Spinning Class Routine and Playlist – Hills’n’Sprints

This Spinning class routine and playlist continues to be the most popular post on my blog and one of my classes’ most favorite rides. Challenging and fun at the same time. Can’t beat that! spinning class routine

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Ladders Cycling Class Profile and Playlist

Hey my dear cyclists (both out- and indoor)! Here’s your weekly playlist (for those who do their own thing outside/inside) and class profile (if you’re an indoor cycling instructor looking for ideas for your next indoor cycling class).

ladders cycling class profile

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5 Mistakes New Indoor Cycling Instructors Can Avoid

Are you a new indoor cycling instructor?

If you’re still getting nervousness butterflies in your stomach every time you have to teach a class, this post is for you.

We were all newbies once (and some of us still are). There we were out of our instructor orientation/training thinking we were ready to go out there and rock the world of those indoor cyclists.

A few classes later we had more questions than answers, one above all:

Why didn’t they teach me this in instructor training?!

Well, because it is impossible to teach you everything in the time spent on instructor orientation training by major indoor cycling certification entities. Even if they spent more time on training, it would still be impossible to cover everything you need to know, to go over every possible scenario you will encounter in your class, every possible shade of crazy and weird you are going to see, and every possible question you are going to be asked.

You teach and learn.

But there’s something I thought I could do to help you out.

I asked my fellow indoor cycling and Spinning® instructors what were the mistakes they had made when they first started teaching, and what would they have changed if they could go back in time to when they first started.

new indoor cycling instructor

Here’s what they said.Continue Reading

Cycling Class Profile and Playlist #5 – Ride to the 80’s

Happy Monday, my friends!

This week’s Cycling Class Profile is called “Ride to the 80’s”.

cycling class profile

Special thanks to Sue over at Mrs. Fatass for song ideas! 🙂

I taught this class last Saturday and my riders really enjoyed it. I love teaching Saturday classes – they are one hour long vs. my usual 45 minute class format, which is challenging by itself 🙂 Also, Saturday class is taught by a different instructor every week and usually has better attendance numbers than weekday classes (looking at you, weekend warriors 🙂 ).

And – you never know who’s coming to your Saturday class vs. having your regulars in your usual scheduled classes.

Anyway, I thought I’d do something fun this week – both with the music and the routine.

But before I dive into the drills and routines, here’s a video that inspired me to do one of the fun drills in Saturday class.Continue Reading

Cycling Instructor: Students Teach Us Too

Hey guys! How is it Wednesday already? My week is just flying by (it’s a busy one, too). How is yours going?

So I went to a cycling class this Saturday – as a student. It felt super nice to not be teaching 🙂 Besides, I decided to hold off the stress for now and go to my YMCA where I know the instructors are highly professional, so I can relax and just spin that wheel. So I did!

indoor cycling

It was a great class with Tara – challenging, difficult and very satisfying! 9:00 AM on Saturday – we only had 2 people in the class not counting the instructor. And it was part of the fun too!

Since we went camping last weekend, I didn’t get a chance to practice my profile for the Monday class. I put together the Movie Ride – with songs that were part of or specifically written for movies. Here is what it looked like:

I thought the fanfare of the 20th Century Fox in the beginning was a nice touch 🙂 Anyway, my students loved the music and the class. My husband, who took it too said it was my best yet.

I really tried to focus on my “problem areas” this time – I moved my bike closer to the class and away from the speakers so I could have a better judgment of the volume of my voice projection vs. music.

In my previous classes, since I didn’t have a mic (still don’t), I felt like I was failing to motivate my class by verbal coaching, so I worked out more myself – motivating them by sweating my butt off (that’s what they are used to and that I thought was extra motivation for them). Moving my bike closer to the students (hub’s idea), turning the music down a little, and limiting my “moves” to demonstration only really allowed me to coach more. And I think my class definitely benefited from it – I was able to give them more guidance, watch them closer and adjust my cueing accordingly. It was great seeing them react to my guidance and cues.

It is mentally hard to not work out while teaching. Please, don’t get me wrong – it doesn’t come from the desire to get your own workout in. It comes from lack of confidence. I have the knowledge – I need to be more vocal and share it. You can’t be vocal while out of breath…not so much as you should anyway 🙂 I felt a major shift in my priorities as an instructor during the Movie Ride – all thanks to my students letting me feel the difference between instructing “by example” and coaching.

I am learning to be a better instructor for them – one step at a time.

indoor cycling

Still got my burn though. No idea how that happened.

Look, they have my name on the board in the cycling room 🙂 How nice is that!

cycling instructor

What else is up this week: I am subbing for another instructor today at lunch time (if I don’t have the same students in the class that I had on Monday, I am planning to do my Movie Ride again).

I am also teaching two Saturday morning classes this month before I head out to Fit Bloggin’ 2014!

indoor cycling

On an unrelated subject: I’ve been invited for an interview by Adam and Devon Bate over at the Lifestyle Accountability Show!

life style accountability

We are recording it tonight, and I will make sure to let you know when it is out! I am so honored and stoked to be given this opportunity!

Super happy and excited to chat with these guys tonight! Thank you, Adam, for reaching out to me!

Now do share:

What was your “Workout of the Workouts” this week?

Have you ever been interviewed?

Does it inspire you to see your cycling instructor getting a workout in the class?

Take care, boys and girls 🙂

Lean Lena

This post has been shared on Femme Fitale Fit Club as part of their Workout Wednesdays series.

5 Things to be on the Lookout for in your Indoor Cycling Class

Have you ever walked out of an indoor cycling class feeling like you just got an awesome workout, and then wondered with time where that back/knee/neck/shoulder pain came from? Or ask yourself how come you’re not seeing the results you want even though you work so hard?

I know I have – for a long time, until I went through Spinning® instructor training and realized how many things can go wrong in an indoor cycling class without you even knowing.

It is not always your instructor’s fault (even though most of the time it is) – I encourage you to educate yourself before starting an indoor cycling exercise program and make sure you are following the safety guidelines. Not following them seems harmless but it sure is dangerous in the long run.

I’ve recently taken a class with a new instructor, which inspired me to write this post today hoping that at least my readers could educate themselves on the basic rules of a safe indoor cycling class and be able to recognize an unprofessional instructor.

Here are some of the things to be on the lookout for when taking an indoor cycling class:

{ONE} Bike Set-Up


When you walked into that class for the first time, did your instructor come over to introduce him/her-self and help you set up your bike?

Did he/she ask if there were any students in the class who were completely new to indoor cycling or needed help setting up their bikes?

If yes, you’re good as long as they helped you setup your bike correctly.

If not – you are at risk of setting it up wrong without professional guidance, which can lead to bad riding form and eventually – injuries.

If you’re in a class that uses one of the Spinner® bike models, you can read about proper bike set up here before the class. Otherwise – please, speak up and ask your instructor for help.

Speak up and ask your instructor for help in any case. Don’t be shy!

Write down your bike settings for future classes.

{TWO} Funky Moves

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So you got your bike set up properly and you’re all ready to go. The music is great, the instructor is “on fire”…Perfect! Here are some “funky” moves you should be on the lookout for and should not do in order to avoid discomfort, pain, and/or injuries:

  • Hovering/Isolation
  • Extending your arms to hand position 3 while seated
  • Using free weights while on the bike
  • Riding with no resistance on the fly wheel
  • Doing squats while on the bike
  • Letting go of handlebars during a standing climb or standing flat/running
  • Pushups (yes, some people actually do that while on the bike)
  • Placing your foot on handlebars while stretching

There’s more. The things above are just a few of the most common contraindicated moves. You can read more about contraindications for the Spinning® program and Spinner® bikes here.

The rule of thumb is – Keep It Real! In other words – if you wouldn’t do it on a regular bike, don’t do it on the stationary bike.

Would you ride on the road with weights in your hands? Exactly!

Read more about what keeping it real means and what it doesn’t in this great article by Jennifer Sage – the founder of the Indoor Cycling Association.

If the instructor in the class you attend suggests any of the moves above, remember: it is your ride, your body and your health – you decide what to do. You don’t have to do something your instructor tells you that you know is wrong and/or not safe.

{THREE} Heart Rate Monitor (HRM)


Take a note: does your instructor wear a HRM? Does he/she encourage the class participants to purchase and use one? Does he/she refer to the % of max heart rate during training?

Monitoring your heart rate is of crucial importance in achieving your fitness goals. Training without it is like walking in the darkness – how do you know how hard you’re working unless you know your heart rate? You can’t rely solely on the perceived exertion – both that and the HR need to be taken into account.

Consider purchasing a heart rate monitor even if your instructor makes no reference to HR in class, take note of your HR during the ride.

Be smart about your training – read more about effective training based on heart rate and Energy Zones.

{FOUR} Resistance Control


Does your instructor come up to you during the class to adjust the resistance on your bike’s flywheel?

If yes – never come back to that class again.


You are the one in control of your workout. You are the one who decides how hard you can and will work.

If your instructor received proper training, they would have been strongly discouraged to even suggest increasing resistance in any measurable amounts. Suggestions to increase resistance are totally normal and necessary to explain and implement the riding profile for the class, but telling you how much you should add (half turn, full turn, quarter turn) is not. Adjusting it for you is unacceptable.

{FIVE} Who’s getting a workout?


Ever feel like it is your instructor’s workout not yours?

Does your instructor get off the bike during the class to walk around and help people in the class?

A good instructor does. He/she also remembers that it is not his/her workout, but yours. It surely is inspiring to see your instructor sweating just like you, but things look a little different to the instructor when they get off the bike and walk around to check on their students’ form, heart rates, answer possible questions and help out if somebody needs them.

I hope the tips above can help you in achieving your fitness goals without getting injured – regardless of the level of your instructor’s professionalism. Even though it is your instructor’s job to guide you and keep you safe during the class, remember that you’re in charge of that bike and that puts a lot of responsibility on you, too.

Educate yourself in advance and enjoy the ride!


Images' Source

Dreams Come True – Awesome Weekend Adventures

Hey guys! How was your weekend? Mine was AWESOME!

As you probably remember, I had becoming a Spinning® instructor as one of my New Year’s Resolutions.

Well, this past Saturday I went for my Instructor Training session at the East Shore YMCA in Harrisburg, PA. It was a full day of training + 2 awesome rides – all done by an incredible Master Instructor Meg McNeely.

Gosh…where do I begin?

Well, first of all, for over a year I had no idea that the classes I was taking were not actually Spinning® classes. They were indoor cycling classes – thanks to Meg and Mad Dogg Athletics, Inc. – now I know what Spinning® really is 🙂

With this knowledge came a lot of revelations (mostly unpleasant) – starting with the basic moves I’d performed in cycling classes for the past year and a half being not so good for me, and ending with the whole different philosophy behind Spinning® classes as opposed to the classes I’d been taking… and unfortunately, I was not alone. 13 other people in the group were sitting there nodding their heads as Meg described the misuse of the terms Spinning®, Spin® and Spinner® and the basic moves used in indoor cycling classes that don’t do you any good and may be harmful.

This training was an eye opening experience!

I didn’t really have time to take any pictures except my Polar FT40 screen after rides.

Ride 1

Ride 1

Ride 2

Ride 2

I still have to pass the online assessment and get my instructor card, but I now have the Certificate of Completion of the instructor training which gives me the right to start teaching.


I am SO excited!

Now on to looking for a place to teach and continuing my education as an instructor. So far I have one place expressing interest I my services. We’ll see what happens!

Meanwhile I have a lot of work to do profiling classes, choosing music and thinking it all through while learning-learning-learning.

On a slightly unrelated subject – I have just been accepted to be a Sweat Pink Ambassador!!!

I have been waiting for a loooong time for this to happen. First, Fit Approach didn’t have their application process open when I first found them, then they opened it, I applied and waited and waited 🙂 I am SO excited to finally become a part of this wonderful community and to be their Ambassador. Thank you, Fit Approach!

Thank you, my wonderful friends, blog readers and my family – for your constant support and encouragement in what I do. I wouldn’t be able to do it without you!

Now I better go check what else was there on my Resolutions list and get cracking 😉

Stay fit, my dears!