Hallowe’en Spin Mix (60 minutes)

26 10 2009

Regular reader Beth Ann posted a beastly Hallowe’en ride on the Reader Playlists section of the blog.  She inspired me to create a Hallowe’en ride of my own.  (Thanks, Beth Ann!)

Speaking of scary stuff, I mentioned in the last post that I’ve picked up a brand new Tuesday night class from 6:15 – 7:15 p.m.  By brand new, I mean hardly anyone shows up for it.  The gym added three weeknight classes in the same timeslot about a month ago and all three instructors are hurting for riders.

bike monsterI work at a gym on the main floor of an office tower, so lunch and right-after-work classes are by far the most popular.  I’ve got my work cut out for me to build this new class.  I’ve been plugging it in my Thursday lunch class, updating my Facebook status to mention it a day or two before I teach it, and put up signs throughout the gym and in the cycling room to let riders know there are some new options on the schedule.  I’ve also been offering free passes to non-members and  e-mailed some of my regulars who find it hard to get to 5:30 p.m. classes to tell them about the new offerings and ask them to forward the note to anyone who might be interested.

I’ve built a class from scratch before – my first class was a Monday lunch hour class in a new timeslot.  I remember that it took months, but it was so gratifying when I got to the point where most of the bikes were full every week.  I gave that class up to my grasshopper, so now I’m faced with building a class again.  Readers, have you built a class from scratch in a new timeslot?  What strategies did you use to grow the class?

Sympathy for the Devil – The Rolling Stones (6:19): We’re going to warm up with a classic that everyone knows.  Longer classes need longer warmups.  You’ve got six minutes here to get riders comfortable, do some dynamic stretching, and even a few surges at the end.  For surges, pick up the pace by 10% or 20% for a set interval – usually 30-60 seconds, before dropping back to a recovery pace.  This is a simple profile of hill repeats: climb, sprint, then some lifts or steady spinning, followed by another hill.

Enter Sandman – Metallica (5:32):  I love this song.  It’s one of those few heavy metal cross-over songs that don’t drive non-metal folks crazy.  First hill: we’re going to take the resistance up to a 4 or 5 out of 10 and come out of the saddle for a five and a half minute leg-stretcher of a climb.  Get riders to increase the tension just a bit (say, one click) every 30 seconds while maintaining the fast cadence as best they can.

Time Warp – Little Nell, Patricia Quinn, and Richard O’Brien (3:19): This is the most famous song from the cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show, a 1975 British parody of sci-fi and horror films that is the longest-running release in film history.  It’s been playing continuously in theatres for more than 30 years.   Cinemas began showing the film at midnight to enthusiastic American audiences who show up in costume, talk back to the characters, and throw toast.  We’re going to time warp into some sprints for 50/40/15 seconds starting at 0:28 – 1:22, then 2:02 – 2:40, 2:57 – 3:08.

(Don’t Fear) the Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult (5:06): Here’s a chance to play with cadence a little bit.  Take 60 seconds to recover, then increase cadence by 10% for a minute, then to 20% above your recovery pace for the third minute.  Take it up to a sprinting pace for 30 seconds, then back down to 20% for a minute, and ride out the song at 10% increased cadence.

Thriller – Michael Jackson (5:11):  This playlist is probably the only place people are going th hear Blue Oyster Cult chased with a Michael Jackson tune.  Second hill: it’s time to get out of the saddle again for a well-deserved leg stretch.  Alternate standing and seated intervals.

Monster Mash – The Misfits (2:38): Time for a pace line!  Split riders into two or three groups (guys/gals, front/middle/back row) and let each group set the pace for 30 seconds before falling back and letting the next group go.  For the last 30 seconds, everyone joins in to sprint to the finish line.

Ghostbusters – Ray Parker, Jr. (4:05):  What could you do for this song besides lifts?  Come on, let’s start with 8 counts, moving to 4 counts for the choruses and back to 8 counts for the verses.  If you’ve got a fun-loving group, get them to shout, “Ghostbusters!” at all the right spots.

Supermassive Black Hole – Muse (3:29):  Okay, we’ve had a bunch of songs for the older set, now let’s do a seated climb for the under 21 set.  This song counts for a Hallowe’en mix because it’s on the Twilight soundtrack.  Plus, it’s a rockin’ tune.  Third hill starts here.

The Devil Went Down to Georgia – The Charlie Daniels Band (3:44): More sprints – whee!  They’re at 0:56 – 1:17 (20 sec), 1:31 – 2:01 (30 sec), 2:16 – 2:46 (30 sec), 3:06 – 3:40 (35 sec).

Tales from the Crypt Theme (Workout Mix) – Power Music (2:02): Two minutes of steady spinning at a purposeful cadence.  Pick the highest cadence you can maintain for two solid minutes.

Who Made Who – AC/DC (5:16): Cripes, it’s the fourth (and last) hill.  I’ve got the live version of this song, so I start it 30 seconds in.  Take the tension to 4 or 5 and come out of the saddle.  Settle in for five minutes of rolling hill – tension goes up once or twice, then down, then up again.

Voodoo People (Pendulum Remix) – The Prodigy (5:11): What goes up, must come down.  Recovery and a drink until 0:55 when the fun starts again.  Sprint 15 seconds on/off, then 30, then 45, then 60.

Black Cat – Janet Jackson (4:51): I’ve been wanting to use this song in a mix for a long time.  Let’s do some high tension lifts: 8 counts, then 4 counts, then back t o 8 counts.

Highway to Hell – AC/DC (3:59): One more drill before the cool down, one last chance to get that extra energy out in this out of the saddle climb.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run to this song.  It always gives me a little extra energy.  Draw on that energy here – turn up the tension and match the cadence. 

Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon (3:25): We made it!  Have a seat, dial back the tension, and take a big drink.  Spin easy for at least a minute, then do some static upper body stretching as you gradually slow down your legs.  Finally, some lower-body stretching off the bike: quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves.

Black Magic – Kreesha Turner (4:17): Some extra stretching and goodbye music.  Happy Hallowe’en!

Got a Hallowe’en tune that’s perfect for spinning, or created a Hallowe’en mix of your own?  Post it here in a comment.




Supermassive Spin Mix (58 minutes)

6 10 2009

I have news that’s too big not to share.  Regular readers will have noticed that I haven’t been adding posts much lately (okay, not at all since July.)  The reason was that I hadn’t taught a spin class since July.  I took a couple of months off from it because my better half and I are expecting our first child in early April 2010.  We are absolutely delighted.

Now, I don’t want anyone to think it’s necessary to give up spinning during pregnancy.  The old advice to “keep your heart rate below 140 bpm at all times” is way out of date and was meant for sedentary women in any event.  These days, the advice is generally to keep doing what you have been doing, but don’t try to do more, and don’t overheat, dehydrate, or go above an RPE of 12-14 (somewhat hard).  Pregnant exercisers should always be able to pass the “talk test” and never exercise to the point of exhaustion.

I wasn’t sure if I could teach spinning and keep my heart rate down, or avoid overheating, so I took a leave for the first trimester.  I continued to ride on my own and outdoors.  Now that the first trimester is safely behind me, I’ve been eager to return to teaching.  I picked up a new hour long Tuesday night class and taught it for the first time tonight.  I gave up my Monday lunch class to my grasshopper, Nancy, but kept my 40 minute lunch class on Thursdays, so I’ll teach two spin classes a week.  Throw in a couple of yoga classes, a couple of weight-training sessions, and some outdoor cardio on weekends, and I’m hoping to be in fighting shape to deliver in April.

Here’s the playlist I used for my class tonight.  There’s lots of Canadian music here: Jully Black, Massari, Fefe Dobson, Lola, Attack in Black.  I got good feedback from the six riders who came out for this new class, including one request for the playlist.  The pace line drill worked especially well – I find they do, especially in smaller classes.

Baby with bikeRunning – Jully Black (3:48): Warm up with the latest single from Toronto R&B singer Black, a perfect song for getting your legs going.  It’s going to be a great ride!

Megalomaniac – KMFDM (6:08):  Ease into things with some surges starting at 0:45.  15 seconds on/off, then 30 seconds, 45 seconds, and 60 seconds.  Surges are short periods of increased cadence that are not all-out sprints – perhaps 80% of maximum capacity.  (Longer classes merit a longer warmup – surges are an ideal transition.)

Supermassive Black Hole – Muse (3:29):  This song has been on heavy rotation on my iPod since I discovered it on Gabriela’s spin blog.  It’s also on the Twilight soundtrack.  We’re going into two songs of rolling hills, alternating between climbing (in or out of the saddle) and sprinting: first hill: C: 0-15 S: 15-32, second hill: C: 32-1:02 S: 1:02 – 1:35, third hill: C: 1:35 – 2:24 S: 2:25 – 3:12.

Sexy Bitch (feat. Akon) – David Guetta (3:16):  Guetta is a French DJ.  This song has been getting heavy airplay, without a lot of bleeping, perhaps because it’s nearly impossible to make out the word b*tch in the chorus.  Listen to it carefully before you use it in your class – it pushes the envelope and some gyms may find it unacceptable.  There is a clean version on iTunes called Sexy Chick (Power Remix Radio Edit) by GG, which also runs 3:16.  Let’s do some more rolling hills: fourth hill: C: 15-30 S: 30-45, fifth hill: C: 45-1:15 S: 1:15 – 1:45, sixth hill: C: 1:45 – 2:45 S: 2:45 – 3:15.

Body Body – Massari (3:42): Whew, we need some recovery.  Take 50 seconds, then start with some jumps: 16 counts, then 8, then 4 counts, about 60 seconds for each.  Massari is a Lebanese Canadian R&B/hip hop singer.  His debut album went gold.  This song is one of his latest.

Watch Me Move – Fefe Dobson (1:58): I love this short, feisty gem of a song from Toronto artist Fefe Dobson.  I hear a bit of Avril Lavigne and the Veronicas in this one.  The whole song is one big, juicy sprint.  Split the class into two groups (I used men and women) and have them sprint 30 seconds on, 30 off.

Paparazzi (Demolition Crew Mix) – Lady GaGa (3:54):  Regular readers know that I’ve loved Lady GaGa for a long time.  This remix is perfect for a seated climb with a few resistance increases.  I like to offer a bit of a breather half-way through hour long classes.  This song serves that purpose but will keep heart rates in the aerobic range.

High Heels – Lola (3:39): Like Sexy Bitch, I have mixed feelings about this song by new Canadian artist Lola.  There are no crude words in it (that I can tell, anyway) but every feminist bone in my body rebels at the lyrics.  But the beat… the beat.  It’s the classic rock dilemma.  While Lola puts on her high heels and black miniskirt, let’s do a standing climb with several resistance increases.

Music is Pumping – Porn Kings v. Flip & Fill (5:51):  Regular reader Tim suggested this song and I just love it.  I did a pace line drill with a twist.  Each rider took a turn setting the pace for however long they wanted; when they tired, they’d give a wave, fall back, and the next person took over.  While waiting for their turn at the front, the other riders maintained a strong, steady pace.  We had a great time with this drill and the riders really gave ‘er when it was their turn to go.  (Thanks, Tim!)

Major Tom – Shiny Toy Guns (4:22):  We need some recovery time after that drill.  Rest for 20 seconds, take a drink, and give your shoulders a roll.  We’re back to surges – 60 seconds on/60 off.  This song would also suit surges of varying lengths.

To Get Down – Timo Maas (3:33):  Another of Gabriela’s finds.  Maas is a German DJ.  We only have three songs left in the class, so make them count.  Get all that energy out.  This is the last out-of-the-saddle climb of the day.

I Begin to Wonder – Dannii Minogue (3:40):  A special shout out to reader Sheryl Wright in Saudi Arabia for suggesting this great sprinting tune.  We’re going to do three sets of sprints: 30/45/30 at 30 – 1:02, 1:42 – 2:28, and 3:01 – 3:32.

Blood (In the Tracks) – Attack in Black (3:34): This Canadian indie-rock band hails from very near my hometown in Ontario.  We’re going to finish up with a steady spin.  Find a cadence you can maintain for the entire three and a half minutes, settle in, and close your eyes.  It’s just you and the bike.

Drowning – Saving Abel (3:38): Cool down and stretch with these Mississippi rockers.

I Can’t Dance – Genesis (4:01):  One of these things is not like the others.  This tune is considerably older than the other music in this mix.  I listened to it again recently.  It’s funky and it’s got attitude.  Use it for a bit of extra stretching time and as goodbye music.

Readers, did you teach spin while you were pregnant?  How did you continue to provide an energizing class and stick within your doctor’s guidelines?  Tell me about your experience.

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