Saturday, November 26, 2011

Game Changers

Photo Courtesy Clarita

I received news that I officially passed my personal fitness trainer certification exam (thank you, thank you,) and am now looking forward to adding an AFAA personal trainer certification to my arsenal in the near future. I've had several inquiries from people at the gym who have been asking when I become official because they need help with one thing or another and are interested in working with me.

One of the more amusing things (to me anyway) during my PFT classes was when the instructor's daughter came in her place one Saturday to teach the class and she was discussing interaction with clients. She had a dialogue going along the lines of, "Now, it can be difficult sometimes when you're running with your client because you have to keep your own ego in check and slow down for them or they'll get frustrated...."

Ummm, no. With my blazing 14-minute middle-aged broad shuffle/jog miles, I don't think slowing down for a client is going to be an issue for me. In fact, I think I'm going to change up my run schedule again (since it still sucks, that won't be a big problem) and just do the suggested 4-week programs listed in my text book so I have a better insight into what other beginning runners will be going through under my watch and maybe I'll see some improvement in my running. I'll probably just see improvement in my walking but one can always dream.

Also, next Sunday, December 4th, I'll be attending an AFAA indoor cycling workshop (which is called that because "Spin" is trademarked by Johnny G Indoor Spin and they beat you and your bank account to a pulp with those 45-pound flywheels if you use the word "spin" to make money and they don't get a cut.) This ensures that my gym will have two subs "in-house" for last minute no-shows. My manager dusted off her cycling cert a few weeks back to help out but she often takes off for New Hampshire Thursday nights which leaves two classes vulnerable on Friday at Noon and Sunday morning if the ailing instructors can't get in touch with their "usual" subs.

I don't expect that I'll actually teach more than 1-2 classes per year but the workshop's continuing education units count towards re-certification for the personal trainer papers so it's worth the cost plus, I love spin and mixing fitness with my background in music is something I've been doing for several years on my own anyway so I thought it was high time to get a little formal training.

In other news, while hubby and I were visiting his sister's home for Thanksgiving (I won't go into what we ate. A couple of my friends wait for the list every year and one accurately described the literal feast as a food orgy,) my sister-in-law's husband went down to the basement and came back upstairs with a bike trainer which he gave to me. He had bought a Specialized several years back, rode it a few times but eventually lost interest and sold the bike. I had mentioned that I would be interested in purchasing the Minoura Mag 850 from him and he said he would just give it to me.

You may remember when I swapped out my Hutchinson tires for the Bontrager's for the Hotter 'n Hell 100 because one tire had one too many gashes. Well, knowing that these tire friction trainers beat up tires rather handily, I put the less-beat-up of the Hutchinson's on the back wheel to save the back Bonti from excessive wear this winter. The front wheel isn't going anywhere so I just let it be.

The trainer and bike set up easily in the living room and isn't anywhere near as noisy as I had feared. While it might not be as comfortable as the couch for watching TV, at least I can burn calories while wasting time in front of the tube. After all, has anyone ever heard of a, "bike potato?"

So for me, Thursday truly was a day to give Thanks, not only for what I received, but also for the knowledge I now have that can help others.

Plus, I've got all of my Christmas shopping done and didn't even have to risk getting pepper-sprayed in a Wal-Mart on Black Friday. How cool is that?


  1. Congratulations!! Had no doubt but it is nice to hear confirmation of success.

    I am reading some cycling exercises books. As soon as I learn enough to ask an intelligent question--I know a personal trainer!

  2. @Roy and Christine - Sure, feel free to ask me any questions. You know if I don't have the answer, I'll find someone more qualified to get an answer for you. :)

  3. Hope you were serious. I don't have a smart question, but I would appreciate an opinion.

    As I mentioned, I am studying some exercise books. They recommended light weights and high reps (20 reps X 3 sets ). Concurrently I am working out on a CompuTrainer twice a week.

    Now I followed the high rep/low weight for about a month. My Watts output on the CompuTrainer has been a low 120 average.

    So, for about a week now I have discarded the advise of the books and started increasing the weights on all of the exercises. My "logic" is that first I need some muscle before I can settle into the exercise book routines. I have convinced myself that they are talking to young strong bikers so they just need to maintain tone during the off season.

    Sorry this is so long. Now is my logic on course--build muscle first--or follow the book because eventually my Watts will increase anyway? Thanks.

  4. @Roy - What books are you following? It's quite possible they're talking to the young 'uns about their training routine and that definitely differs from something we'd be doing as Masters, particularly when it comes to recovery times. We get more time off than those under 50 (nah-na-nah).

    Without knowing your specifics, I'll just tell you that what I generally do at this time of year is to work on any muscle imbalances (I always get them in hamstrings, calves, biceps and chest) and I always do core work with stretching. Once those are set, I work on strength (3 sets, 6-12 reps) and then after about 6 - 8 weeks of that, I move on to endurance (more like what your book is saying but usually no more than 15 reps) so that it flows logically to my Spring base miles (which always starts off with low-gear, high cadence rides at about 70% of my HR reserve).

    So the short answer for me is: Lift for strength, then strength to endurance, then endurance. Similar to what you want to do but I work on imbalances first.

    Feel free to email me with specifics if you want.

  5. Thanks. Correct. The book is for "racers". I am using the exercise sequence from The Cyclist's Training Bible by Joe Friel. Since I am hard headed, I added a few exercises to his routine. So the exercises I am doing on Mon/Wed are:
    Leg Press
    Lat pull down
    Leg extension
    Chest press
    Seated row
    hamstring curl
    Sit ups with weights and twist
    Outer thigh (added)
    Inner thigh (added)
    calf raises (added-it could be substituted for hamstring curl)

    Friel has said later in the training to cut back on some of the exercises.

    Also, when the weather permits, we ride with a group on Mon/Wed. Miles are from 12-14. (I worked out this morning and we rode 14 miles this afternoon).

    On Tues/Thur I work out for an hour session on the CompuTrainer. The bike shop owner varies the workout routine each week.

    Friday/Sun rest.

    Saturdays when I can call a ride, we ride from 25-40 miles. But with the addition of our mountain bikes, we may start riding them on Saturdays--at least during the winter.

    Thanks for your interest. What I would like to do is build strength until I can ave at least 150 Watts (high goal for me), then work on the endurance (high reps).

  6. Well, I don't think we're in any position to judge Mr. Friel's recommendations as they pertain to racing cyclists, but I would say I don't think weights with abs are not necessary and that it could even put too much pressure on your lower back. I would do crunches on the stability ball and then do back extensions (not back hyperextensions!) for abs and to work the lower back.
    In his defense, the calf raises cannot be "substituted" for hamstring curls. If you work your quads, with the seated press and leg extensions, you need to work your hamstrings as they are opposing muscle groups.
    What I'm most concerned with is that I see no flexibility exercises whatsoever and that is a primary concern for everyone but especially those over 50.

  7. Thanks again. I will drop the sit ups with wts. The stability ball and I have never gotten along, but I can do the bicycle. I also like the modified push up type of ab exercise. The gym that I go to doesn't have a captain's chair or I haven't found it.

    There is probably a major definition difference in "flexibility" exercises. I stretch before, after, and throughout the day and night. BUT, I have never been "flexible". For example, the last time I could bend over and touch my toes was 40-45 years ago. Bit I stretch frequently.

    I will continue my strengthing exercises. Yesterday Justin put me on a CompuTrainer hill climb. From go it was 7% and went up to 9%. No flats, downs, just up and up. I had a 125 Watt average. 25 short of goal but it was still good for me. No worries. I have until March before our biking season starts. I have already registered for a tour and a race in March.

    Thanks much.

  8. Hi. I know it is a busy time of the year, but if you get the time, I would like your opinion of this article:

    Just in case it doesn't open, it advises never, never, stretch. He makes a good case but goes against everything I have been taught since running the mile in high school. ??? Everybody has an opinion?

  9. Oh, I've had my moments over the past couple of weeks - hence, the lack of posts - but I had to look this up for you.

    One of the main points driven home during my training was, "Know the background of the so-called experts writing all of those articles you find all over the internet." I looked up Bob Fugett and the best I can come up with is that he used to write articles for a cycling group... sound familiar?

    Having said that, let's dissect what he's saying. The idea behind stretching is to increase blood flow to muscles and lubricate joints which eliminates waste and decreases muscle soreness. Current research says that the best time to stretch is immediately after a workout when the muscles are fatigued, holding a stretch for 20 - 30 seconds and prior to a work out, only do light stretching if at all. That means that it's entirely possible to over-stretch a muscle or tear a ligament, especially if you approach it in "attacking, over-achiever" mode which can often happen after a high-intensity workout. If you reach a point in a stretch where the muscle is in full extension and feels relaxed, there is no need to pull past that.

    From my own experience - and from the advice given to me by those who work as specialists in deep tissue massage therapy, as physical therapists, and as Kinesis Myofascial Integration (KMI) specialists - don't give up stretching. The people who refuse to stretch are the ones in their offices, paying $50 - $120 per session.

    You seem to be hitting the books pretty hard! Let me recommend one here. I started reading this before I started my PFT training and as I am close to finishing it now, I can say that I am comfortable with everything in there as a common-sense approach to the answers we're looking for. It reads dry but it reads complete.

    It's "Faster, Better, Stronger"by Dr. Massimo Testa and one of my all-time favorite cyclists, Dr. Eric Heiden. You can reach it through that link at Amazon and find a used copy for about $10.00 including shipping.

    Happy Holidays!

  10. "As seen on TV". "As stated on the internet".
    Thanks for taking the time to answer. We have been busy also. Just ended the bicycle club Christmas party. Had it at our house so we have been cleaning and preparing most of this week. Had a good time and lots of people. One more club event this year--Monday evening we are Christmas lights booth greeters for people touring the Christmas lights. Then off to Illinois for Christmas with Christine's family.

    You were correct--I have Faster Stronger Better on the way for less than $10, Also found another book by the same authors--Ten Secrets--and have it on its way. Will arrive while we are gone so it will be next year's reading.

    Wishing you and your husband a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Roy.