Thursday, November 13

Bienvenido a Miami!

You're not going to hear much from me over the next week, as I've just arrived in Miami Beach for a week of humid heat (a lovely change from the damp cold of London).

"On holiday AGAIN?" is what I usually hear but, as usual with me, my trip has a purpose - a 4-day ECA fitness convention. A mix of many fitness activities, lectures, workshops, etc. but I'm here mainly to get to know Johnny G's latest innovation: Kranking. The revolution in fitness caused when he invented Spinning... but for the upper body! I'll write more about it when I return but I'm getting goosebumps at the thought of being here at the start of the revolution, rather than joining it further down the line.

So it is work, of sorts - honestly! Mind you, I doubt I'd have been so keen to come had it been held in snowbound Minnesota... I'll also be finding time to take part in as many Spinning rides as I can manage and maybe a bit of retail therapy.

Right now, though, all I can think about after 19 hours of travelling is food and sleep.

Hasta luego, amigos!

Tuesday, November 4

Spinning class: Disco Fever!

I never thought I'd say this but I was inspired to put together a disco theme ride by one of those pop star reality TV programmes (X-Factor). I know, I know - but it's better than watching Strictly Come Dancing on a Saturday night!

Usually, I think of a ride profile before choosing music to match. In these types of ride, however, I put together all the relevant tunes before weeding out the not-so-good ones. Then I look at what's left and see what type of ride looks best, weeding out a few more if they don't fit that profile. The other thing I wanted to do was use "updated" versions - whether remixes, mash-ups or sampled tracks. You'll see what I mean from the playlist below.

Other than just enjoying the music, there's no particular aim other than to work as hard as you want and in control (i.e., 65-85% of MHR, although 70-80% is ideal). There are no real breaks, to encourage riders not to overdo it. Essentially, it's three loops - a slow climb, while increasing resistance, which then increases in speed (and thus effort level) by approx 10% before it's back a flat road. If, with gradually increasing resistance, HR is up to 75% by the end of the first part of the climb, it should finish the climb at around 85%. The flat road can be used as recovery as an option, especially for beginners.

Warm up - 4 mins
Climb - 15 mins
Flat road - 3 mins
Climb - 9 mins
Flat road - 5 mins
Climb - 15 mins
Flat road - 3 mins
Cool down - 6 mins


Love's theme - Barry White
Working my way back to you - Detroit Spinners
Rasputin - Boney M
I will survive (Barcode Remix) - Gloria Gaynor
That's the way I like it - KC and the Sunshine Band
D.I.S.C.O. - Ottawan
Y.M.C.A. - Village People
Popcorn - Hot Butter
Stayin' Yeah - Usher vs. Bee Gees
I feel love is a stranger - Donna Summer vs. Annie Lennox
Can you 1999 it - Prince vs. The Jacksons
No more tears (enough is enough) - Kym Mazelle & Jocelyn BRown
Greatest trickster - Sister Sledge vs. Kelis
Funeral pyre - John Powell (from Bourne Supremacy)
I'm goin' down - Mary J Blige

Go on, admit it - you were singing along as you read the playlist!

Saturday, November 1

Going for an English

Earlier this week it was Diwali, the Hindu festival also celebrated by Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains as a Festival of Light, where the lights or lamps signify victory of good over the evil within an individual. This time always reminds me of that excellent comedy programme, Goodness Gracious Me, and arguably one of the best comedy sketches ever... "Going for an English".

The sketch is a parody of that (not so) great British tradition of going "for an Indian" after getting tanked up on far too many beers, ordering the spiciest thing on the menu (but there's always on who plays it safe with omelette and chips) and enough papadums to feed a small country, and making fun of the waiters.

Oh, the advert at the beginning is itself a parody of the awful home-made adverts seen in British cinemas to promote local facilities.

Not loading? Click here!