30 Days of Spinning®
All May, we shared training tips, nutrition advice, and guides to all things Spinning® to make your fitness journey into summer that much better (and more fun!). Thanks for joining in!
Heart Rate Training for Weight Loss
By Stephen Black
Making exercise a part of your life is the most important step one can take toward achieving weight loss goals. But in order to really make your workouts effective, you need to pay attention to your heart. Or, more specifically, your heart rate.
The heart responds to exercise like any other muscle in the body: just as lifting weights can make the biceps muscle bigger and stronger, exercising the heart will make it stronger and more efficient. It’s important to realize that you don’t lose weight by going all out every time, as too high a heart rate may result in injury or, at the very least, a drop in motivation from fatigue and pain.
Heart rate training may sound advanced or complicated, but it’s really quite simple. When we talk about heart rate training, we’re talking about exercising at the right intensity for burning fat, strengthening your cardiovascular system or whatever your exercise goals are. And your heart rate is the indicator that will tell you when you’re exercising at the right intensity.
Heart Rate Monitors
A heart rate monitor is the best tool you can use to let you know what your heart rate is during exercise. In the past, you may have simply counted your pulse, but that method isn't accurate enough. It requires you to slow down your exercise activity, which causes your heart rate to immediately drop. By wearing a heart rate monitor during your workout, you get immediate, continuous, accurate feedback. A simple strap goes around your chest, and a watch on your wrist displays your heart rate in beats per minute.
Target Heart Rate
Of course, those numbers on your watch won’t mean a thing unless you know what your target range is, right? But don’t worry—that part is easy too. Your target heart rate range for weight loss is 65%–75% of your maximum heart rate. And your max heart rate is easily estimated with a simple equation. If you’re male, subtract your age from 220. If you’re female, use 226. So for a 35-year old male: 220-35 = 185. His estimated max heart rate is 185 beats per minute and his target heart rate range for weight loss is 120-139 BPM (65–75%).
The heart rate range for weight loss is what we call the Endurance Energy Zone. There are five zones in all, each with different benefits:
Recovery Energy Zone (50%–65% of MHR)
Gives your body a chance to heal, prevents burnout and reduces the risk of injury.
Endurance Energy Zone (65%–75% of MHR)
Builds your aerobic base and trains your body to burn fat by maintaining a steady heart rate and a comfortable pace over an extended period of time.
Strength Energy Zone (75%–85% of MHR)
Improves cardiovascular strength with increased intensity.
Interval Energy Zone (65%–92% of MHR)
Boosts your metabolism and calorie burn by incorporating bursts of speed and power with periods of recovery.
Race Day Energy Zone (80%–92% of MHR)
This Energy Zone is the ultimate challenge of all-out effort and an unbeatable way to test your fitness and measure your progress.
If weight loss is your goal, heart rate training and a nutritious diet is your best bet. Not only will you lose weight, but you’ll be doing it in a safe and healthy manner—which means this time, you’ll keep it off.
Stephen Black has 25+ years experience in the health and wellness industry. He has worked with professional teams, including NFL, NBA, NHL, WNBA and ABL/NBL affiliates. Steve currently heads clinical and research operations at Rocky Mountain Human Performance Centers, Inc. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pedal Power: Wear Cycling Shoes for Spinning® Classes
Wendy Moltrup, MS, CHES
Wearing cycling-specific shoes for Spinning® class promotes efficient movement throughout the whole pedal stroke — it allows you to use the quadriceps and hamstrings effectively throughout the pedal stroke and to properly recruit the secondary muscle groups like the calves and shin muscles.
There is greater efficiency in the transfer of power and a more balanced use of the leg muscles, providing stability to the knee and reducing foot movement. You can also reduce foot discomfort because your cycling shoes are attached to the pedal, which can prevent numbness caused by athletic shoes squeezed into the narrow toe cages. Moreover, cycling shoes’ stiff soles can improve stability and reduce strain to the Achilles tendon and calf muscles.
What’s Different About The Design Of Cycling Shoes for Spinning® Class?
On the bottom of a cycling shoe, you’ll see two or three holes (Giro® offers a universal mount with both configurations), where you attach a cleat. The cleat attaches to the pedal. This shoe-cleat-pedal combination is referred to as a clipless pedal system.
Cycling shoes have hard, stiff soles, a retaining system, such as Velcro® straps so the shoe can fit snugly around your arch, and cleats that hold your feet securely in place on the pedals.
Note: Cycling shoes and cleats are usually sold separately so that the correct cleat can be selected to fit the bike’s pedal system.
Cycling Shoes for Spinning® Classes? | What Kind Should I Wear?
There are two basic types of clipless pedal systems:
- A recessed cleat or SPD® (Shimano Pedal Design) system, a two-hole cleat system;
- A non-recessed, three-hole cleat system used most often with road cycling shoes and pedals.
Most gyms have pedals on their Spinner® bikes that are compatible with the SPD system. The compatible cycling shoes will have a recessed cleat and rubberized soles. It’s easier and safer to walk in this type of cycling shoe.
Non-recessed cleats, such as LOOK® Delta cleats, have protruding cleats that can make walking difficult in a gym environment.
Your gym or studio may have pedals that work with either system and regular athletic shoes, so it’s best to always ask before you buy.
How Should My Shoes Fit?
Your cycling shoes should be comfortable from the beginning and may be a half to full size larger or smaller than your regular shoe size. There should be enough room in the front of the shoes to wiggle your toes.
When you get ready to ride, adjust the retaining system to fit snuggly around the arch of your foot. If your feet are falling asleep while you ride, you may have adjusted them a little too tightly. Try loosening the retaining system.
What About Socks?
Socks can be the key to comfort! To help keep your feet cool and minimize friction, which may cause blisters, your socks should be made of moisture-wicking fabric with reinforced heels and toes. Cycling-specific socks are also lightweight for a streamlined effect you’ll find in most cycling garments — and they look good too.
Remember, Before You Buy Cycling Shoes for your Spinning Class
- If you are buying shoes from a bike shop, ask if they include the cleats and if they will install them for you at no charge.
- Ask the gym or studio where you take Spinning® classes which pedal system they use on their Spinner® bikes.
- Talk to your Certified Spinning Instructor about recommendations and how to use the shoes while riding on your Spinner® bike.
You’ll find a variety of cycling shoes here at Spinning.com. Review the size guide to help you find the best fit.
It’s easy to get the hang of clipless pedals and you’ll feel the difference with every pedal stroke and every ride!
Clip in and love your ride!
This cycling shoe sizing guide provides you with equivalent US and European sizing. Remember, your cycling shoe may be a half to a full size larger or smaller than your regular shoe size—focus on the fit, it should be comfortable with enough room to wiggle your toes.
Electrolytes: Boost Your Training and Performance
By John Cargill, Spinning® Master Instructor | Illinois, United States
You may have at least heard of electrolytes, and most serious endurance athletes must monitor their intake in order to avoid bodily breakdowns on the road to glory. YouTube videos, which feature footage of some beleaguered competitor becoming sick roadside, are enough to make anyone wary of suffering an electrolyte imbalance.
Perhaps closer to home, you may have attended a Spinning® or indoor cycling training class and found that mere water was unequal to the task of hydrating the body for those journey rides beyond 40 minutes. If you train outdoors and/or in hot environments, electrolyte replacement is even more critical.
What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are ions that are best described as very small, electrically charged particles that are mobilized by the water in our bodies that serve a plurality of functions. The six most commonly known electrolytes: sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphate, and chloride.
Some of the key functions they serve, which are especially important during activity, include:
- Heart function (sodium and potassium)
- Maintaining water levels (sodium)
- Neural and muscular excitation (sodium and chloride)
- Muscular contraction (calcium)
- Cellular operations (magnesium)
Why is Sodium So Important?
Our bodies, in order to perform as they were intended to, require electrolyte balance—neither too much nor too little.?? Although excess concentrations of any given electrolyte are possible, and indeed such conditions have been diagnosed and treated, it remains far more commonplace for individuals, and especially endurance athletes, to become depleted or deficient of one electrolyte in particular: sodium. Hyponatremia, or water intoxication, is a deficient sodium concentration and one of the many potential complications that can occur with unchecked sodium losses and too much water intake.
How does one lose so much sodium?? The simplest answer is perspiration, or sweat. A discussion about sweat and sweat rates raises some important questions. How long is the training session? What discipline is on the schedule (e.g., indoor cycling training, running, rowing)? How intense is the training session (e.g., long distance workout, tempo/threshold, intervals, some combination)? Will it be indoors or outdoors? These variables have a profound influence on both energy expenditure and sweat rates, and they warrant careful consideration.
How Do I Hydrate and Balance Electrolytes?
You now have many options to optimize your hydration and nutrition before, during and after your event. Each brand offers its own solutions to energy and electrolyte problems. On a more humorous note, we have certainly come a long way since a popular American beer brand was the primary sponsor of the Kona Ironman®.
While I am not going to embrace or disparage any product here, we can establish some facts about some of the fuels and hydration systems. Most brands contain some electrolyte replacement, such as sodium and potassium. Others provide for glucose (sugar) replacement. Another important note, check to see if the product is water-soluble (most are), so you will need to consume the product, for instance gels or tablets, with water.
Which Electrolyte and Glucose Product Is Right for Me?
Before you buy a bunch of products, consider if you actually require all electrolytes to be present—recalling that deficiencies in phosphate, chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium are somewhat infrequent. The sodium and potassium present in common sports drinks may be adequate in many cases, but the glucose content needs to be examined as well—make sure you have the right product or mix of products that works well for you.
Make sure you figure out what works for you before race day—every body is different, and so is your digestive system. For instance, for some people, consuming glucose gels and a sports drink, gastric emptying problems (bloating) may ensue. One way around this is to use a low sugar beverage option or dilute a beverage with water. Another possible alternative may be salt or electrolyte tablets in water and supplemented with gels for glucose replacement.
Gastric emptying may also be a problem with solid nutrition, and, in fact, my experience on the competitive circuit has shown that bars are not as frequently used for electrolytes or refueling during an event; they are more often used pre- and post-event. I have heard of gastric emptying problems that present with gels in some individuals, too, and in that case there are powdered products available that contain electrolytes and glucose. These may simply be dissolved in water, and their benefits are quite similar to those of common sports drinks.
How Do I Get Ready for Race Day?
Clearly there are quite a few options out there. My advice would be to know your body and how it responds to various routines, such as indoor cycling training and endurance training. If you are not certain what your electrolyte needs are, train with the product(s) that match up with what you think you need, then note your response and reevaluate if necessary.
Do you simply require electrolytes or do you need electrolytes and calories rolled into one item? Many of the most important determinations about these matters have been made through trial and error. So put the products on trial, and don’t be afraid to learn what is best from the error(s). Regardless of what the advertising or marketing of a product may be, the one truth is that you should obey your own body first.
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