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There are no words.

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There is still time to donate and make a contribution to rare cancer research. If you want to you can do so HERE. 

HUGE thank you to all of you who donated time, energy, and dollars to make this year’s Cycle for Survival the BEST year yet! The world is a better place thanks to YOU!

Looking forward to next year!

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super bowl 2013 rotator

This year I am SUPER excited for the Superbowl, my home team, the San Francisco 49ers, are playing (and going to WIN!). Not only that, but I love a good football party. Sharing time with people you enjoy, delicious food, and unforgettable commercials – its always a good time.

Unfortunately, along with the fun of the party comes lots of calories and sitting (not really a winning combination).  According to an article in the USA Today, Super Bowl parties are second to Thanksgiving when it comes to the number of calories consumed.  If we are not careful, we could eat our daily intake of calories, doubled, during one super bowl game.

DO NOT FEAR!!!!

I have created a healthy, happy superbowl guide to help you. Below are my choice football party recipes and a workout to get you game day ready. You might be surprised how delicious choosing a healthier celebration feels and you’ll feel so good you’ll have ample energy for the after parties.  These resources you can prepare a game day plan that wins all around. Have fun, be safe, and GO NINERS!

Caroline’s Healthy, Happy Superbowl Guide.

SuperBowl Recipes. Plan ahead and cook up a few nutritious recipes so that you have something healthy to serve at your party. Here are a few of my favorites:

kale_3

Caroline’s Crispy Kale Chips

Ditch the Doritos and put out a bowl of these (healthy) bad boys instead. To make them, simply wash kale, dress with olive oil and a bit of sea salt, and roast in the oven until crunchy and crispy.

Prep time:  10 mins

Cook time:  20 mins

Total time:  30 mins

Ingredients

1 large bunch of kale (I used the curly kind)

1 tablespoon olive oil

sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Wash kale, remove the inner rib or stem, and tear into chip-size pieces. Make the pieces a little larger than you want the chips because they will shrink.
  • The kale must be thoroughly dried. I ran it through a salad spinner, laid it out on paper towels for 5 minutes, and then ran it through the spinner once more.
  • Put the kale pieces in a gallon plastic baggie and add the olive oil. “Massage” the kale to ensure that each piece has a coating of oil.
  • Arrange the kale in a single layer on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or you can place them right on the sheet). You may need a to use more than one sheet or bake in batches.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt. Use a bit less than you think you need because the kale shrinks and the salt intensifies.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, until the kale is crisp and slightly browned.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

If the chips last more than 5 minutes (mine never do) you can store them for 2 days in an airtight container or bag. Make sure they are cooled thoroughly before storing.

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Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Rosemary  ( adapted from FeedMePhoebe)
Makes 2-4 servings

Ingredients
1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons loosely packed fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Toss the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl with the olive oil, rosemary, salt, and paprika until well incorporated.

3. Arrange the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet in an even layer. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, redistributing once during the cooking process, until browned and crispy. Allow to cool slightly – they will get even crisper and firmer as they come to room temperature.

Serve the fries alongside ketchup, lemon aioli, and perhaps a turkey burger, if you’re feeling frisky.

Eat-Clean-Vegetarian-Chili

Root Vegetable and Black Bean Chili (Gluten/Dairy Free from FeedMePhoebe)
Makes 10 servings

This chili is the perfect earthy blend of sweet and spicy. If you want to get even more rich flavor out of the vegetables, roast them until they are nice and caramelized and then add them to the stew. You’ll cut down on your stove-top cook time, and the extra step is worth it. If you can’t find chile negro any mild dried chili will work here.

Ingredients
2 ounces dried chile negro
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch cilantro
Olive oil
2 large onions, diced
4 large carrots, peeled and diced
Sea salt
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
3 28-ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
4 small parsnips, peeled and diced
4 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1. Place the chiles in a bowl and submerge in boiling hot water. Soak for at least 20 minutes, up to an hour. Remove the chiles from the water, reserving the liquids. Rinse off the seeds and skin and discard along with the stems. Place the cleaned chiles in a small food processor along with 1/2 cup of roughly chopped cilantro stems, the garlic, and 1/2 cup of soaking liquids. Puree until you get a fine paste, adding more liquid as necessary.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large lidded Dutch oven over a medium-high flame. Saute the onion and carrots until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. You want the spices to get nice and toasted. Carefully pour in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

3. Add the sweet potatoes, parsnips, black beans, black chile paste, and remaining soaking liquid. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer, adding one or two cups of water if necessary. You want a soupy consistency, as the chili will thicken as it simmers.

Simmer, partly covered for 20 minutes, until the potatoes and parsnips are tender. Season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Simmer 5 minutes more. Ladel the chili in bowls and serve!

Brownies

Winning Brownies (Click HERE to get the recipe from the Gracious Pantry. )

What-Rules-Football

Superbowl Fitness: Caroline’s “Get in the Game WORKOUT CHALLENGE” 

Fuel your SuperBowl Sunday with POWER by getting your workout in before the first commercial. The below drills are designed to work on your strength, speed, stamina, and agility while burning calories and boosting energy. It’s a challenging series – as always, please check with a doctor before beginning any new exercise routine. And note: *You DO NOT need a football or access to a football field for these workouts. Just a positive attitude, a bottle of water, and some space! ; )

Running/Jogging Warm Up Drills. 10 minutes.

  • Easy jog 5 minutes
  • Walking Lunge. 20-30.
  • Butt kicks (kick your heel towards your butt)
  • Squat with side shuffle 1 minute
  • High Knees 1 minute
  • Plank with mountain climber knees 1 minute

“Make a Tight End”

Do 20-30 reps of each move. Work on keeping good form and strengthening your legs, core, and balance.

  • Basic Hip bridge. Laying on back bridge hips up into the air.
  • Squat with straight arms out in front of you. Focus on keeping shoulders down and core engaged.
  • Forward single leg lunge with knee raise (add hop if feeling feisty!). Do reps on one leg and switch.
  • Single leg side lateral lunge. Lunging one leg to the side keeping the other straight. Option to add a knee raise towards chest.
  • Plie squat with inner thigh slide. Squat with legs wide and toes pointed outward, bring heels together when you stand and separate legs wide to squat again.

Penalty ABS.

Perform each move for 1 minute with 15 seconds rest in-between.

  • V Ups.
  • Bicycle Crunch
  • Plank
  • Superman
  • Pushup

Cardio BURST: TOUCHDOWN 

Do each move for 1 minute with 30 seconds rest in-between.

  • Burpees. Feel free to add a pushup or squat jump!
  • “Football” run. Also known as “fast feet” : shake your booty and move feet out and in.
  • Squat hops with “touch down” arms. Squat and jump off ground reaching your arms up in the air in a “touchdown” signal.
  • Suicides. Sprint out 10-20 yards, squat and touch ground, sprint back ( you can also use distance measure like light poles, street meters)

Once through the circuit is GREAT – you can also repeat the above 2-3 times and go home with a longer workout.

This challenging all-levels circuit works the entire body, doesn’t require any equipment, and includes the perfect mix of strength and cardio exercises. It’s a winning combination – you’ll feel like such a rockstar when you’re done you might need your OWN halftime show. Leave a comment below if you  complete the above challenge and let me know how it went. Cant wait to congratulate you on your efforts!

Wishing you a safe and fun SuperBowl celebration. Now get focused, put on your game face, and get ready to “BRING IT”. Im positive you’ll have a healthy, happy Superbowl. TOUCHDOWN!

GO 49ers!

Caroline

P.S. There is still time to DONATE to CYCLE for Survival fundraiser and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Center. This is my third year riding in Cycle for Survival and I truly feel the event has a tangible, powerful impact on those who are affected by rare cancers. My goal is to get as many people as possible to donate $2 dollars to 1.) Raise awareness of the cause and 2.) Raise money for rare cancer! If you would be open to lending your support, you can donate to my ride HERE. Thank you for all of your help in doing good things in the world!  

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Lululemon Athletica is much more than just high quality spandex. Its a company that creates the components for people to live longer, healthier, more fulfilling lives. It is a company that is COMMITTED to living by it’s  manifesto. Want to be inspired? Read it below:

the lululemon manifesto

  • Drink FRESH water and as much water as you can. Water flushes unwanted toxins from your body and keeps your brain sharp.
  • A daily hit of athletic-induced endorphins gives you the power to make better decisions, helps you be at peace with yourself, and offsets stress.
  • Do one thing a day that scares you.
  • Listen, listen, listen, and then ask strategic questions.
  • Write down your short and long-term GOALS four times a year. Two personal, two business and two health goals for the next 1, 5 and 10 years. Goal setting triggers your subconscious computer.
  • Life is full of setbacks. Success is determined by how you handle setbacks.
  • Your outlook on life is a direct reflection of how much you like yourself.
  • That which matters the most should never give way to that which matters the least.
  • Stress is related to 99% of all illness.
  • Jealousy works the opposite way you want it to.
  • The world is changing at such a rapid rate that waiting to implement changes will leave you 2 steps behind. DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW!
  • Friends are more important than money.
  • Breathe deeply and appreciate the moment. Living in the moment could be the meaning of life.
  • Take various vitamins. You never know what small mineral can eliminate the bottleneck to everlasting health.
  • Don’t trust that an old age pension will be sufficient.
  • Visualize your eventual demise. It can have an amazing effect on how you live for the moment.
  • The conscious brain can only hold one thought at a time. Choose a positive thought.
  • Live near the ocean and inhale the pure salt air that flows over the water, Vancouver will do nicely.
  • Observe a plant before and after watering and relate these benefits to your body and brain.
  • Practice yoga so you can remain active in physical sports as you age.
  • Dance, sing, floss and travel.
  • Children are the orgasm of life. Just like you did not know what an orgasm was before you had one, nature does not let you know how great children are until you have them.
  • Successful people replace the words “wish”, “should” and “try” with “I will”.
  • Creativity is maximized when you’re living in the moment.
  • Nature wants us to be mediocre because we have a greater chance to survive and reproduce. Mediocre is as close to the bottom as it is to the top, and will give you a lousy life.
  • lululemon athletica creates components for people to live longer, healthier and more fun lives. If we can produce products to keep people active and stress-free, we believe the world will become a much better place.
  • Do not use cleaning chemicals on your kitchen counters. Someone will inevitably make a sandwich on your counter.
  • SWEAT once a day to regenerate your skin.
  • Communication is COMPLICATED. We are all raised in a different family with slightly different definitions of every word. An agreement is an agreement only if each party knows the conditions for satisfaction and a time is set for satisfaction to occur.
  • What we do to the earth we do to ourselves.
  • The pursuit of happiness is the source of all unhappiness.

This past week, a seemingly innocent afternoon invite to visit turned into a celebratory ambush complete with confetti, red pants, and french macarons. On Monday December 3 2012, lululemon athletica Grant Avenue PROPOSED and asked me to be a lululemon Ambassador for the 2013 year.

What is a lululemon Ambassador, you ask?
“Ambassadors are outstanding yogis, athletes, and fitness leaders within our communities who embody the lululemon lifestyle and live the our culture. These individuals personally contribute to our vision of elevating the world from mediocrity to greatness.” (www.lululemon.com).

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When the Ambassador program first began, it was purely a product feedback relationship, and has since turned into a lot more.  Now it’s a relationship between the Ambassador, the store and the community. Lululemon doesn’t “sponsor” athletes, so this is their way of getting to promote and connect with local instructors, athletes, and wellness professionals. They pick people active in the community who are passionate about their career and who’s work reflects the lululemon product, culture, and manifesto. I had the opportunity to represent Grant Avenue as an ambassador in 2009 and I am honored to have the chance to do it again in 2013.

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My experience with lululemon has been more positive, powerful, and fulfilling than I ever could have imagined.  They sent me on an unforgettable trip to CANADA, filled my San Francisco years with memorable events, and have created a community that feels like family. I am so grateful to have this unique opportunity to represent the store and be an ambassador once more. I can’t stop smiling and I am looking forward to a year full of making memories with powerful people.

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Looking back, I am a much different person now than when I first was an ambassador in 2009. The successes, failures, and learning lessons of the past  few years have allowed me to grow and slowly come into my own. It feels like I am an Ambassador for the first time all over again, as an upgraded version of Caroline, a stronger one. The line from the manifesto that relates most to me right now is “DO one thing a day that scares you”. This past year I have been earnestly challenging myself to leave the comfort zone and my life has blossomed as a result.  It’s astonishing how when you put your needs first, the rest of your life starts falling into place. This revolutionary concept serves as my motivation to keep moving forward, even when the path gets scary.

I’m proud of myself for overcoming fears, trusting my gut, and working hard towards living a life that feels right in my heart. I’ve learned to trust the process and be patient. It doesn’t happen all at once. You become and it takes a long time. I may not be there yet, but I am closer today than I was in 2009 and I owe part of my progress to lululemon. Their belief in me and loving support has often been the extra ammunition needed to keep me moving forward towards my goals. No person is an island and it’s helpful to have a team cheering me on in lululemon.

My biggest learning lesson from this past year is this: Doing one thing a day that SCARES you gives you freedom. It’s not easy. But if you can break down the walls and leave the cage of your fears: you will FLY, you will SOAR, you will be UNSTOPPABLE.

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Thank you lululemon Grant Avenue for believing in me and helping me fly free. This will be my best year yet. Heres to a year  full of flying high, flying far, and doing one thing every day that scares you.

With love and gratitude,

Your SUPER EXCITED Ambassador for 2013,

Caroline

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What line in the manifesto is your favorite or relevant in your life right now? Favorite item of lululemon athletica clothing?

Make sure to “like” lululemon athletica Grant Avenue’s facebook page for inspiration and support to reach all of YOUR goals.  2013 is THE year. 

Other Things To Check Out This week:

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How You Will Feel After Winning This Workout.

This past weekend the San Francisco Giants won the World Series Championships. Being a local this event was exciting and a cause to celebrate. I am so happy for my city, the team, and the community. Some might think it trivial or call it “just baseball”, but the win made me feel more connected to this town. It made me proud to be a San Franciscan.

I have lived in San Francisco for almost 5 years and have loved the experience. Its a romantic city, full of character, history, and natural beauty.  Excluding the foggy summer moments, I feel my life has been pretty blessed living here (I mean how could it NOT be when the Golden Gate Bridge is in my back yard?!). When I first moved to the city there were a few things I quickly learned; like the need to dress in layers and the difference between the diverse collection of neighborhoods (the Marina and the Mission could be considered two different worlds!). I also learned that in San Francisco theres really no such thing as walking. In this city there are two forms of commuting by foot: running and hiking. There are so many hills in the little 7 x 7 landscape that a “walk” isn’t much of a leisurely stroll but rather an interval incline circuit with incredible views. The terrain is enough to make anyone’s heart strong and butt toned. I still remember my first few weeks living in the city, just the addition of my walk to work allowed me to sleep like a baby by the bay!

The unifying energy of the GIANTS sweeping win put me in the San Francisco spirit and I thought it would be appropriate to post a HILL workout for this week’s post. This circuit is appropriate for all levels and can be modified or intensified to meet your needs. As always, please check with a doctor before making any fitness changes and honor your body and it’s injuries. Some tips: if you choose to perform the workout on the treadmill, make sure to keep a TIGHT core, take deep breaths and strong strides. Throughout the workout, occasionally look at your hands and make sure they aren’t clenched into fists. That’s wasted energy you could be using on your legs, your breath, your heart- all of your major muscle groups. Keep your fingertips nice and loose and your face relaxed. Its also a good idea to avoid holding onto the hand rails as you’ll burn 30% LESS calories if you cling to the treadmill during your workout. Pump yourself up with one of my workout playlists, challenge yourself, and GO FOR IT.  Before you know it this quick 30 minute circuit will be OVER and you’ll feel sweaty and triumphant.

 

Caroline’s “I left my heart in San Francisco” Hill Workout

0:00 – 5:00 Warm-up pace, 3% incline (RPE 5-6)

5:00 – 9:00 Walk or jog, add resistance every 30 seconds (start at 5% incline and increase from there ending at a RPE 7-8)

9:00 – 13:00 Increase your speed (power walk or run), decrease incline back to 2.5 % (RPE 7)

13:00 – 17:00 Slow down speed to walk or jog, increase incline every 30 seconds (start at 6.0 % to max out RPE at 8)

17:00 – 21:00  Increase your speed (meet or beat last time). Incline 2.5 % (RPE 8)

21:00 – 25:00 Slow down pace to walk or jog. increase incline every 30 seconds (start at 7.0 % and hit RPE 9)

25:00 – 30:00 FAST pace, 2.5 % incline (RPE) 9

31:00 – 35:00 Cool down with an easy walk or jog

Take your time bringing your heart rate down after the circuit and STRETCH using this quick video routine: 

 

Looking to do your hill workout OUTDOORs? Check out my tips on Running Hills and the Hill Repeat workout that works wonders in my “Holy Hills!” post. 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave me a comment below once you’ve completed the workout and let me know how you do! And if you want to run some real hills, you are always welcome to come visit me in SF 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful week and cant wait to see you soon!!

 

GO GIANTS!

Caroline

Other Things To check Out This Week:

 

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Running makes me feel like an athlete. It makes me appreciate different aspects of different seasons and the beauty of the world we live in. It makes me aware of things I never was aware of before. It has taught me more about myself then I ever thought “exercise” would. I have pushed my limits. I have found some limits. I have learned I am not a quitter and that I can do anything I put my mind to. It gives me structure and helps relieve stress, but mostly it just makes me happy.

In the spirit of running and this weekends’ San Francisco marathon,  I thought it would be fun to do a post ALL about the sport. Included below are workouts, playlists, and upcoming SPECIAL EVENTS to celebrate running health and happiness. Even if you’re NOT running in a marathon (or ever plan to!), I hope these links entice you to make running/walking a part of  your fitness regimen.

Running FAQ’s

Running Workouts:


Music / Playlists:

Running Inspiration:

Running SPECIAL EVENTS with lululemon athletica Grant Avenue and Caroline Jordan Fitness: 

What: San Francisco Marathon Shake Out Run

When: Saturday July 28th 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 pm

Who: lululemon athletica Grant Avenue and the San Francisco Marathon

Where: Justin Herman Plaza 1 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94101

Details: Stretch, shake-out your legs, and get ready for the San Francisco Marathon! On Saturday July 28th, at 9:00am at the Justin Herman Plaza, the lululemon athletica team will be there to get you PUMPED for the big race! SF Marathon Ambassadors will be there to answer any and all questions about the race and lululemon Ambassadors will lead 1, 2 and 3 mile runs along The Embarcadero, and help shake off any last minute race jitters. Any and ALL are welcome.

More Info: Click HERE for more details on the event and to connect to other community members who are participating. 

What: lululemon Grant Avenue Inspiration Station

When: Sunday July 29th 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Who: lululemon athletica Grant Avenue

Where: 22nd St & Indiana St, San Francisco, CA 94107

Details: We’re back for another year of cheering and motivation for all the runners racing the San Francisco Marathon on Sunday, July 29th!  Invite your friends & family, wear your BRIGHTEST yellow, bring some cow bells, show us your dance moves and prepare to do some serious yelling and cheering! We’ll be suppling breakfast all morning to keep you energized because cheering is hard work too!

More Info: Click HERE for more on the event and to connect with other community members who are participating! 

Are you a “love to runner” or an “anything but” gym go-er?! Leave a comment below with your fun experiences with or thoughts on the RUNNING sport. I hope some of the links above inspire you to mix up your workout routine or rediscover your love of running. For those of you running the San Francisco Marathon, have a great race! Hope to share a workout with you all soon. Till then, keep shining 🙂

Caroline

Other Things to Check Out This Week:

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Change is inevitable. Uncomfortable. Invigorating. Intimidating. Exciting. Necessary. Scary. Refreshing. Change is not always pleasant, but change is the only constant. Only when we change and grow, we’ll see a world we never know.

2012 has been a year of change for me. I have been tenaciously working towards my goals and everyday move closer in making my dreams a reality. It has been an exciting year full of growing and I look forward to what the future will bring. What I know for sure is that every change, no matter how challenging, works out to be rewarding in the end. And in my opinion, if it’s not rewarding…. well then it’s not the end.

This Tuesday will be my last night teaching at Club One Fitness Citigroup Center. The last 4 years have been wonderful and I’ve enjoyed every moment in working for a great company and connecting with incredible members. I will always champion and love the people I met through the club.  But it has come time in my life to create the space needed to grow my business into what I’d like it to become. To make some changes in the name of personal and professional growth. To live a fearless life so that I can inspire you in yours.

I’d like to thank you for being a loving community of support as I make this transition and continue to move forward towards my personal vision. Has 2012 brought any changes into your life? How can I support you in bravely moving forward? I’m here for you.

ONWARD AND UPWARD!

With love,

Caroline

I’d like to leave you with this simple and effective stretching video. Hopefully it will help you make a transition from a challenging place to a relaxing state of peace. It is a quick six minutes of solitude and rejuvenating flexibility work. Enjoy. Leave me a comment below and let me know if it helps ease you transition down from your day 🙂

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The low lighting. The techno music. The jersey fitted regulars who walk out the door covered in sweat. The world of “Spinning” can be intimidating. But don’t let the bike shorts fool you: Indoor Cycling is for EVERY gym go-er. If you are in a search of a fun group workout that provides a serious sweat, you might want to give cycle class a try. This low impact exercise option provides a great workout challenge and is designed to accommodate to all fitness levels. The bike will only work as hard as you want it to as both the  speed and resistance are in YOUR control. This is one of the reasons why I love indoor cycling: EVERY one can participate no matter what age or fitness ability. Its welcoming, fun, and a great workout for everyone.

Whether you’re a regular or never stepped in a spin room before, there are a few things to watch out for when you get your biking cardio. Here’s my guide to getting the most out of your ride and becoming a spin fanatic for life.

Indoor Cycling 101. Your Guide to Riding STRONG.

“Spinning” / Indoor Cycling Defined: A cardio class utilizing a indoor spinning bike. The pedals and wheels spin, but the bike stays stationary. There is a knob for you to adjust your resistance and make the workout more challenging or easy to handle, depending on the instructor’s directions and your preferences.

What to Expect:  Usually a 45-60 minute class in which the instructor will lead you through a warm-up, cardio workout, and cooldown. Different instructors will use different ways to gauge how hard you’re working. Some will use levels (“On a scale of 1-5 right now, you should be at a level 3”), resistance (“turn the knob twice”), cadence (how fast your wheels are spinning. Some clubs have spin bikes with consoles on them which help keep track of time, cadence and power), and all instructors will focus on your position (seated, standing or climbing). Speed will also be emphasized throughout the class through slower hill climbs (with heavy resistance), steady state or sprinting (speed intervals). Expect different drills of sprinting, hills, jumping, and tempo work set to the instructors choice playlist. The type of workout you get in Spin will depend a LOT on the instructor, their teaching style, exercise /cycling background, and music preferences. I have been to some classes where techno is blasted and the teacher doesn’t say a word; others with detailed drills and a cheering crowd. The best way to find the right instructor/class fit for you is to shop around and try them all. EVERYONE has a unique style and is looking for something different out of the spin class experience.

Getting Started

Comfortable workout clothes, a water bottle and a BRING IT attitude are all you need to get started. The following things can make a great Spinning class even better.

  • Moisture wicking tops to keep you cool and dry – expect to sweat A LOT.
  • A longer pair of shorts or padded cycling shorts to make the ride more comfortable for important parts 😉
  • A great water bottle to keep you hydrated and performing your best. Its a good idea to consume at least 40 ounces of water before, during and after  a 40-minute ride.
  • Shoes with a thick sole.  Thinner soles can be painful on your arches when the medal pedals are in the middle of your foot (nike frees would be a bad choice for cycling). If you fall in love with Spinning, you might choose to invest in cycling cleats. They provide much more power and muscle engagement in EVERY pedal stroke. Invest in one pair and they will last you years. Sports Basement is a great spot to buy high quality cycling cleats at a discount. And who knows… you might buy a pair and turn into a real outdoor cyclist 🙂
  • A small towel. Or two 😉

Ready to Ride

Spin bikes are designed and engineered to fit all shapes, sizes and abilities. Adjustable, with a real-bike feel, these bikes let you tailor seat and handlebar height to create the perfect fit thats right for you. With the proper bike setup, you can reap the full benefits of the cycling class and minimize the risk of injury. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you begin your spin workout.

  • Be sure to arrive to class at least 15 minutes early to discuss bike safety and setup procedures with your instructor. When you are new to a Spin  class, its important to let your instructor know. He or she can help you adjust your  bike and familiarize you with its features.
  • Adjust the seat height so that your knees are slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
  • Adjust fore/aft seat position so that your arms are a comfortable distance from the handlebars and your elbows are slightly bent.
  • If you’re a beginner, start with the handlebars in a relatively high position. As your flexibility increases and you become more comfortable on the bike you can begin to move the handlebars downward until they are approximately level with the saddle. Always make sure that the handlebars, seat post and seat slider are securely attached and that all pop pins are completely engaged.
  • Remember to ride at your own pace and learn the seated movements before advancing to standing movements and jumps. Always stay in control and focus on your form.

During Class

  • Place the ball of your foot over the center of the pedal. If wearing sneakers, make sure that your shoelaces are tucked in and your feet are securely attached to the pedals.
  • Note that most spin bikes have a fixed gear, you must gradually reduce the speed of your pedal strokes to stop the pedals from moving. To decrease the speed of your pedaling, press down on the red resistance knob to stop the pedals.
  • Remember, there is no competition in Spin class. Go at the pace that feels right for you.
  • There should always be some resistance on the bike. Familiarize yourself with all movements at a moderate pace before you attempt to increase your speed.
  • Stay in control. Focus on your form and on making smooth transitions between movements.
  • If you begin to feel faint or dizzy, slowly stop pedaling, carefully dismount from the bike and inform your instructor immediately.

Spin Class DO’s And DONTS

Form and Figure: Proper form is an essential part of a Cycling program. If you don’t have the right form and technique, you not only lose out on a great workout, you may be putting your body at un- necessary risk. Here are some of the questions that determine whether a movement should be used in Spinning class:

  • Can you perform the movement on a road bike? If not, don’t do it!
  • Are you in control?
  • Does the movement seem to have a physiological function, or is it just used as “choreography”?
  • Is the movement safe and efficient?
  • Does the movement feel natural?

Watch Out for these technique DON’Ts! The following are variations on Cycling technique that can compromise your workout AND cause injury:

  • Excessive Movement. Excessive upper body movement, including crunches, push ups and excessive side-to-side leaning is not only inefficient, it can throw off your balance and possibly strain your back. If you want to build-upper body strength, dedicate time to these exercises in a separate strength building session—off the bike.
  • Riding Posture. Riding seated with the arms reaching FAR  forward and the back rounded may seem harmless, particularly since elite cyclists ride in a similar position using aero bars. Since triathletes have custom fitted bikes with shorter top tubes, they can stretch into this position comfortably. However on the Spin bike, this hyper-flexed position may strain the back and can be uncomfortable, particularly for shorter individuals. Keep your shoulders down, core engaged, and maintain strong posture when you ride.
  • “Squats” and other Isolated Movements: Isolating the lower body while pedaling might feel like a great exercise for the quadriceps, but it can place undue strain on the knees and spine or cause injury. You would never do a “Squat” on a real bike, its NOT a good idea in class.  Instead, try a hill climb  and give your legs a good workout with the right form.
  • Pedal Stroke. Watch out for POINTING your toes as you complete each pedal stroke. Work instead on dropping your heel while you cycle, moving your foot as if you are scraping mud off your shoe.
  • Jumping too Quickly. Jumps are effective and challenging, but when they’re performed too fast, they don’t do any good. Since the focus of Jumps is to create smooth transitions between seated and standing positions, the key is proper speed. If Jumps are performed too quickly, the exercise can be ineffective or cause injury.
  • CRAZY Legs.  Riding at high cadence without resistance is ineffective on a Spin bike (and could cause serious butt soreness). Instead, ride at 110 RPM or less. If you begin to bounce in the saddle, increase the resistance. Riding at a consistent pace with good resistance develops power, strength and endurance.

Class Etiquette: 

  • Sanitize! Many gyms have bottles of sanitizing spray and towels handy for a bike sweat clean-up after your workout. Fancier clubs take care of bike clean up for you after each class – the maintainance staff at Equinox is FABULOUS!
  • Talking. It can often be perceived as rude to have conversations or talk loudly while the class is going on. Some instructors dont mind, but other participants might. It’s best to save your coffee chat for after class. That way everyone can enjoy their ride without having to hear you’re latest gossip.
  • Cell Phones. It’s best to leave the phone OUT of your workout so you can get the most from the experience (multi-tasking works the OPPOSITE way you want it to trust me). If you really must have your phone on you for emergency calls, please take the call OUTSIDE the spin room. Yes it’s happened in my class…. so its out there on this blog post 😉
  • So fresh and SO clean. Clean clothes and deodorant are a MUST. The bikes are close to each other, be a nice neighbor.
  • Connect with your instructor. We are here because we LOVE cycling with you. Say hello, it makes our day 🙂

I have taught cycling for 14 years and LOVED every second. I look forward to every class I teach and a chance to connect with others through movement and music. If you are in the Bay Area, I’d love to share a class with you. I currently teach the following Cycling classes in San Francisco:

Tuesday: 1230-115pm “CYCLING the Workout” at EQUINOX Pine Street and 6pm SPIN Circuit (one part cycling one part weights). Club One Citigroup Center

Thursday: 1230-115pm “CYCLING the Workout” at EQUINOX Pine Street

Friday: 12:15-115pm “CYCLING the Workout” at EQUINOX Pine Street

Saturday: 11am “CYCLING the Workout” at EQUINOX Pine Street

If you cant make it in to ride with me, here are a few songs that are on my spring spinning playlist. Maybe they will inspire you to get on the bike and sweat.

Caroline’s Fun Spring Cycle Playlist 2012

  1. Pjanoo (Club Mix) / Eric Prydz
  2. Too Much In Love ( Original Version DRM ) / Chris Willis
  3. You da One (Dave Aude Radio) / Rihanna
  4. I’m a Machine (feat. Crystal Nicole & Tyrese Gibson) / David Guetta
  5. Turn Up the Music / Chris Brown
  6. 6 Foot 7 Foot (feat. Cory Gunz) / Lil Wayne
  7. Lights (Fear of Tigers Remix) / Ellie Goulding
  8. Don’t Hold Your Breath (Kaskade Remix) / Nicole Scherzinger
  9. Sorry for Party Rocking / LMFAO
  10. Million Dollar Bill (Rauhofer Reconstruction Mix) / Whitney Houston (shout out! RIP Whitney 🙂
  11. Jesus Walks / Kanye West
  12. Levels / Avicii
  13. Took My Love (feat. Red Roo, Vein & David Rush) / Pitbull
  14. Block Rockin Beats / Chemical Brothers
  15. Pass At Me (Junior Sanchez Remix) / Timbaland
  16. We Are Young (feat. Janelle Monáe) / fun.
  17. Choose (feat. Ne-Yo & Kelly Rowland) / David Guetta
  18. titanium ( feat. sia) / David Guetta
  19. Cheers (Drink To That) / Rihanna

Indoor Cycling workouts can be a great part of a regular fitness routine. I challenge you to try out a class or two this week – your legs, lungs, and heart will THANK YOU for it!

Do you take cycling classes on a regular basis? What is YOUR favorite song to ride to?

Thanks again for being such a fabulous fitness family. I look forward to seeing you in class or on a bike for a workout soon!

Caroline

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