Friday, March 16, 2007

Transitions Part 1

I'd committed to training at the gym with AL Thursday morning at 0630. There's a spin class at 0830, so I decided to do both. And heck, while I'm at it, why not ride my bike to the gym?

This level of ambition requires some preparation, which means waking up at 0530. I fluid-load by drinking a liter of water and have a decent carb-dominated breakfast, classic rolled-oats with dried blueberries. I pack my workout shoes, water, towels (man I can sweat up a storm during spin), etc., and take off around 0620.

I have a good training session with AL, but I can feel and see the loss in definition from just a few short weeks ago when I was getting in two training sessions a week focusing on upper-body. Also, I've been slacking on my personal abdominal/core workouts. Need to do that more. My first exercise is a combination of step-up, bicep curl, shoulder-press. That is, while holding dumbbells, I step up onto a workout bench. While balancing on that leg, I curl the dumbbells, transition from the top of the curl to a shoulder press, then reverse all three moves. 15 repetitions on each leg with a 15 pound dumbbell. It's strange to say this, but the focus of the exercise isn't the arm work. I'm not using a heavy enough weight to really stress my arms. The tough thing is the step-up and balance while shifting my weight around (lots of core balance required). At any rate, I do a rotation of the step-up exercises on each leg, a knee-up abdominal exercise on the bench, then an exercise-ball hamstring-curl. Then we repeat. Our next rotation is made up of a crunch with medicine ball. At the apex of the crunch, I toss the medicine ball to AL, then catch it as she passes it back. This forces me to hold the apex of the crunch a lot longer than normal. Next is a squat with the exercise ball sandwiched between my back and the wall. I'm holding a medicine ball which I pass and catch at the bottom of the squat. Then pushups. On the second rotation, my right elbow starts to hurt, so I cut the pushups short.

After our session, I do some more crunches, putter around a bit, and do 20 minutes of elliptical training. It's the first time that I've tried the machine in about a year; I remember having to build up from 5 to 10 to 15 to 20 minutes over multiple sessions, so just deciding to do 20 minutes is a bit ambitious, but I surprise myself by being fine. In fact, my heart rate monitor helps me to push it a bit (I'm typically shooting for a sustained 150 bpm). After my conversion to working out with a HRM, I'm always surprised that more people don't use them. The people around me seem to be doing long sessions on the machines without benchmarking their effort by anything except what the machine tells them the resistance level is. My body can react to the same level of resistance in different ways, depending on how much sleep I've gotten, and how good my fitness is.

30 minutes to spin class. I unpack my spin gear: sports drinks, towels, headband, gloves, and head over to claim a bike. I take some time to stretch out my calves and hamstrings. And then, it's time. We warm up to the opening tracks of Depeche Mode 101 (Pimpf instrumental, and "Behind the Wheel"), then mix it up with a Grammy mix album from 1 or 2 years ago. Not bad music. I'm not in great shape for spin, but I haven't lost back to my pre-spin days. I don't have problems doing stand-up pedaling, and in general, I kick ass. There are a few times when my heart rate hits 170+ (my back-off point) which tells me my legs might not have lost a bunch, but my cardio shape has suffered: I had to really strain to hit 170 in December. I survive and even thrive. Need to do this consistently.

One of the last songs we ride to is Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy." I realize that I used to automatically evaluate music by how good it would be for spin, and now I think about the tempo for dance.

Post-spin euphoria as I ride home.

No comments:

Post a Comment