Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Spinning class

Yes, it's true, I am competitive, but being competitive, not only with other people but myself means that I improve and improvement is what I'm after.  So, after today, I know what I can do, so next time I'll try to match it or do better. I hate, hate, hate, having to take it down a bit. I'm always trying to do just that tiny bit more. It's also why I like this class and this gym better. It's the only gym of the three that has computers on the bike to record what we did.

So, today in spin class I realized about halfway through class that the man just in front of me had a visible computer so I could see his numbers. I could also see he is a cyclist (has those cycling legs) and I could see he was pushing himself and sweating in class. I wanted to see how my effort compared to his.

About halfway through the class I  saw I was pretty close in watt-hours to his (like within 2 watt hours), so I wanted to try to push it to catch up. In the end, I couldn't and he outdid me by about 12 watt-hours (his 110.1 to my 98.6), but it is exactly 31 more watt-hours than I did last Tuesday where I thought I was pushing myself hard too. Having that rival number really made me take it up a couple notches to really, really push myself.

When we were on flats, I had a higher tension than he did. When we were on hills, we both had the same tension, but he could pedal a bit faster and maintain that speed - better than I could. But, it gave me a much better idea of my physical condition to have someone to compare to who I could see was quite fit. And you know what? I am not too bad! That still surprises me - not that I'm resting on my laurels. I want to do MORE!

I spoke to the instructor after class to get an idea of what the numbers means as they don't jive to things I see online for exertion/workout level. She said a good workout is mid-60s (which is about what I had last time). So, I really was pushing myself today with the 98.6. Online I'll see things like 150 watt-hours is a middling workout and 250 is basically impossible unless you are some extreme athlete. I cannot see how anyone could get over 150 on these bikes. But, I did find something on these green bikes that say that 70-100 is an average workout. Here's an article from Harvard and here's more on watt hours and biking here which even gives the world record.

I also don't understand and neither did the instructor, what the total watt hours number means for the class. Last Tuesday there were all 27 people in class. The total for the hour was 530 watt-hours. (or about. I didn't write it down). This week there was 24 people in the class and the total watt hours was 550.

Now, divide 550 by 24 bikes. That would mean that everyone had an average of 22.9 watt-hours. That can't possibly be right, so I don't get it. Here is the webpage that shows the watt-hours per class at the gym. Green Revolution bikes are kind of cool as we are putting our work to use!

As we were finishing up I took a quick peak at the people's computers around me; not to compete, but to get a better idea of what these numbers mean and how we get this 550 for a total output. Of the people around me, three were  pretty fit people - the cyclist guy was about my age and he had the 110.1. Another was about my age, then there was a man a quite a bit older, and then a getting fit woman next to me, again about my age. They all had numbers around 45-55 watt-hours. So, that 550 means what??? I'll figure it out as it has to mean something!

Interestingly, I don't think spinning class is a good indication of how well you can bike outside of the studio. I find biking extremely hard. I can't get up tough hills, etc. But maybe if I keep going, I can get it so that I'm not dying while pedaling around my community that is full of freaking hills!

And I know I worked hard. I was wiping sweat nonstop. When your hands drip sweat, you know you're really working it! And my face was red for an hour. Might still be, who knows!

But, workout for the day is in and the great things about spinning is that it doesn't aggravate that hamstring tendon, so I can really push it without worrying about injury!


  1. I push myself harder physically when I am "competing" (meaning, I can see what someone else is doing and I try to do AT LEAST that well if not better). Haha, it's very human of us!

  2. Last week, as I hadn't been in eons, I tried to keep the same pedal speed as the person near me (or better), but I had no idea what her resistance level was. I could just see she was working hard and was fit.

    It really does help me to have someone else there to make me want to work harder. I think that's why I like classes and don't do as well on machines/equipment, especially at home. I think I could push myself on treadmills or elipticals with someone beside me, but classes are easier.

  3. Regarding what you said about spinning being an indication of how well you can bike in the "real world" - wouldn't that be cool if it was!

    I think about that sometimes while I'm "running" on the elliptical. I absolutely hate actual running, but when I'm having a great elliptical workout, it feels like you're just floating. I think to myself, "I wonder if this is what it is like for someone who really enjoys running."