Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I've been dwelling on what I am grateful for today. And I want to get it written down.
I am thankful....
- For my husband Jeff, for being understanding of my quirks and silliness (and for understanding me when I spend a lot of time on my blog!), for sharing my life, for recognizing when he's cranky and apologizing for it, for being such a sweetheart, for coming to my Spin classes 7+ years ago (where we met), for being such a good athlete himself...
- For the house that Jeff is building for us, about 20 miles away. About 2 months from being finished.
- For living in such a beautiful place. It's getting cold now, so the wonders of winter are awaiting me (just a little more snow though, before I'll get out and ski).
- For my good health; this is something I really cherish!
- For Spinning, because it's allowed me to stay in excellent cycling shape throughout the winter - bikes on trainers can be so boring!
- For my role as an instructor, because I love working with people to help them reach their goals.
- For my role as a Master Instructor, because of the wonderful people I've met from around the world who are as passionate about Spinning as I am, and because it allows me to inspire other instructors to inspire their students. I just LOVE doing this! :-)
- For my back. Despite the challenges it provides me occasionally, I could be so much worse off, and I am thankful that I can do everything I can do! Every now and then it reminds me that it has its limits, and now I can say I'm grateful for those reminders because it keep me careful. (my goal - more core training....)
- For the fact that I found a way to have fitness as my job. Albert Schweizer said, "Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are dong, you will be successful."
- For my bicycle tour company, Viva Travels, because it not only allows me to share my love of cycling in Europe with others (and make some money in the process) but look where I get to go ride my bike (AND get a tax write off while researching it)! ;-) Alpe d'Huez, Mont Ventoux, the Dolomites, Tuscany, the Pyrenees, etc! I am soooooooo grateful for this!
- For my friends around the world, who keep my life even more interesting.
- For the amazing opportunities that are presenting themselves in this economy - they're there if you'll look hard enough! History is FULL of stories of people who come out of recessions far better off than they were before, and I plan on being one of those people! I will not buy into this bad economy BS, I will only look for the good, how I can grow, how I can turn things around and really improve my income. (Because I'm not afraid to admit it - I want to make a lot of money some day. That's the only way I'll be able to help the world in the way I plan on doing it. And to travel and see other amazing parts of the world that are awaiting.
- For my parents and the things they gave up in order to provide excellent educations for me and my siblings. I am thankful to them to this day for their sacrifices. Everything they did was for us!
- For music and the way it makes me feel! ;-)
- For gourmet food and wine - ah, one of life's greatest joys! (That's probably from all the traveling I've done in France - it's rubbed off on me!)
- For Peace. The more we focus on being grateful for peace, the more likely we are to have it. Not being anti-war...but being pro-peace. Here's to the eventual end to the war in Iraq!
- I am so incredibly grateful for the outcome of our election, and the direction I believe our country will take from here on in. It won't be a quick-fix, it won't be an easy 4 years, it's not a fairy-tale that with a wave of a wand all the negativity and wrong directions will be fixed right away. It will take sacrifice on everyone's part. But I believe that Yes We Can! I am grateful for Barack Obama!
- For blogs! A year ago I never thought I'd be doing this, but what a great way to connect with people!
- For everyone who reads my blog. Thank you so much!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
My name is Jennifer Sage and I am a Master Instructor for the Spinning program, a certified personal trainer since 1992, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and I have a BS in Exercise Science. I am also a certified Ski Instructor, and I have 27 years in the fitness industry.
As an MI for Spinning since 1997 I have certified over a thousand instructors, taught many continuing education courses, wrote several of the continuing education programs for Spinning, and presented at many fitness conferences, including ECA Miami and New York, Can Fit Pro in Toronto, Crunch (Atlanta), New York Sports Club Summit, and WSSC (World Spinning and Sports Conference) Miami for the past 10 years.
Our biggest challenge as Master Instructors is to teach instructors PROPER training principles so they can then teach their students how to safely and effectively accomplish their goals. Notice the word "safely". There is so much crap that is taught out there in the fitness industry, and especially in indoor cycling. Unfortunately it has become rampant and widely accepted in many parts of the country as the way it should be done.
I actually wrote the workshop for Mad Dogg Athletics and Spinning entitled Contraindications in the Spinning Program. I know you know what contraindications means - but just in case you don't, Jillian, in a nutshell, it means just don't do it! In the workshop, I analyzed many popular but unsafe moves in indoor cycling looking at biomechanics, anatomy, physiology, proper training principles, the roots of road cycling, and plain common sense reasons why they should not be a part of ANY indoor cycling program, much less the Spinning program.
What you did with your participants on the Biggest Loser last night was horrendous and very sad. It showed great disrespect for your participants, for the Spinning program, and for indoor cycling in general. You showed rampant disregard for safety, for biomechanics, for understanding of training principles, and for concern for your participants. It shows that you know nothing about riding a bike, either. I know you think you must keep up your "image" as being a hard a$$, kick butt, no-holds-barred personal trainer, but this time you went too far.
Burning muscles, as I'm sure you know, is not always a good thing. It can be caused by mechanical inefficiency, and not just anaerobic work. Pain in the joints is a sign to the person that something is amiss, and is often caused by incorrect form. Good form is crucial for proper and safe indoor cycling - I'm sure your riders last night felt pain in their joints because form was never addressed. You should never, ever, EVER, take away the saddle in indoor cycling, it has high-risk and serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever. It does not make you stronger, faster or a better cyclist, indoors or out. Do you think the best cyclists in the world would ever do something as silly as that? Yet look how incredibly fit they are! And for God’s sake, one should especially never do that with someone who is carrying that much extra weight! Jillian, there is no need to risk injury in the name of fitness. You should always respect the fact that this is a bicycle, and cannot pretend that it isn't. Being a fixed-geared bicycle has huge implications on the body when pedaling. You simply can't be doing squats, girations or other crazy aerobics-on-a-bike movements without placing the rider at great risk.
Spinning is a brand, and it is based on proper and safe training. You are using Spinner bikes on your show. You should respect the brand, and show what good Spinning is! Even if you didn’t have Spinning bikes, safety, smart training and common sense should still apply, because safety is important in all indoor cycling, not just Spinning.
I have a blog devoted to safe and effective Indoor Cycling, and if you go to http://funhogspins.blogspot.com and look under the label "Contraindications" you'll see several posts, including a huge list of what NOT to do on an indoor bicycle, and the biomechanical, anatomical, physiological and common sense reasons why not. I think you should read these. Many of them were on the show last night.
And get yourself certified. Please...
Jennifer Sage, BS, CSCS, CPT, MI
UPDATE: Was I harsh on Jillian? I wrote a follow-up blog post here, where I offered to certify her for free in Spinning! And another blog post after getting some "Hate-mail" from Jillian fan who thinks I'm just jealous.
Friday, November 14, 2008
As far as I know, things have changed and I think most of the German MI use the bpm for their profiles. It is quite common to teach bpm = rpm and it seems in the Netherlands it is the same. Music has become a part of the clinic by now and the MI explain about the bpm and how to count them.
In the German forum we discuss these things as well, but it is more like if we should use the musical bow (every musical bow consists of 32 beats and the first one is known as the "big one", this indicates a change in the song, you can use it for a technique change or for jumps for example) or not.
Sometimes, I wonder if there is a difference how to teach spinning in different countries. We Germans are not very rhythmic people, so we hear the beat first and not the rhythm.
Your experience in San Francisco is a good example how the beat can be misinterpreted and overdone. I can give you an example vice versa: I took an endurance ride during a spinning event where the instructor played only techno music with approx. 138-140 bpm. Of course, the goal was to find your own cadence and to stay there for the ride. It was pretty hard!! I saw many people bouncing in their saddles, because they wanted to go that fast and there were also a few who made a hill out of it. So what do you think - was it a stroke of a genius or just bad music choice? Music is a motivator and supports you - I found it just the opposite! Ok - you can say you need a lot of intrinsic motivation to go through such a ride - but where is the fun factor?
I wonder how you teach the different cadences in your rides when you don't use the bpm and it is the goal of your class. Do you use cadence checks for that? How often? Every time you change cadence? It is great if you have a spinning computer, but what do you do if you have not?
Another question: how important is it to teach a certain cadence at a time? What's the use of it if you are just a "normal leisure time spinner"? If a certain cadence stands for a certain heart rate, then ok, but here I would say heart rate depends more on the type of music selection.
I agree with you: beat is not everything - but it helps a lot, especially those who are not so experienced.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I love music, and love how it motivates me and inspires me as I ride. And I will be the first to say that when I do find a song that matches my preferred cadence for that terrain, then I am energized, as it can certainly help me to drive my pedals, especially for a powerful climb to the summit.
But there is so much more to music than just the driving down-beat, which is what defines the beats per minute or bpm. To me, the perfect song for IDC classes can be used for a wide variety of terrain, at various cadences, and isn't limited to just one application. If I limited my music choices to only songs with a certain bpm, then I'd probably have to reduce my itunes IDC library to only 50 or 60% of what I have, especially my choices for climbing. Now that would be a bummer, because I have some great music!
As Robert so perfectly explained in his comment on the last post, a distinction must be made between the rhythm of the song and the bpm. He mentions that when dancing, most people will fall into the rhythm of the music. I agree. There is a difference between a musician's technical understanding of a "beat" and that of a dancer's emotional and instinctive perception of that beat. This is what I tend to follow the most when riding in a Spinning class.
When you listen deeper into the music, you find the rhythm of a song, and based on this rhythm, you can find a complementary cadence. It's the mood of the song that then guides you down a faster flat road, up a hill, or at the beginning of class for the warm-up. In this way, some songs can be used for a wide variety of terrain.
Let's take a few songs as examples.
The song Drippy, by Banco de Gaia is an all-time Spinning classic. Even after all these years, I still love it. I may not use it for a year, then I'll rediscover it like it's a brand new find!
It has a bpm of about 128 bpm, or 64 on the half beat (FYI, I'm not very techincal at my bpm determination - I just use a stopwatch for 30 seconds and count, so they may be off by a beat or two). 64 bpm/rpm is perfect for a climb, and when I use it as a climb, I probably fall right in line with the bpm in my cadence, and enjoy it while I'm there. However, I love to use this song on a flat road, in an endurance ride, or as my first song. Cadence would be 80-90-ish. You can only do that by listening deeper than the beat of the percussion and into the other instruments and let them guide you.
Another example by Banco de Gaia is the song Last Train to Lhasa, without a doubt one of my all-time favorites. I use it at every conference for pedal stroke drills (when I do the drill called the "Locomotive" with the sound of the train in the background). The beat is about 112 bpm, too fast even for a flat road, or 56 bpm on the half beat, which is too slow even for a climb. You'd have to erase this song from your repertoire if you only ever follow the bpm. But if you allow yourself to settle into the rhythm of this song, you'll soon find yourself on a long straight, flat road that is total "zen" for over 11 minutes of joy!
Another example is the song Sanctuary by Origene. Not only do I love the lyrics, but the beat and rhythm of this song get inside of me and helps turn my pedals. But at about 132 bpm, or 66 bpm on the half beat, one might think it could only be a climb. Yes, I've used it clibing, and it helps me up those hills because it does feel good to latch onto that beat. But when you separate yourself from the beat and fall into your preferred flat road cadence above 80 rpm, this becomes another introspective seated flat. (BTW, this was the song I sent to someone in the Netherlands who said no one would use it there, as it was "too slow" of a beat. IMO, that's sad, because of what you miss out on!)
How about Dance of the Witches Fire, by Spirit Zone? It's a very high energy song, but still, "only" 144 bpm, which makes for a 72 bpm hill. I always seem to find myself zipping down a fast flat road with this song, pedaling much faster than 72 rpm.
The fastest one I could find (in my brief search for this post) is Conga Fury by Juno Reactor. Great Race Day song. It's 164bpm, but I know I ride it in tempo rides or Race Day at a cadence faster than 82 rpm.
One more, a powerful hard climb if you chose to use it as such, because it's again 65-67 bpm (half-beat) is Zion by Fluke. But I usually use that for a seated flat tempo pace, or in a Race Day time trial.
I love how this type of riding allows students to determine their own preferred cadence, what is comfortable for them, but still within the guidelines of that terrain (e.g. 80-110 rpm for a flat, 60-80 rpm for a climb). It's about being intrinsically motivated, not extrinsically motivated.
I think this discussion has brought me to my own revelation about what I am attracted to in music. As I go through my music to find you examples, it could very well be that I don't have anything (that I can find) that has a bpm of 180-ish, which I could use on a flat at 90rpm, much less a songs with 200-220bpm for cadence drill of 100-110 rpm. Maybe, without knowing it, I never felt an attraction to a beat that fast. Or maybe, you guys can turn me on to some!
Love your comments, keep em coming!
NOTE: you can get some of the above mentioned songs as free downloads on eMusic by clicking on the icon on the left of my blog and signing up for a free trial. No obligation. If I were you, I'd get as many Banco de Gaia songs (or email me and I'll give you a list of the best IDC ones). And make sure to download all 3 versions of Sanctuary on the ep. My favorite is the Harry Lemon Mix, but I like 'em all... Unfortunately Spirit Zone isn't on eMusic, but my version comes from a compilation called Global Psychadelic Trance Vol 4 (sorry, it may be hard to find - try a search for Spirit Zone for their own albums). Zion is from the Matrix Reloaded soundtrack, and Swamp Thing is from the Bible of Dreams cd, both of which are not on eMusic (though they have other stuff by Fluke and Juno Reactor).
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
We're on the flats, checking out the political climate. Is it a Mission Impossible? Or is change possible? Remember in the show Mission Impossible - waaaaay back when, they always accomplished their missions, so I believe this mission IS possible with the right person! But as a candidate, get ready to travel non-stop, day-in, day-out, everywhere in this country!
A fast flat first down the path of good intentions, that for just about every politician, seems to turn into the path of least resistance. Several surges, with cadence increases to 100 -105 rpm.
Jumping over all the mudslinging, and slogging through the media onslaught and misrepresentation. Jump through Sheryl Crow, followed by some 30-second runs with resistance during Cracker (very appropriate lyrics to this song). Back to surges on a flat during The Alarm (which is in honor of our "rescue package" that the new president will have to deal with).
Very powerful words in this song. "What would you do with all your power?" Power is very intoxicating to some. I guess that's why they go into politics! We have to be grateful there are some out there willing to take on these challenges.
Begin with an easy hill, gradually loading on the Power! What will YOU do with all that power under your legs? Stay seated throughout this song as you load it on.
A few jumps on a hill. Time to stick to your guns, to your promises,
Sometimes the media is like one big Grapevine! What are you listening to? Where does it come from? Where's the truth, and how do we really know? C'mon, just the facts, ma'am! Dancing with the media and the misleading political ads, let's continue to jump, much slower this time (16-32 counts if using the beat, or about 20-30 second transitions)
This is one of the songs Obama uses at his rallies.
Strong and steady, sit most of this climb, and transition to a standing climb when he sings "Come on up for the rising" (he does it twice, at minute 1:10 and 3:45). After the first one, sit back down after 30-seconds or so and continue to climb seated; after the second one, stay standing until the end.
This is a song used by Sarah Palin at her rallies - you gotta hand it to her, she sure has a lot of gumption! A Great Hockey Mom!
It's important voters aren't "thunderstruck" by their candidates, and instead base their choice on the facts and on more than one issue, issues that will help our country in the long run.
Powerful climb, allow yourself to get "thunderstruck" for a moment as you go a bit over your threshold, to the point of breathless, pushing it out in a standing climb on the most energetic parts of the song, then sitting back down to catch your breath. Watch your intensity, it's easy to get overly caught up in this one!
This song speaks for itself. Riders can choose their own hill, but settling back into a manageable intensity. No matter your preference, think of the significance of the speech in the song, of the significance that an African-American is a candidate for president of the USA. Martin Luther King Jr is beeming! I only wish my mother could have lived long enough to experience this, she would have been so joyful! Whether he becomes president or not, just the fact that he came this far is indicative of the positive changes in our country.
Be grateful for how far we've come as a nation, how much more tolerance we have, how much more opportunity is available to everyone, than 40, or even 20-30 years ago. ...But we've still got a long way to go!
Back to a flat road after our climb, bring the heart rate down. The road to the Whitehouse is coming to an end. One president will move on, another will move in. We'll know who by the end of the day!
Cool down and stretch.