Do your cycle participants groan when they hear sprints? It’s time to liven up sprints by adding an imagination component. I usually cue cycle participants to put on their imagination hats and get ready for the main event.
Wikipedia states that imagery is the “usage of details and descriptions in order to create a sensory experience”. As group fitness leaders we are able to transport our cycle participants to new and exciting places, particularly when they need to sprint. In a cycle class, imagery can:
· Set the mood (excitement, enthusiasm, competition, to name a few)
· Define a focus and purpose to the drill
· Allow for mental distraction to get through a difficult drill
Over the many years I’ve been teaching, I’ve come up with various images associated with sprinting that help cycle participants push past their limits. Typically, each sprint is for one minute with one to two minutes active recovery between each sprint. Here are some of my favourites.
1. Visualize yourself racing a childhood friend (add situational cues of your childhood bike)
2. Visualize yourself racing a family member (we always have one family member we are slightly competitive with)
3. Visualize yourself in the Rocky Mountains and you are being chased by a grizzly bear!
1. Visualize yourself racing your greatest competition (particularly when working with a sports team, have athletes picture their competition)
2. Visualize yourself racing for the last spot on the Canadian National Cycling Team (the coach is on the sidelines timing your sprint and you need to impress him/her)
3. Visualize yourself racing in first place with a competitor on your back wheel (one minute to the finish line!)
1. Visualize yourself racing to a store full of the newest and greatest video systems (e.g., Xbox Kinect) or video games (e.g., the newest Halo) and you’re after the last copy
2. Visualize yourself as a bride-to-be and you are racing into the wedding dress discount sale that happens only once per year (if you’ve never seen the racing heart rates of brides-to-be, check out this video)
3. It is December 26 and you’ve been waiting since 4 am to get inside your favourite electronic shop to get your overlooked Christmas gift, that big screen TV. Visualize yourself rushing the front door and heading straight for the TV section to find your prized gift.
As it being Halloween today, I would be remised not to mention a Halloween themed sprint.
1. Visualize yourself trying to exit a haunted house but can’t find the door. Frankenstein appears as you race out of the house, down the stairs and out into the dark of night (okay, so maybe I’ll never be a thriller book author!)
2. Visualize yourself as the lead reindeer on Santa’s sleigh and you must hurry to deliver presents for Christmas
3. Visualize yourself as one of Santa’s elves who is responsible to get all of the presents onto Santa’s sleigh on December 24
I’ve provided some examples that will engage your cycle participants to sprint their hardest to reach their goal. Make up your own that best suits your class. When I listed the benefits of imagery, I neglected to say that it also makes the sprints FUN! Always finding ways to engage, encourage and provide a place for play is our goal. Now go out and get your class sprinting!
I’d like to think of myself as an explorer, a fitness centre explorer. Any chance I get to go into a new facility I am giddy and excited like a child on Christmas morning. I like to explore gyms from large municipal facilities to hotel fitness rooms. The rush of seeing shiny equipment and learning about innovative programs is fun for me. I always want to know what physical activity opportunities are out there from both a business and personal curiosity perspective.
About six months ago, I was driving by a new fitness centre and decided to go in to learn about what they had to offer. I always enter as a “lay” person and inquire about membership, ask for a tour and inquire about programs. I ask about spin/indoor cycling classes. In this one particular facility I inquired and the customer service representative was happy to tell me about their indoor cycling classes. She proceeded to tell me that a class can “burn up to 1400 calories” in 60 minutes. I tried not to let my face warp into an inquisitors’ expression, as I asked myself, what is the real number of calories one burns in an indoor cycling class?
Well, one of my favourite resources was published in the journal Medicine and Science Sport and Exercise in 2000. Barbara Ainsworth has done extensive research on energy expenditure and physical activity and published the Compendium of Physical Activity. It outlines the metabolic equivalent (MET) for a lengthy list of activities. And we can use her work to help determine the answer...or at least a range of answers.
First and foremost, we’ll assume your average cycle participant is 150 lbs (68 kg). Based on Ainsworth’s Compendium, your average cycle participant uses the following METs and estimated calorie expenditure per hour based on different drills or power outputs:
Based on the calculations, an average indoor cycling participant doesn’t come near to what was quoted by the customer service representative, unless your cycle participants on average are 440 lbs (200 kg), and they are riding at a moderate effort. Are you surprised by the result? It turns out that body weight factors into the way energy expenditure is calculated and the results end up being highly personalized.
As certified fitness leaders, it is our responsibility to provide our participants with correct information. Take the time to let your participants know their efforts are great but may not be an absorptive amount of calories that sometimes can be presented when pitching a program or new type of fitness class. Keep it realistic and maybe not bother quoting calorie expenditure. As we all know, there are many other benefits to riding that just burning calories!
Workman's Cycle Drills & Skills
Enjoy some of my favorite cycle workout drills either in a cycle class or on your own bike at home!