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Fitness Friday – Building Your Own Spin Workout

Happy Fitness Friday Friends! This week’s topic comes from my old friend Matty Danger (hi!) who asked how to get in a good spinning workout without the class.

These tips are best used on a spin bike or indoor trainer. I’m going to go over some of the “moves” you can do on the spin bike, then ways to put them together. I’m assuming those of you rocking out to your own spin class are “intermediates.” But if bike set-up and basic technique is something you want me to go over in a future post, let me know and I will!

Okay… let’s review our options.


Easy Seated Spin
This is your recovery. On a scale of 1-10 you’re at about a 3 or 4. Your butt is planted in the seat, your hands holding wide, and just enough resistance to feel it under your feet. But you could probably do this all day.

Seated Sprint
You’re in the seat and spinning your legs as fast as they will take you. A little bit of resistance is needed so as not to hurt your knees and to keep your butt from bouncing in the seat. On a scale of 1-10 you’re around an 8 or 9.

Seated Climb
You’re still in the seat, but the resistance is cranked waaaaay high. It feels like you’re biking through mud or… up a really big hill! You’ve got to work on pushing down and pulling up with your feet. This can be anywhere from a 7 to a 9 on that scale.


Standing Climb
There are sub-categories for this one!

Basic Climb
You’re out of the seat and the resistance is high to counter your bodyweight. Your butt is above and in front of the seat a little, your hands at the top of the handlebars. You sway back and forth as you push up and down. Depending on the resistance and speed, this can be anywhere from easy to extremely hard.

The Hover
The resistance is high and you’re out of the seat – but just barely. Stick your butt back to slightly hover over the seat. Your  butt and thighs will need to work hard to keep this position. Try not to sway and keep it as steady as possible. Usually at a slower pace.

The Jog
The resistance is still high and you’re out of the seat, except this time your torso is upright and almost against the handlebars. Hands are close together on the handlebars right in front of you. Speed is a little faster. Engage your legs more by trying not to move your upper body.

Standing Sprint
Essentially a standing climb…. just reallyreally fast ;) Lower the tension a little for this one so you can get the speed, but not too low so you don’t throw your knees out.

You’re going along at your seated pace and – quick! Jump up a few revolutions in standing! Now back down for a few seconds in the seat. And back up to standing! These are really fast-paced, turning your legs no more that 6 times in each positions. You have to keep the resistance high for these so it’s enough to counterbalance your weight in the standing jumps. And on a scale of 1-10 it should be at least a 7.


Alright, so now it’s time to put these moves together!

Spinning is an interval workout. Meaning you work hard for an interval, and recover for another. The level of work and recovery can vary anywhere on that scale of 1 to 10. Meaning you can vary how much you exert yourself.

I personally prefer intervals that at most have twice the recovery time than work time. For example: 1 minute work + 2 minutes recovery. But if your looking to push yourself you can do equal work and recovery intervals. Meaning sprinting for 30 seconds, then an easy spin for the next 30 seconds, repeat.

In spinning there are really only two kinds of recovery:
1) Easy seated spin
2) Low resistance hill climb

Knowing those are your two options for recovery, you can choose any of the above moves for your work intervals! Examples:

  • Hover for 30 sec, easy climb for 30 sec
  • Seated sprint for 30 sec, easy spin for 1 min
  • Hard climb for 1 min, seated spin for for 1 min
  • Standing sprint for 30 sec, “jog” for 30 sec, easy climb for 1 min

You can always break up the intervals by doing 5 minutes of steady increase. Pretend that you’re climbing an increasingly large hill, turning up the resistance every minute until your legs feel like they’re going to burn off. Then come back down the hill and decrease the resistance every one minute for another five minutes.

If you’re listening to music, you can always coordinate your intervals to the verses and choruses. Especially make sure you choose upbeat music to listen to!

Rather than give you a list of moves and intervals to do, I hope you can take the info provided in this post and design your own spin workout. I honestly make my workouts up as I go along, doing a mix of short work/recovery intervals with longer work/recovery intervals and a few increasing resistance hills for good measure.

If anything, just remember to work hard. Without the instructor to yell in your ear, it’s up to you to make sure you push yourself hard enough. If you find that the 1:1 intervals are too easy, then work harder so you need that full recovery.

Good luck! Hit me up with any questions below :)

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Some great comments on my last post about plastic surgery. I love it when: a) people better articulate the point I’m trying to get across and b) when people see it from a different point of view than I. Case and point:

Julie, on January 15th, 2010 at 11:30 am Said:

I think it’s sad when people get plastic surgery to make themselves happy. It’s one thing if you have something about yourself that honestly makes you sad or feel ugly (like having a large nose – not saying people w/ large noses are ugly, at all) but if you are doing it because of insecurities, maybe instead of paying to alter your body you should pay to alter your thoughts about your body…like going to therapy. I mean, if it’s really that bad.

I think Heidi was beautiful back in the day, it’s sad what she’s done to herself. I can’t imagine waking up one morning and not resembling pictures of myself that were taken a mere 5 years ago.

heather, on January 15th, 2010 at 2:20 am Said:

My thoughts on plastic surgery are the same as yours, to an extent. In my own personal case I would love to have a few surgeries performed. But, I’ve also lost over 280 pounds and have over 15 pounds of excess skin that cannot be gotten rid of without surgery. So while it would be dangerous, I also think of it as being necessary in the future. In the case of Heidi, I agree with you. She’s rediculous, and doing it for those reasons is way over the top.

Just my two cents.

And then I always love it when my mommy jumps into the conversation…

Christina, on January 15th, 2010 at 12:48 pm Said:

If Heidi does not accept herself now the aging process is going to be horrible for her. I am 55 and my body has undergone many changes. But I have Susan’s 86 year old grandmother as my role model. She has always ate well and exercised. Her skin is wrinkled and sags but that is what happens to skin after 86 years. She is still proud of her looks and it shines through. No one gets to be 86 without it showing…

I can thank my mom and nana for being two wonderful role models on how to age. My 86 year old grandmother goes to yoga for goodness sake! I’ve seen how beautiful the aging process can be with those two women as examples, and I think that’s why people like Heidi Montag make my heart ache.

Speaking of hearts, thank you to those of you who nominated me for the blogging pants! I’ve admittedly completely ignored my Google Reader these past couple days, so I was confused as to why I was suddenly getting people coming here from Caitlin’s blog. Seeing that a handful of people thought of me when they heard about the blogging pants initiative put a giant smile on my face. My heart grew just like it does at the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (you know what I’m talking about!) 

Okee, I’ve got lots of stuff to get to – including the Blogaversary Giveaway winner!! So let’s get down to business, shall we?

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had a completely wild night last night and stayed out till 10:30 with the girls from work. By the time blogging happened, it was close to midnight when I fell asleep. Six hours later, I was so not feeling the bike trainer session I’d hoped for. I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep, except I couldn’t!!! This is one of the reasons why I’m so successful at morning workouts. When I’m up, I’m up. So I pulled on my bike shorts and got to it.

It’s odd doing stationary bike workouts. I’m used to doing it in a spin class setting, or being outside on a real bike. I’m still not sure how to design a lengthy bike workout for myself. I kinda made it up as I went along today:

  • 5 minute warm-up – easy spin
  • 10 minutes – sitting sprints (1 min) + sitting recovery (1 min)
  • 10 minutes – hill climb, alternating between sitting and standing for 1 min each, increasing resistance every 2 min
  • 20 minutes – alternating 1 min sitting + 1 min standing sprints, with 2 min recovery in between each

Yeah, kinda random, but it kept me interested and I was working real hard by the end. Watched the local news again while on the bike. It was all about Haiti. An old “colleague” of mine was killed in the earthquake. Communications officer for the local RCMP. Heartbreaking. He always stuck out in my memory because he was so nice to me when I was a student journalist bugging him for interviews all the time. Strange how these people we cross paths with frequently can have such an impact on us…

Anyways, I should warn you, I’ve had a sandwich for every meal today. Starting with smoked salmon on an english muffin for breakfast.

Also on there is laughing cow cheese, mustard, capers, red onion, spinach, tomato. And some grapes on the side. I’ve been craving savoury breakfasts lately!

I was supposed to go out to lunch with my dad today, but he finished up in court early and headed back to Moncton this morning. No worries cause I’ll be seeing in when I go home for my birthday next weekend!!! Since I didn’t pack a lunch, I tagged along to the mall with coworkers and stopped by Subway for sandwich #2 – turkey breast on whole wheat. Smothered in mustard and pickles. 

I had an appointment to get my hair done at 6pm, so I scooted home from work to make a quickie supper. Sandwich #3!

Yves veggie salami slices, marble cheese, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato with a side of carrots, mushrooms + hummus. Nomnom. I’m like the female version of Joey Tribbiani. 

And my new single lady ‘do!!!


Ta-daaaaa!! I had no idea what I wanted going in there, something shorter, darker, and a little sassier. I think it accomplishes all three and am quite happy with it. I feel like a new woman!! :D

All that scalp massaging stirred up my hunger, so I gave April’s protein cakes another go-around when I got home. This time I followed the recipe exactly, making two in total.


Note to self: put it in bigger mugs next time!!! I don’t know why I didn’t learn from my exploding muffin top the first time around, but it happened again! They puff up big time in the microwave.


Tastewise, these were much better. They’ve got some real potential. And by potential, I mean will someday be smothered in marshmallow fluff…


Okayokay. Enough chatter. Time to announce the winner of THREE Vega Vibrancy bars!!! Drumroll please…




#38!! Morgan!!!

Morgan @ Healthy Happy Place, on January 12th, 2010 at 1:21 pm Said: Edit Comment

yay! It’s been a year!! I love your blog and I’m so glad I found it.

Eeeee!!! Congrats Morgan!!! Send your address to and I’ll send out your goodies!! As a side note, if you haven’t yet, you should totally check out Morgan’s blog. She has a very similar story to mine, and is now a television producer pursuing her personal training certification. Yay for fit broadcasters! ;)


And on that note, it’s time for bed.


There are so many things I should do before bed, but instead I’m cuddling up with my hot water bottles and watching this week’s Real World episode. Night night!!! xoxo



Ch-ch-check out the sweet headband I got from Matt at No Meat Athlete. Thanks Matt! You’ve just helped me plump up my future personal trainer wardrobe ;)

Okay, honestly, I had no idea how to start this post, but at least I now have your attention :)

Totally loved hearing all the personal items y’all need with you at work. Hand cream and chapstick were definitely the most popular, with pictures and post-its slightly behind. Although Emily has rubber bands in the shape of zoo animals and Janetha suggested a day-by-day calendar. I was actually quite entertained by the responses!!

In other news, I was up at 5:30 am for spin class today. It was stellar as per usual. I’m actually starting to get to know some of the faces in the class. Not to mention, I feel hardcore in the bike jersey Chris got me for Christmas.

Came back home after to shower and celebrate Waffle Wednesday. 

Two Nature’s Path maple cinnamon waffles topped with a blended ricotta-cashew butter-cinnamon-maple syrup mixture. I was pressed for time, but still managed to get in a fantastic waffle feast :)

Work eats look disgusting, but I promise they were fantastic.


Morning snack was yogurt mixed with vanilla protein powder and strawberries. For lunch I had leftovers a la Leah! I have a fridge next to my office, and I’ve been eating in a cafeteria with a microwave. It feels like such a luxury to have a hot lunch! (how sad is that?). Anyways, it was Indian Cauliflower Stew with added shrimp. Afternoon snack attack was two carrot cake protein squares and a cheese string.  

Nothing exciting to report from work. I ran into an old colleague at the drug store after, and he was asking me all about switching from journalism to communications. Or as reporters call it – “going to the dark side.” PR work is a whole different ball game. Totally different than journalism work. I feel like I have so much to re-learn (and forget!).

I bought a can of baked beans a while back after seeing them on Caitlin’s blog so frequently. I suddenly had a hankering for them and eggs for dinner. Breakfast supper of champions.

With an egg scramble. Various veggies from the fridge with cottage cheese and laughing cow cheese. What really made it was the green olives I added. Green olives and eggs are such a fantastic flavour duo!



My three addictions wrapped into one. Date + PB + M&Ms. Times two.


So a while back, I was a recipient of a Beautiful Blogger Award by Averie – a beautiful blogger herself ;) It’s about time I display it proudly!!

With the award, I must divulge seven random facts about myself. I’ve done this a few times, but I suppose I can always dig up a few more things to share…

  1. I don’t like wine. I’ve tried, numerous times. But I just never developed the palette for it.
  2. Babies scare me. They’re cute to look at, but please don’t ask me to hold or interact with one.
  3. I refuse to have the colour pink anywhere on my road bike.
  4. A childhood friend died downhill skiing when I was 10 years old. I’ve since developed a fear of ski hills and have only ever done cross-country.
  5. I only own two exercise bras. Instead of doing laundry every day, I often hand wash them in my sink between washes.
  6. The Beatles are my favourite band of all time. You will be “shushed” if one of their songs comes on the radio.
  7. I’m still wearing that headband. It’s keeping my forehead warm!

I must pass this on to seven other bloggers. In order to keep this fair, I randomly picked seven people who commented on my last post. Kinda like a giveaway, except it’s a jpeg and not something you can eat ;)

Lizzy ( actually picked you three times!!)

Wow, is pretty smart. All totally deserving and beautiful bloggers in my opinion!!

Speaking of smart websites, I urge you to go check out Ask it something, although the responses aren’t always that clever..

Okee, bedtime! See ya tomorrow!