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What I learned at Schwinn training

Posted Mar 07 2011 7:49am

Good morning friends!

How was your weekend? Did you get up to anything super fun and exciting? Mine totally flew by as usual and I can’t believe it’s Monday already.

As you may remember, one of my goals for March is to complete a Schwinn cycling certification. This past Saturday, I spent a slightly uncomfortable number of hours with my butt glued to a bike seat, learning from a very clever and talented Master Trainer named James. This goal was mainly set out of personal interest, and to learn about how to make my existing classes better, but I also earned the Continuing Education Credits I need to maintain my Fitness Instructor Specialist credentials for the year.  Although the course covered a lot of material that I’d heard about in my previous training programs, we still talked about plenty of interesting stuff that I thought would be worth sharing with you today.

Did you know….

Flywheels: There are 2 breeds of flywheel on indoor cycling bikes. Some, like the Keiser M3, are evenly weighted, and look like this:

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Others are outside-weighted, and are a bit like a pizza with a big crust around the edge. (If you ride a Spinning or Schwinn bike, you’ve probably got the pizza crust/outside-weighted wheel.

(Source)

What’s the difference? Well, the evenly weighted wheel usually weighs between 30-40lbs and is the one that fitness participants (as opposed to outdoor road/mountain cyclists) find to be smoother because it is easier to get moving. The outside weighted flywheel is different because as the name suggests, the weight is distributed around the edge, and this makes it more similar to riding a real bike outdoors. Because of this, it’s often preferred by people who are used to outdoor cycling.

Brakes: Have you ever gone into a class, jumped on a bike, and found that you have to turn the resistance dial around and around and around until you start to feel even the littlest bit of friction? Then, you might go and get on another bike and even the slightest touch of the dial slows your legs down right away? This is to do with the braking cable.

(Source)

When you turn the dial and your legs slow down right away, this means that the cable is pretty new – it stretches back to its original shape easily. If you find that you’ve got to turn and turn and turn forever until you feel a change, this means that the cable is probably older and overstretched.

Shoes: I’ve talked about cycling shoes before (in this post ), but one thing I didn’t mention is that spin shoes will not help you to burn more calories. Special fancy-shmancy shoes aren’t even necessary for doing indoor cycling classes – their number one function is comfort. Think about it like this: when you’re riding a bike with regular running shoes on, the majority of the pressure is being applied to the pedal through the ball of your foot.

(Source)

(I thought you might enjoy looking at someone’s foot sketch, rather than the bottom of a real foot. You’re welcome.) The difference with cycling shoes is that the bottom contains a metal plate, which helps you to distribute the pressure over a larger surface area. The plate is a little different depending on the shoe. Road cycling shoes have a much stiffer plate because road cyclists don’t really have to do much walking around…

(Source)

…whereas a shoe designed for mountain or trail riding has a sole that’s a little more flexible so these riders could potentially get off their bikes, carry them around, walk up part of a trail… you get the idea. You wouldn’t be able to do this with a road shoe because 1) the sole would be waaaay too stiff, 2) they have no grip, and 3) as a result, you’d look like a tool trying to walk up a hill. I don’t want you to look like a tool, which is why I’m telling you this.

(Source)

Pedals: Manufacturers don’t usually ship indoor cycling bikes with the pedals (from what I’ve been told anyway – there may be  some that do). This is because different pedals have different clips which are suitable for different types of shoe cleat systems. However, the Schwinn Triple Link pedal is a superstar because it’s got 3 options – you can use the cage if you don’t have spin shoes, or you can clip in using an SPD or Look-style cleat. (These are the 2 most common cleats – check out my spinning shoes post for more details). This is a good thing for gyms that purchase indoor cycling bikes because it means they can accommodate the majority of riders. How crappy would it be to buy your shoes, then join a gym that has bikes you can’t clip into?

(Source)

And that, dear bloggies, is your cycling education for today! Do you feel super nerdy now? :P

Of course, to fuel all the learning and cycling, there had to be some food. The snackage included:

A let’s-clean-out-the-veggie-drawer salad

  • shredded chicken breast
  • red and orange peppers
  • cucumber
  • spring onion
  • a drizzle of Greek Feta salad dressing
  • lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper

Another mix featuring…

  • flaked light tuna (also works well with canned salmon)
  • edamame
  • cucumber
  • rice wine vinegar and lime juice
  • a pinch of ground ginger and chili flakes

Veggies and some leftover Smoked Paprika and Eggplant Dip with Herb and Garlic Crackers

… and a Cinnamon Simply Bar.

In other weekend events, there was a Starbucks reunion with 2 of my university buddies, a much-needed trip to Wal Mart for a new printer (I also got 20 pairs of socks for $10… bargain!!!), and some cooking… but more about that later this week. It’s work time for me, so I’ll finish off with my questions for today:

  • If you’re a group cycling instructor, which certification course did you take? What did you like/dislike about it?
  • What did you get up to this weekend?

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