10% through the end of the song.

No Stress (Original Club Mix) – Laurent Wolf (7:00):  When you’re ready, take the tension to 4/10 and start climbing.  We’re going to alternate 30 seconds of regular, out of the saddle climbing, 30 seconds of climbing with an aggressive stance, and 30 seconds seated climbing at increased tension, going up 2 for the seated climb, and back 1 for the next set.  It looks like this:

1:00 – 1:30 – Regular climb – tension at 4/10.

1:30 – 2:00 – Aggressive stance – same tension.

2:00 – 2:30 – Take the tension up to 6/10 and sit down.

2:30 – 3:00 – Reduce the tension to 5/10 and return to a regular climb.

3:00 – 3:30 – Aggressive stance, same tension.

3:30 – 4:00 – Take the tension up to 7/10 and sit down.

4:00 – 4:30 – Reduce the tension to 6/10 and return to a regular climb.

4:30 – 5:00 – Aggressive stance, same tension.

5:00 – 5:30 – Increase the tension to 8/10 and sit down.

5:30 – 6:00 – Reduce the tension to 7/10 and return to a regular climb.

6:00 – 6:30 – Aggressive stance, same tension.

6:30 – 7:00 – Take the tension up to 9/10 and sit down to ride out the song.

Now You’re Gone (feat. DJ Mental Theo’s Bazzheads) – Basshunter (2:39): Two 40 second sprints here, at 0:15 – 0:55, a minute for recovery, then another sprint at 1:54 – 2:34 – race day pace, race day effort.  Go!

Sandstorm – Darude (7:26): A mixed bag for this Spinning classic:

0 – 0:55 – Recovery. When you’re ready, take the tension to 5/10 and find the beat.

0:55 – 1:25 – Drop the tension to 4/10 and increase your cadence by 10-20%.

1:25 – 2:45 – Increase the tension to 5/10 and climb until 2:45 while the music builds.

2:45 – 3:42 – An explosive 60-second out of the saddle sprint with everything you’ve got.

3:42 – 5:00 – Recover with some easy spinning at low tension – we have another sprint coming.

5:00 – 6:25 – We’re doing another out of the saddle sprint for 1:25 – sprint out of the saddle for as long as you can, then sit down and finish it seated.

6:25 – 7:26 – Take some well-deserved recovery for the last minute.

Call On Me (Eric Prydz vs. Retarded Funk Remix) – Eric Prydz (7:33):

0 – 2:00 – Increase your tension to 5/10, find the beat, and ride steady.

2:00 – 2:30 – Take the tension down to 4/10 and increase your cadence 10-20%.

2:30 – 3:30 – Seated climb with tension at 5/10.

3:30 – 4:30 – Take the tension to 6/10 and keep climbing.

4:30 – 5:20 –  Another tension increase to 7/10.

5:20 – 6:20 – Drop the tension back to 5/10 and come out of the saddle to climb.

6:20 – 7:20 – Reduce the tension to 4/10 and do the last minute as a seated flat with fast legs – increase your cadence.

Cry for You (UK Radio Edit) – September (2:48): Simple lifts, 8/4/2 counts.

Exhale (ft. System F) – Armin van Buuren (4:38): This is a seated flat, tension 3/10 or 4/10, fast legs.  You’re in a race and you’ve got a comfortable lead to win – as long as you keep it strong and steady for the full song.  Focus on your pedal stroke – on making smooth circles, pushing down and pulling up.  We’re almost there!

Punta del Este (Beach Mix) – Blake Jarrell (3:25): We made it!  Cool down and stretch.

Should You Try Fat Burning Supplements?

If you read fitness magazines, you’ve probably wondered about fat-burning supplements.  Do they work?  Should you try them?  Are they safe?  “You Docs” Dr. Mike Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz claim that the only burning you’ll get with most of these supplements is the money in your wallet.  What will stoke your body’s fat-burning abilities is vitamin C.  Here’s the evidence: in one study the docs cite, people with low blood concentrations of vitamin C who walked on a treadmill for an hour burned 25% less fat than people with adequate vitamin C levels.  When the low-C folks took a supplement, their fat-burning increased to match the adequate C-walkers.  Why?  Researchers think it’s because vitamin C is essential for creating carnitine, a substance that turns fat into fuel.

Bottom line?  Doctors Roizen and Oz recommend getting 1,200 mg of vitamin C each day.  Eat foods that are high in vitamin C, like strawberries, oranges, red bell peppers, and broccoli.  Add a supplement and take it in two doses – one in the morning, and one at night, since vitamin C leaves the body quickly in urine.

Careful readers will notice that the docs panned “most” fat-burning supplements, which leads us back to the question: do any of the safe ones work? If you’ve tried a fat-burning supplement, how did it work?  Leave a comment.


A Change Would Do You Good Spin Mix (35.5 minutes)

12 01 2009

Spent a few hours cleaning out my closet this weekend, putting clothes in piles for the consignment shop, Dress for Success, Goodwill, and a ruthlessly pared pile to go back in the closet.  It took a long time, but when I finished, everything was organized: dresses, suits, trousers, casual tops, work tops, sweaters, with workout gear folded below.  Every article of clothing had to pass three tests to go back into the closet: (1) do I love it?  (2) does it fit me?  and (3) is it still in good shape?

loaded-bike-in-china I’ve noticed over the years that cleaning out my closet is often a harbinger for cleaning up an area of my life that’s gotten messy and disorganized.  It’s almost like tackling the closet is a trial run for the real thing.  I’m not sure what’s going to get cleaned up this time.  I’ll just have to be patient and see where the urge takes me.

Rooting around my closet produced a few oh-my-god-what-was-I-thinking-when-I-bought-this? moments, but also a few gems I’d almost forgotten about.  It prompted me to root around in my music for songs I don’t play often enough.

This playlist is designed for a 30 minute lunch time class.  I’ve been heavy on climbing lately in my classes, so this workout features lots of sprints – 9 in a row.  They had today’s class sucking wind in a very satisfying way.  The first three come during a climb, the rest are on flats and range from 20 – 60 seconds.  There’s some bumpy terrain in the middle, and a 7.5 minute high energy, out-of-the-saddle climb to round out the ride.

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult (4:23): Now, here’s a song that stands the test of time.  It will be 24 years old this year, and the driving beat is as invigorating now as it was when I was trying to get my underage self into nightclubs to hear it.  Warm up with an easy spin at 2/10.  Increase the tension to 3/10 at 2:00 and pick up the pace – we’re going to work hard today!

The Boys of Summer – The Ataris  (4:18): Another venture into my musical closet produced this song, first recorded by Don Henley in 1984 and re-recorded by alt-rockers, The Ataris in 2003.  Take the tension up to 4/10 for these first three sprints: 20/20/20 seconds, one at each chorus.  Do ’em standing, and keep your legs fast and the tension light during the recovery periods.

Pretty Vegas – INXS (3:27):  Three more sprints, one at each chorus: 20/20/25 at 0:30 – 0:50,  1:25 – 1:45, and 2:49 – 3:15.  This hit reinvigorated INXS in 2005 and sealed the deal with their new lead singer, J.D. Fortune (who grew up in my home province of Nova Scotia, Canada).

It’s My Life – Bon Jovi (3:45): Last three sprints of the day, once again, at the choruses: 30/40/60 at 0:34 – 1:04, 1:40 – 2:28, and 2:38 – 3:38.  Come on, it’s now or never, we ain’t gonna live forever!  Bon Jovi released this anthem in 2000.

A Change Would Do You Good – Sheryl Crow (3:51): What we WANT is recovery (okay, so take 45 seconds), then take the tension to 5/10 and start in with some lifts at the first chorus.  This hit came from Crow’s second CD, released in 1996.

Lit Up – Buckcherry (3:37): This song ranked #98 on VH1’s list of the 100 greatest hard rock songs in December, 2008/January, 2009.  (Hmm, I think there’s another playlist in there somewhere.)  We’re starting a 7.5 minute climb, so we need high energy music to carry us through.  Download the clean version.  I’m just sayin’.

You Shook Me – AC/DC (3:55):  Got to keep that energy strong to finish this climb.  Jack up the tension a notch and find the beat again – it’s faster, harder.  This is the oldest song in the playlist, released in 1980, and has been covered by everyone from Kid Rock to Celine Dion, Kelly Clarkson, Tori Amos, and Kenny Chesney.  (Celine Dion?!)

Drops of Jupiter – Train (4:19):  This double Grammy winner hit #5 on the Billboard Charts in 2001.  Cool down with easy spinning at low tension and some stretching.

Afterglow – INXS (4:08): This second single from 2005’s Switch is a tribute to deceased INXS frontman, Michael Hutchence.  An extra cool down song.

I was delighted to find that I had three new riders in my class today. We took it slowly – I suggested they sit out every other sprint or only do 2/3 per song, and recover when they needed to.  I kept an eye on them and they did just great – each of them worked to their own ability. I told them I’ve found it takes 2-3 months of regular spinning before new riders can do everything the class does without extra breaks.  Their biggest question?  “When will my butt stop hurting?”  That one’s easier – it only takes 5-6 classes, and they won’t feel sore anymore.

No Stress Spin Mix (32 minutes)

5 01 2009

Happy New Year!  Funny that this is the No Stress Spin Mix, because for the first time, I had a wicked case of playlist block while putting it together.  I have well over 1000 songs on my iPod (and added close to 100 more over the holidays) but nothing seemed to fit, and when a song did fit, it didn’t fit with the other songs I already had.  Even an eclectic playlist has to have some cohesiveness.

aquaspinningSo, then – this first playlist of 2009 is all-new except for one Lady GaGa song.

The photo?  It’s an aquaspinning class.  I’d never heard of such a thing.  When I Googled aquaspinning, I got 14,000 hits.  You learn something new every day.

One Day – Delta Goodrem (3:38): Thanks to reader Denise for puting me on to this talented Aussie singer/actress who got her start on the long-running soap, Neighbours.  Goodrem had the #1 album and single in Australia when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at age 18.  She beat it and is engaged to be married in 2009.  When she sings, “One day, it will be okay,” it sounds like a mantra.

No Stress (Radio Edit) – Laurent Wolf (3:21): This disco-inspired song hit #1 in France and Belgium in 2008 and it’s fitting for the first week back to work after the holidays.  We’re going to burn off whatever stress we have left.  Take the tension to 5/10 for a fast climb.  Increase it one more time before the end of the song.

I Drove All Night (Hex Hector Extended Vocal Import Mix) – Celine Dion (7:50): This is the first time I’ve used a song by monster Canadian artist Dion, who has sold more than 200 million albums.  I’m going to steal a move I observed from another instructor while taking a cycling class this weekend: alternate 30 seconds of climbing with 30 seconds of in-your-seat sprinting.  I start this song at 0:28 and explain the drill.  The first sprint starts at 0:56.  Keep the tension at least 4/10 or higher – no bouncing on the saddle.  This song is long enough for seven 30 second sprints.

Stayin’ Alive – N-Trance (4:05): Hip hop meets electronic in this version of the disco anthem that became a surprise hit for N-Trance.  Back to a straight climb here, with a slight lean to the downstroking leg.  Start with an easy tension of 4/10 but increase it every 15 seconds until you hit your max, then take it back down, notch by notch.  Repeat.

LoveGame – Lady GaGa (3:32): Lady GaGa performed in New York on New Year’s Eve and has two songs in the top 10 on iTunes right now.  Increase the tension every 15 seconds until you get to 9/10, then keep it there, or alternate 30 seconds of standing climb with 30 seconds seated, all at high tension.

Lady Killer – Kreesha Turner (3:35): I first heard this song on local radio station 101.3 The Bounce and found myself humming it hours later.  I should have recognized Turner’s distinctive voice – it’s her latest single.  We’re doing some high tension lifts – tension at least 7/10 or 8/10.  Start with 8 beats, switch to 4 for the chorus, then back to 8, with a tension increase.  At 2:10, after the bridge, go to 2 count lifts for the rest of the song.

Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) – 411 (5:39): I couldn’t legitimately work this song into a Best of 2008 spin mix, so here it is for the first playlist of 2009.  Cool down and stretch.  The lyrics began as a 1997 Chicago Tribune column by Mary Schmich titled “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young.”  It was set to music by Baz Lurhmann and became a worldwide hit.

Below is a May 2008 article from the U.K.’s The Guardian comparing indoor and outdoor cycling on four fronts: cardiovascular fitness, perceived effort, convenience, and lower body strength.

Spinning vs Cycling

Cardiovascular fitness

Spinning: A study by the American Council On Exercise found spinners worked at 75-96 % of their maximum heart rate – far exceeding the minimum requirement.

Cycling: Not quite as good as spinning . Still, research shows the average amount of oxygen the body can take in and use each minute is 73.5ml/kg in pro-cyclists – compared with 42ml/kg in non-cyclists.

Perceived effort

Spinning: The fact that there’s no respite in spinning – no change of scenery, say – can make spinning “feel” harder than cycling outdoors. However, the music and group motivation can help to off set this.

Cycling: The varied intensity of outdoor riding – freewheeling, uphill inclines, etc – can make it feel much more satisfying and spontaneous than fi xed cycling in a closed environment.


Spinning: Once you get to the gym, you can work at your own personal level, while still being part of a group – in a dry, temperature-controlled and safe environment.

Cycling: Since you can cover a lot of miles in an hour, you need to plan your routes – and watch the weather. There’s also an inherent risk from being on the road . And, if you do get hooked, cycling can be expensive.
Lower-body strength

Spinning: Spinning uses the same muscles as road biking. However, the weight of the fl ywheel ( 14-18kg) increases the number of pedal strokes per minute, forcing the hamstrings to work harder.

Cycling: Cycling uses all the major lower-body muscles – the glutes, hamstrings, quads, shins and calves. The thighs, in particular, are worked incredibly hard.
Calorie expenditure

Spinning: The fixed wheel of a spinning bike means you can’t “freewheel” – so your muscles work the whole time. This makes it a pretty high-intensity activity, burning a lot of calories.

Cycling: Cycling has the potential for high-energy expenditure – particularly when you’re covering high mileage or taking in hilly terrain. The average Tour de France rider burns 124,000 calories during the race.

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