The Workout: Open Minds, Tired Shoulders, Weights On A Bike?!
Sometimes you need a little push to try something new.
Like many people, I find myself getting stuck in my ways as I get older. Although I know I should try new things, I am always looking for excuses not to do so. Often, I need more than a slight push in the right direction.
For example, I teach at Spynergy, a local indoor cycling studio which recently began offering a cycling and weight-lifting combo class. While some greeted the new class with enthusiasm, I was scornful. I knew that I needed to work on increasing my upper body strength, but weight lifting just wasn't appealing. What's more, as an outdoor cyclist, I felt lifting weights while pedaling was a big no-no. "It's not appropriate," I scoffed. "Would you ever do bicep curls while riding outside? I don't think so."
Then, I found myself being called upon to teach the class for an instructor who needed a sub and was in a jam. Before I agreed to help her out, I tried the class as a participant. I sat on the bike, skeptical, and began following the instructor's cues. We started off normally enough, but then sat upright, still pedaling, and began doing some shoulder work with light weights. After a minute, my shoulders were tired. Then I started to feel them burning. I looked around at the rest of the class. Was anyone else dying? I saw a few people take breaks; at least I wan't alone. Just as tears were starting to form in the corner of my eyes, our shoulder segment was over and I gladly put my weights down. The respite was brief. We soon did another weight-lifting segment, this time focusing on biceps and triceps. We continued on, alternating periods of just cycling interspersed with segments of light weightlifting while pedaling. By the end, I was sweating. I was tired. I was concerned my arm might be too fatigued to lift my water bottle. It was, I conceded, a great workout and just what I needed to tone my weak upper body.
True, lifting weights while pedaling is something you would never do on a road bike. However, Spynergy co-owner Jennifer Solberg notes, "Spinning is different from riding outside. We get a lot of outdoor riders who come because they want to stay in shape over the winter, and they love it because it's an efficient workout, done in an hour."
Efficient it is, especially my new favorite -- the cycling and strength combo class. Granted, I didn't even want to try it at first but now I'm a convert. Not only did I gladly agree to sub the class anytime, I plan to add it to my regular schedule. I know not every new activity will work out so well, but sometimes what we are least excited to try is, in fact, what we need the most.
Editor's note: Sue Gelber is a spinning instructor at Spynergy and she also contributes to the studio's blog.