It took a few days, but my legs eventually recuperated from the three-hour spinning extravaganza. While I may have been silly to sign up for such torture in the first place, I gained some valuable lessons.
Learnings from spinning’s heart rate workshop
- I can complete a three-hour spin class.
Similar to the feeling of accomplishment one gains from finishing a race, it feels good to know I did it. There’s a feeling of self-confidence you get just from learning that you can do something hard.
- My max heart rate is 195.
This information will help me make my workouts more efficient and precise, as I can now work to different percentages of my “max.” The calculation of max heart rate was, for me, much different than I would have gotten with a standard suggested estimate of 220 minus your age. Now I just need to learn how to work all those fancy buttons on the heart rate monitor arm band!
- I know more about how to raise and lower my heart rate, as well as how to arrest a “heart rate freefall.”
For example, I’ve learned that I can raise my heart rate quickly by standing up to pedal, but maintaining it at a certain level is easier when seated, or in biker-speak, when you’re “in the saddle.” I also realized I have to stop slacking off before I reach my “recovery beats per minute,” or else my heart rate will fall too far and I’ll have to work to raise it up again.
- I need to work harder during “recovery.”
This is a depressing one. During our three-hour class, we were not supposed to let our heart rates drop below 70% of maximum at any time. Although 70% is nominally an “endurance” or “working recovery” heart rate level, it’s actually hard to maintain when you’re wanting 45 seconds at, say, 60% of your max — so you can drink water, ease up on your legs, wipe away some of the sweat. However, the workshop taught me to push myself more uniformly during my regular classes.
Spinning and tennis
When I hobbled off the bike that day, the calorie counter read 1493, and I was sweatier than I ever get while playing tennis. To make things worse, I played a singles tennis match the next day — which probably wasn’t the smartest idea, since my legs were so sore I could barely move across the court. But in general, the conditioning and heart rate info I’m gaining from spinning ought to benefit my tennis game — or at least my ability to survive three long sets.
Now I need to incorporate heartbeats per minute variations into my tennis workout — and I’m not referring to the way my heart races after after my opponent makes a poor line call on an important point!
That, however, is a subject for another post.
Do you measure your heart rate? If so, what do you do with the information?
Image credits: lemondfitness.com, cbdilger via flickr