Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Thanksgiving class - The Gratitude Ride

I've decided to dedicate my Turkey Burner class to Gratitude.  It's a 90-minute ride tomorrow morning.  I'm teaching a 90-minute "Afterburner" class on Friday at another club and will do the same ride.

I am mentoring a new instructor, Samantha, who got certified with me a month ago.  She has already team taught two classes with me so far, and she will be serving up the "appetizer" and "apéritif" for tomorrow's ride.  I've asked her to do some surges and accelerations on the flats (see my previous profile for more explanation), for 20+ minutes after the warm-up and introduction.

When everyone arrives, I will hand them a post-it note and a pencil.  Then when class starts, I will ask them to write down 3 things that they are grateful for in their lives, and on the back of the paper, 3 things that are current challenges in their lives. They don't have to share it with anyone; it's just for them. Fold it up and put it in their pocket, or stick it on their handlebar as motivation, or whatever they want to do with it. It's more ceremonial than anything else.

Some of the song choices have something to do with the theme; some don't, and are chosen for the terrain and rhythm.

Here are the first 6 songs that Samantha will do:

1. Neil Diamond, Coming To America 4:19
Explain the format.  Samantha will serve the appetizer and apéritif for the first 30 minutes, mostly on the flats, revving up their legs, getting into some jumps, with one song of runs with resistance.  Jennifer will then come in and serve the "meat and potatoes", which will be some challenging climbs, followed by the "dessert", an easy flat to the finish.

We'll ask them to write down their challenges and the things for which they are grateful during this song.

2. Andy vs Dreamgate, Now We Are Free (Andy & the Lamboy Club Mix) 7:47
Warm-up continues.  One of the things we are grateful in our country is our freedom.  It's why many of the people came to America, as the first song described.

Start doing some accelerations, from 80-110 rpm, taking about 30-seconds, holding 110 for 30-seconds, then back down to 80 rpm.  Repeat.

3. Mike Oldfield, The Millenium Bell 7:22
A happy song.  1-minute surges.  Alternate 1-minute seated with standing flat surges, each with a 30-45 second recovery.

4. The Beloved, Ease the Pressure 4:21
4-count Jumps. Enjoy the feeling of the work on your legs. Enjoy the sensation of challenge. 

5. Djuma Soundsystem, Les Djinns (Trentmoller Mix) 6:17
Run with resistance for 8 counts, every 32 counts or so.  This song has a great beat.  After the last song of jumps, this might get a little high intensity, so caution everyone to reserve some energy for the upcoming climbs, sitting a few out if needed.

6. Joe Cocker, Feeling Alright 4:12
Feeling grateful for feeling alright! Thankful for life.  This will be an easy to moderate seated flat, preparing for the hills.

Then I will come in and begin the main course...

7. The Lounge, Free Your Mind 6:04
I've used this song a lot, anytime I want people to think about the doubts, fears and excuses that are holding them back.  It's just such an amazing song! (Available on itunes on Bonzai Worx). "You have to let it all go, fear, doubt and disbelief!" Let's be grateful for setting ourselves free of these inhibitions and obstacles.  This fast flat road will bring us to our hill, where we will encounter these obstacles that we'll overcome.

8. Dead Can Dance, Spider's Stratagem 6:41
We'll climb for 5 minutes of this song.  Resistance loading every minute.  Thinking of our first challenge during the first 3.5 minutes, and then as we near the top, think of the first thing we wrote down that we are grateful for, switching the mindset to one of gratitude. Knowing that we are grateful for the fact that we will overcome this challenge as well.

The final minute and a half of this song is a little recovery on flat roads before the next challenge.

9. The Cranberries, Zombie 5:09
How can you have a Thanksgiving meal without cranberries? 

This song however represents one of the challenges our country has faced the past 5 years. She talks about the horrors of war.  My thought on this hill is to be grateful for the end of war. By expressing gratitude for something that hasn't yet happened, we can help bring it to reality! But I am also personally grateful for a new president who will make ending this war a priority! Let's all be grateful for the positive things that are facing our country.

5 minutes of climbing. Some seated, some standing, the final 1.5 minutes will be out of the saddle.

10. Melissa Etheridge, I Run for Life 4:22
What a beautiful song about gratitude for a vibrant life! This song can't help but bring tears to your eyes. Let's follow Melissa's lead and celebrate all those woman who have overcome breast cancer (and men and women who have overcome other cancers and diseases), because as she says in the song, "they cut into my skin and they cut into my body but they will ever get a piece of my soul!"

Think about anyone you know who is faced with this challenge right now, a challenge to their health, and dedicate this next climb to them.  In the process, be grateful for your own health and fitness!  

2 minutes flat recovery for the first part of the song, then begin the next climb.

11. Delerium feat. Leigh Nash, Innocente (Deep Dish Gladiator Mix) 11:54
We're continuing the climb from the last song. We've got 12 minutes to commit to climbing, with one little rest in the middle.

This one I want you to think first of the next challenge that you wrote down. Now you can see how we can use this climb as a metaphor to overcome it. Because no matter what, we'll make it to the top of the hill. We'll do 4 minutes of jumps on a hill. After that 4 minutes, devote a minute to the next thing on your gratitude list, adding a little more emphasis to your climb, increasing your effort (a little above 85%MHR).

Then take a 2 minute break, getting ready for the next onslaught... (by this time, we are 7 minutes into the song).

The final 5 minutes of the song is the next hill.  The first focus is the third challenge you wrote down on your slip of paper. Come up with more tactics for overcoming it. Devote 3 or 4 minutes to that, then focus on the third thing you wrote down that you are grateful for. Let this gratitude overcome you as you continue to jump on this hill. Each time you rise out of the saddle is a wave of gratitude.

12. Moulin Rouge (Soundtrack from the movie Moulin Rouge, cd 2) 6:57
Our final climb.  The first 1:30 of the song is easy flat, a little recovery.  Then the song starts to get powerful.  We start on a seated climb, adding to our gratitude list. I love this song because it is such a powerful crescendo, a fitting finish to our challenges, the music take you to the top with such energy, helping you out when you thought you were fatigued; you now know that nothing can stop you!

13. Iggy Pop, Lust for Life 5:13
OK, I know he has a lust for some not so good things in his life (liquor and drugs) but I like the energy of this song, and I am grateful for my own Lust for Life! So think of what things in your life that make you so happy to be alive; your relationships, your family; your work; your energy; your fitness and health. Me? I am grateful for Spinning! I am grateful for living in such a beautiful place like Vail, where people come to take their Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays - I live here full time! Thanks for coming to my backyard (I will have visitors to my class who are on vacation here)! I am grateful for Samantha for her zest to learn and to help me with this class!

We're off the hills now, feel the open road, how good it feels to spin your legs at will.

14. Shaman, Move Any Mountain 3:29
Great words to this song. Shows how grateful we are for our choices in lfe. We can CHOOSe to have a good attitude, we can CHOOSE to move mountains and not be a passive bystander to life. 

Continue on a flat, bringing our heart rates down.

15. Huff and Herb, Feeling Good (Epic Mix) 6:57
I love this song, with jazz great Nina Simone's voice.  Great lyrics. Feeling grateful for feeling good! (Like the earlier song by Joe Cocker)

Continue on this fast flat. Working on a high cadence.

15. Carlene Davis, Thank You Mr. DJ 5:05
Cool Down. Nice Lyrics.  Nows the time to add a few more items to our gratitude list. The more we are grateful for, the more we attract those things into our lives.

16. Ray Charles, America the Beautiful
Don't we live in such a beautiful place?

Thank you for coming! Thank you for giving me this opportunity! Thank you for being you!

And I also want to thank all of you who read my blog and for sharing it with others. Please leave me a comment and tell me about your thanksgiving rides!


Shannon said...

Awesome! Have a great Thanksgiving Jennifer. I'm Thankful for our friendship. :)

Jennifer Sage said...

Me too Shannon! Thank you so much and enjoy your day with your family!
happy Thanksgiving!

Rebecca Eitelberg said...

Jen: I am fairly new to spin, but it has become a new found love for me. I really have to say that I am impressed with the thought and planning that goes into your workouts. Someday I hope to spin with an instructor like you.

I have even been thinking of getting my certification, although I am much to shy to teach. You are such an inspiration. Thank you for this blog. I am learning soooo much.

Have a great day.

Jennifer Sage said...

Thank you Rebecca. Something tells me that within a year, you'll be signing up for that certification if you already call it a newfound love. Just keep learning and growing and exploring. I'm sure you'll be awesome! If you like it now, wait until you start teaching, because it gives you a whole other reason to be grateful - helping others get fit and to reach their goals!

Happy turkey day!

pmoo said...

Thanks Jen. For sharing with us your vast knowledge & experience.

From afar & without even knowing it, your have inspired me to follow a dream, that has long been but a distant thought.

I hope one day to meet, ride & thank you personally.
Kindest regards & Merry Thanksgiving

Jennifer Sage said...

Thanks pmoo! Maybe someday you'll share with me what that dream is! Thank you so much for your kind words. Have a blessed day!