First Time Cycling In 30 Years

bikes

Out of the shed and into the living room! We keep our bikes 10 feet from our front door now. Yes, it makes the space feel a little cramped but the convenience of quickly hitting the road is too alluring.

This weekend my husband and I took our bikes out of the shed for the first time in 5 years. Other than 4 flat tires, lots of dirt and cobwebs, they were in pretty good shape. Makes sense since we only rode them twice.

Failed Attempt 5 Years Ago
We purchased the bikes in 2011. We were both much heavier and this was our solution to losing weight. Pretty typical of overweight folks who are sedentary and suddenly get the urge to “move more.” Instead of a treadmill (our Love Shack is too small) we opted for two 8-speed bikes.

Of course my excitement gave way once the rubber hit the road.

The last time I was on a bike was middle school. Peddling wasn’t as easy as I remembered. And my balance was gone. I kept thinking I’d fall and break something. I was gripped with the fear of falling and had zero confidence in myself.

So I came up with loads of excuses to get off the bike. Read More


Cycling Challenge Week 4: Big Wheel Keeps On Turning

weight loss cycling, spinning class for beginners

Yes, the class kicked my butt — literally and figuratively!

I don’t know if I was preparing for Thanksgiving dinner, but I went all out during my spinning class today. For my first few classes, I went at my pace as I knew I couldn’t keep up with everyone else. Well today I wanted to do everything the instructor threw at me.

Resistance Is Everything
Cycling is pretty easy to understand. Increase your resistance, the tougher it is to peddle, making you work harder. Easy peasy.

My first week, I bounced between resistance levels 1 and 2 (the lowest). Since then, I’ve increased my resistance each week to challenge myself.

Last week 6 was my top-level of resistance. Today I wanted to really push myself, so I upped my max resistance to 8.  Clearly I didn’t want to just sweat. Nope, I wanted to wring every ounce of water out of my body.

Climbing Hills and Screaming Calves
If there is one thing in my spin class I absolutely hate, it’s the hill climbs. While I love getting my butt off that saddle, this is without a doubt the toughest part of the class for me. My hamstrings and calves scream at me. And sure enough, when I hit the half way point of the climb, I always sit down.

Not today!

I don’t know what happened, but for seven solid minutes, at level 8 resistance, I tackled that blasted hill.  My legs turned to jello while I huffed and puffed.  But I never sat down for a rest. I did each position the instructor called out with a fierce determination.

When it came time to sit back in the saddle I was drenched in sweat, exhausted and wanted to crawl up into a ball…just in time for sprints! Oh joy.

Normally I love sprints, but today it was much harder than usual. I thought I pushed myself too hard on the hill climb. I still hit 90 RPM. It wasn’t until the end of the sprint before I realized I increased my resistance to level 9 instead of dropping down to 6.

D’oh!

I was so excited when the instructor yelled, “Time for cool down!”

At the end of the workout, my bike’s monitor indicated I burned more than 800 calories.

I should be excited, but I just want a nap.


Spinning Class, Take 2 — Thank God For Gel Seats & Biker Shorts

cycling, gel seat covers, sore butt from spinning class

One of the best fitness investments…ever! I can’t do my spinning class without this butt-saving gel seat cover.

Today I attended my second spinning class armed with a gel seat cover and padded bike shorts. Learning my lesson from my first class, I knew there was no way I could handle 55 minutes on that seat (a.k.a. saddle) again.

Lots of folks told me that I’d get use to the seat pain after a few classes. How? By killing my last butt nerve!?!

Sorry, I don’t want to get use to the pain. And I sure don’t want the 2 days of extreme soreness that follows.

The seat cost $20 at my local sporting good’s store. It fits the saddle perfectly. The cover kept its shape and comfort during the class.

My biker shorts cost a lot, about $50. I only picked up one pair, but I can already see I need another. They’re designed so you don’t wear underwear with the shorts. So washing regularly is important.

The shorts and seat made a world of difference today. Unlike last week’s class, I didn’t have to get off the bike because I was hurting. The big bonus: No after-class sore tush.

Without a doubt it’s the best investment I’ve ever made!

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Spinning Class Is A Slice Of Fried Gold!

weight loss cycling, spinning class for beginners

Yes, the class kicked my butt — literally and figuratively!

I arrived at my first spinning class a few minutes early to talk to the instructor (Joyce) and make sure I set my bike up correctly.  She was amazing. She did a great job walking me through the set up, showing me where to position my seat and handles so I’d get the best workout.

Joyce assured me I didn’t need to keep up with the pace of the class. In fact, she told me she’d call out different instructions for me. She didn’t want me killing myself in my first spinning class.

As folks started walking into the classroom, they went out of their way to make me feel welcome. All encouraged me, told me how much they love the class and said I’d do just fine. Without a doubt, the nicest people I’ve ever met in a class.

I started out strong with the warm up, going faster as the second song started. Sweat quickly poured down my face, back and arms.

About 10 minutes it was time to increase resistance and start jogging.  Wow, I don’t ever remember it being this hard. It felt like I was riding in quicksand.

Thankfully, Joyce yelled out for me to drop my resistance. D’oh, I’d set my resistance to 6 (out of 10) during the jog. I cut it in half to 3 and the jogging got much easier.

As much as I tried, I couldn’t do the full jog. So I sat back down and kept a steady pace. Then it was time to turn the resistance dials all the way down to the lowest setting. Woohoo!

I got really excited, and way too soon. It was time to go all out and race. I pedaled as fast as I could for 4 minutes.

My only thought: Glad I didn’t eat before class.

During the last 30 minutes every new song meant a new exercise – sitting, jogging or hanging over the handles.  The switching-up made the class interesting and more fun.

I did stop a few times and even got off the bike to walk around a bit. Not because it was difficult.  I needed to stop because of that damn seat!

weight loss and spinning class, spinning class sore saddle

Who ever designed this thing is an idiot! But a few more classes and I’ll get use to it.

My Spin Class Seat Is the Devil!
I’m not prone to violence. But about 3 minutes into the 60-minute class, I so desperately wanted to punch the guy who designed that seat. In the face. With a 2 x 4.

Did someone actually think causing pain to inner thighs and the butt – pain that lasts well after class ends, by the way – was a great idea?

Also, something about it disrupted my rhythm. I had to constantly readjust while sitting down. For about 4 minutes, I actually zoned out the pain and got into the music, and got a brief glimpse of the joy to come in future classes.

My instructor and classmates all told me the same thing: “It takes a couple of classes for the pain to go away.”

Crap!

Preparing For Friday’s Class
Sigh…I loved the class. Thanks to the seat, I don’t feel as if I gave it my all.  Which is scary considering how tired my legs feel right now.

When class ended, two of my classmates gave me some advice – padded pants! Now how’s that for a slice of fried gold?

Tomorrow, I’m on the hunt for padded bicycle shorts.

Related Video

Never been to a spinning class?  This gives you a great idea of what to expect.

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Peddling The Fat Off — My Next Fitness Challenge

weight loss cycling

Headed to my first spin class today. I expect it to kick my butt and turn my legs into jelly.

I’m a little late in picking my next 30-day fitness challenge. I’ve racked my brains trying to pick a good lower body workout. Walking around my gym, I stumbled upon the new challenge – cycling.

For the next month, I’m hitting the road…actually my local spinning class. I plan on attending a 60-minute cycling class twice a week.

Today is my first cycling class.  My goal isn’t to keep up with the class — I won’t. I just want to finish the class, as I’m expecting it to completely kick me in the butt.

Why Cycling?
I have a few reasons:

1. While I’ve lost weight everywhere, my legs are the slowest to give up the fat. I know you can’t target where the fat comes off, but I can give my calf, hamstring and glutes a great workout without a lot of stress on my joints.

2. I needed a new challenge. I love lifting weights, yoga in the mornings and interval training for the 5K, but that can get old. Sometimes you need to add in a new exercise to shake things up.

3. The last time I rode a bike ride around my neighborhood was 30 years ago. That’s too long. In 2010 my husband and I purchased bikes.  I rode it for 2 minutes. I felt unsteady and uncomfortable. I weighed over 300 lbs. and had no confidence in myself. It was easy to think, “I’m too fat to ride a bike.” So into the shed it went.

That bike’s coming out of the shed.  I’m going to relearn how to ride and take my bike for a spin in my neighborhood before year’s end. The spinning class is a way for me to regain my confidence.

Hey, How Come You’re Not Cycling Everyday?
Yes, the 30-day fitness challenge is a daily challenge. Since I’m interval training to run a 5K, I don’t want to tire out my legs. I’m taking the spinning classes on my days off from training. Trust me. Two spinning classes a week is a challenge.

I do plan to ride a real bike before the end of the year. But that is a separate challenge all on its own.

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