Hi everyone, I’m Gabriela a.k.a. Aeon and I hail from the good ol’ USA (Oklahoma City) but have made Toronto my home. I love Canada!
A little bit about me: I suffered from severe asthma as a child and because of it I wasn’t able to have a very active childhood. If I ever tried to do any sort of physical activity my asthma would flare up and it would feel like I was trying to breathe through a plastic bag. I still remember trying to run a mile in PE in grade 6 – I felt like I was drowning 5 minutes into my run. I was always one of the last kids to finish and I really hated that because I have a very competitive streak. In 1997 I hired a personal trainer and part of my training included a lot of cardio. Since my PT taught spinning, it was just natural that I would give it a try. I was a little intimidated – the music, the bikes, the sweat … but I knew that I could do it – I love a challenge and by this time, my asthma wasn’t so severe … I was hooked and never looked back! Several years later and thanks to encouragement from friends, I became a certified cycling and group fitness instructor. Taking this step changed my life dramatically and allowed me to not only push myself but to believe that having asthma was not going to hold me back from being the active person I was meant to be. Maybe this is why I have a really soft spot for new riders. I always try to ensure a fun and non-intimidating experience for first time riders. After all, I was in their shoes at one time and look at me now! :)
For my indoor cycling classes, I have one rule: If we can’t do it on an outdoor ride, we are not doing it inside. Therefore, all of my rides focus on proper technique and challenging drills that move along with the beat of the music. I am a huge music fan and find that if I can move to the beat, I push myself a lot more and work harder so, this is how I teach. I play all genres of music and try to include a little bit of everything so that riders will at least find one song they like. I find that hip-hop with the heavy bass beats works fabulously in a cycling class, dance music, remixes and mash-ups also make for an amazing ride. I like to sneak the odd industrial or indie song, maybe an obscure 80’s tune … this is what makes indoor cycling fun! Anything goes when it comes to the music and as long as it flows and the energy is high, everyone is bound to have a great workout.
A note about the tension – I ask my riders to add resistance until their cadence begins to match the beat of the music. I find that it’s easier to coach in this manner than to use percentages and/or numbers. People get confused but they can easily understand the concept of slowing or speeding up their pace to match a beat. The challenge is maintaining the pace as we increase the resistance.
Here’s my ride profile for this week:
Stop! (Vince Clarke Sync 82 Remix) – Erasure (6:06): Time to get this started! Add enough tension to feel yourself pedaling against the wind and lets go for a light run to warm up those legs! After 2 minutes and some light stretching, come out of the saddle for a standing run. Make sure you have enough tension while standing to always be in control of the pedals.
So Many Girls – Usher (4:36): The wind is picking up so load it up until your legs move in tune with the beat. Have a seat during the bridge and pound on those pedals to keep your pace moving to the beat, increase the tension and come out of the saddle on the chorus.
Rose Colored Glasses – Kelly Rowland (4:01): Now we’re really hitting a hill! We need to load it up to match the slow pace of this song. Hit the saddle and increase after each chorus – this should feel like we’re pedaling through thick mud. Come out of the saddle to take it to the top.
Dominos – The Big Pink (3:46): So what’s at the top? More mud! Let’s lower the tension just a little to reflect our new flat muddy road and continue plowing through. Put all your power and strength into your quads and try to double time your pace on the chorus. Visualize yourself speeding up through the muddiest sections to get out of them as fast as possible! There are three 20 second sets in this song – your legs will feel like jello at the end but that’s why we do this!
Chica Bomb (Extended Version) – Dan Balan (4:21): Whew! That was rough! Let’s come back to the non-muddy flats and release some tension. We are going for a light run with uphill sprints. Let’s maintain a 75% effort for the run and as the chorus begins, load it up into a high gear, explode out of the saddle and give me a standing sprint. Then bring it back to a lower gear and come back to your seated run. There are 3 sets in this song.
Acapella – Kelis (4:08): It’s time to recover after that madness! Let’s load it up to pace to the music and go for all endurance on this song. Really try to keep the same pace all the way through and be sure to drink water as needed.
Memories 2010 – David Guetta (3:31): Come out of the saddle and continue to run. We’ll switch between second and third position for our standing run, keep your shoulders relaxed and elbows soft. All your weight is on your legs and you’re focusing on your pace. This time we’re just going to hit the saddle and add a little more effort on the chorus without touching the tension. Your legs should move faster but you should always feel like you’re in control of the pedals. If it feels like the pedals are moving you, turn up the tension.
Dancing On My Own – Robyn (4:46): Let’s load it up and ride this slight incline – increase the tension after each minute and to keep it challenging have a seat during the bridge. This makes the ride a little tougher without you having to touch the tension again.
Boardmeeting (DJ Mixstar) – Timbaland (2:29): Now it’s getting steep! Continue to increase the tension to match the slow beat. You should crank it up enough to need to stand for the last minute.
She Wants To Move (Jason Nevins Remix) – N.E.R.D. (3:47): (Make sure you get the Jason Nevins Remix of this song.) It is time for some Tabata pain people! Let’s lighten up the load and go at about 80% for the first minute. Then we are going to sprint hard for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds three times in a row after which we will recover for 45 seconds and finish up with another sent of three 20/10’s. Remember to put maximum effort into those 20 seconds!
Name Of The Game – The Crystal Method (4:15): Yikes! Let’s slow it down with a heavy uphill climb. You know the drill, match your leg speed to the music and INCREASE to mimic the increasing level of difficulty.
Candy Bottom Girls – Q-Unit (3:38): Oh no! Another muddy flat at the top! Lower the tension a teeny bit and settle into the climb. Double time those legs when you hear Queen kick in on the song.
Zero – Yeah Yeah Yeahs (4:26): Continue to move through the mud for the first minute of this song, then decrease the tension and get ready for a long downhill run – all the way to the end people! We are almost done so you have to dig deep and keep those legs moving!
Renegades Of Funk – Rage Against The Machine (4:34): Take the first 30 seconds to recover and drink some water. If this song does not make you MOVE then you have no pulse … load it up a little to mimic the windy flat we are on and settle in for one fast ride! Once you find the pace that keeps YOU challenged hang on to it! Ride it all the way to the last note!
Sandstorm – Darude (7:26): We’ve come all this way to this last challenging drill. We’re going back to Tabata … take some water, dig deep and get ready! We have two sets of 20/10’s with a one minute recovery followed by THREE more sets of 20/10’s. I know we’re tired but this is the part we will remember when we finish class! On the third 20/10 it’s competition time – imagine that competitive friend you have (we all have one!) riding at your heels! They are gunning for the finish line and they want it as much as you do – you have to MOVE THOSE LEGS! All the hard work you’ve done, all the training and motivation comes down to these last 20 seconds and it’s up to you to hit that finish line before your competitive foe does … DO IT!
Khaleegi Stomp – Transglobal Underground (3:53): Victory lap time! Your heart is pumping, your vision is blurry, you might be hallucinating but no – that was just you hitting the finish line and winning! Let’s take the next couple of minutes to slow down the heart rate and the legs – rehydrate and high fives all around.
Indra – Thievery Corporation (5:25): This part is just as important as all the training we just did, please stay and stretch! The five minutes we get is not enough so be sure to incorporate stretching into your daily routine. It helps prevent injuries and keeps you flexible!
Thanks Cynthia for having me as a guest on your wonderful blog. I am not the best at updating my blog but I can be found at http://www.fightfitness.ca/spindj. I post streaming play lists and talk fitness when I can find the time. Thanks again and cheers everyone!
Folks, Gabriela uses pop-out playlists so you can listen to songs right from her blog. She’s included the code for her guest post, so to hear the songs, just click on Pop Out Playlist. Cool stuff.
I am feeling nostalgic. My mat leave is over in two weeks. How the time has flown. Here’s a pic of Kate taken last week while we were on vacation on Prince Edward Island. She’s rocking her sunglasses and bikini, I think. I’ve posted another pic – the view from our cottage porch at dawn. PEI is a very special place. Only got one ride in while we were there – a short 26km ride from St. Peters to Mount Stewart along the Confederation Trail. While on the ride, my friend’s Blackberry went off – it was one of my dear friends calling to tell us he’d just been appointed to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia! Wonderful news.
The guest posts aren’t over yet – there are two to go. Look for Jenn’s post on August 22. She blogs over at Move Me with Music – check it out. Happy spinning, everyone.