Monthly Archives: July 2015

3500 Calories and Trends in Indoor Cycling

Hello! I’m back for my final IDEA World Fitness recap! This one will mainly focus on some controversial topics in indoor cycling today.

Session 1: Revisiting the 3500 Calorie Rule

We’ve all heard this, right? 3500 calories equals a pound. A 3500 pounds deficit in a week= a pound of weight lost over a week. Did you ever wonder where this came from?

The calculation comes from the energy released by burning a certain mass of fat (based on a bomb calorimeter for my science minded friends). Human fat tissue is 87% fat and 13% water, so when water is factored out, we get about 3500 calories.

If this is true, how come when a person cuts calories and loses weight, the weight loss plateaus? There are a few reasons. The first is initially a lot of water weight is lost. At the beginning of weight loss, the body burns lots of glycogen (carbs), which absorbs water. But besides just the original water weight, weight loss also slows for several other reasons:

-Resting metabolic rate decreases. In a calorie deficit, the body adapts and becomes more efficient. Additionally, a lower body mass means a lower calorie need. So what can we do? 1. Reduce calorie deficit slowly so that the body doesn’t adapt as much and 2. Be realistic about weight loss expectations and timeline.

Session 2: Hot Topics in the Saddle

My final session of IDEA was with Amy Dixon, who won fitness instructor of the year at the opening ceremonies. Needless to say I was in good hands! This session focused on several newly emerging trends in the cycling world today, and I’d like to share a few things with you from that!


1. Spinning with lots of resistance on the bike will make your legs big.

There’s a rumor going around the media these days that spin will make your legs bulky. Celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson stated that cycling will make your legs bulky. Why is this not the case? First of all, we don’t have the testosterone necessary to make us bulky (we as in women). Second, spin is cardio, not strength training. To really build muscle mass, you need muscle hypertrophy (an increase in the size of the muscle), which happens when you are pushing as much resistance as you can, and couldn’t do one more rep (like testing your one rep max squat). Are you ever doing that in a spin class? Doing at something at a one rep capacity? Let me break it down. 80 revolutions per minute. 45 minutes. That’s 3600 reps. That will not increase your muscle mass. You may get a temporary muscle pump, caused by an increased blood flow to the muscle working, but that goes away quickly.

2. Upper body strength work on the bike

I will go right out and say it-I don’t believe in. I still go to some classes that do it, which makes me hypocritical, but I don’t believe in. So what did the best fitness instructor of 2015 have to say about it?

Don’t do it! First of all, it’s not something you would do on an outdoor bike, and most spin programs are based on outdoor cycling. Some other reasons?

-Thousands of studies have shown that by doing upper body work on the bike, you reduce the overall power output.

-You can only really focus on one plane of movement.

-You aren’t in the correct position to do these exercises. In addition, because of this it’s not really functional.

-It’s really only shoulders and triceps, not total body.

-It’s overstimulation of the front of the shoulders, which are already worked just being on a bike normally. Most people who spend all day on a computer are in this same position-we really should be focusing on extension to counteract all of this. This can lead to muscle imbalances.

-You can’t continue to get stronger. There’s only so much you can do with 2 lb dumbbells, and after a few weeks you will plateau-and it’s not practical to have bigger, heavier weights on a bike. Therefore, there’s a limit to the strength that can be gained.

The cycling portion of the workout was awesome and high energy, and I left feeling so inspired and grateful. What a fantastic way to end the week.


I refueled with a free sample from the previous day, and put some fresh clothes on before heading to the airport.

I can’t express enough how amazing this conference was. The expo was a lot of fun, the people were awesome and excited and enthusiastic, and I was doing something I loved and care deeply for. I really do feel like I found myself again at the conference, and I’m excited to take what I learned back to my classes. I definitely want to go back next year!



Idea Days 2 & 3-Hormones, Cycling Playlists, Metabolic Training

Hello! I’m back home now. Thankfully I don’t have work today, so I’m hanging out at Starbucks with a (decaf) iced latte so I can do justice to the amazing past few days that I had.


Session 1: Balancing Hormones Through Nutrition

This session was okay. It was more science based than the lecture I had been to the previous night, but at this point I’ve learned enough about the science nutrition through so many different sources that I’ve developed my own personal view of it so things like this I either take or leave. The lecturer had a very holistic view of health, and had a degree in holistic health (as well as other Biochem degrees). She began talking about hormones (which was the part of the lecture I enjoyed the most). Some takeaways:

-We can’t separate the mind and body. Thoughts lead to biochemical messages to the body. We secrete chemicals that lead us to feel what we are thinking.

-Physically, an emotion lasts 90 seconds in the body. (For example, the neuropeptides secreted during anger last for 90 seconds)

-Excessive exercise leads to excessive stress, which suppresses the immune system. 80% of fitness professionals have lowered immune systems.

-Every body is different and may react differently to different foods.

Honestly, where she lost me was when she started talking about when our hormones are off, we need a nutritional detox, consisting of a vegan diet (temporarily, while things reset). I totally agree that we should eat plant based food that is rich in nutrients, but I’m not entirely onboard with the concern about acidity/alkalinity in the body, because as someone who suffered stomach damage related to high acid levels, I wouldn’t eat some of the foods she preaches.


If it’s something you’re interested in, the concept is certain foods leave the body with overall acidity (meat, dairy, grains) and plant foods create an alkaline (basic) environment. I agree that this is true, I’m just not sure it matters all that much. She also sort of lost me when she mentioned to cure illness, we should chew on garlic. I’m not sure I buy that! That’s just my view though!

My second session was exercise science. I’m going to do an entire post on that because the session was AWESOME. I was in love.

Then, it was lunchtime. I actually thought the food options there were really good. I had a teriyaki chicken bowl with brown rice for lunch, and a little bit later, a gluten free blueberry muffin.

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That being said, I went through most of my food supply, simply because with that much activity, I was constantly hungry, and therefore constantly eating. I ate my entire stash of Luna bars (partly because I had one for breakfast each morning). That teriyaki bowl was the first real food I had had in a while so it was amazing! Lots and lots of bars were consumed though.

Session 3: Schwinn Cycling Metabolic Mash Up

One great thing about the workshops is that we were given the playlist+choreography for the entire ride, so we can take it back to our classes! I’m spin certified through Spinning, and it was interesting to see another program’s view. I’ll do a separate post on my overall impressions of Spinning vs Schwinn as well!

This session focused on metabolic training, which is basically training in a series of intervals in a way that helps you get the most out of the workout (in terms of overall fitness as well as calorie burn). Some well known examples of this are HIIT and tabata training.

There are two ways to train-aerobically and anaerobically. Anaerobic means “without oxygen,” and this is the feeling of breathlessness in a workout. This is a maximum effort, and cannot be held for more than a minute or so (depending on fitness level). When you’re huffing and puffing on the treadmill for 20 minutes, although you are out of breath, you aren’t breathless, because you are maintaining that activity level of an extended period of time. I’ll talk a little bit more about this in my exercise science post.

When building metabolic conditioning into class, it’s essential to build in recovery as well. The following picture shows some different types of intervals-all of which we tested out in the workout portion of the workshop!


We also utilized a projector screen during the workout which showed our stats compared to the other riders, which was a little added motivation!

My last session of the day was part of the Spri Summer Games, a competition against other attendees. I was signed up as part of the college program. I think the college program is still in its early phase, because I don’t think there were that many attendees! I only met a couple of other college students. The competition was 4 stations-jumprope, kettle bell high pulls, and then a couple of things I hadn’t done before. One was on paralettes, and the other involved leaping on and off of a step. We had 30 seconds of max effort at each station. The people with the highest scores at each station advanced to a final round. I did not win.


I was pretty beat, and headed back to the hotel for a night of Netflix. By the time I went out for dinner, almost everywhere nearby was closed so I stopped at a cheesesteak place for a salad and cheddar broccoli potato.



Saturday was a LONG day. And the crazy thing? It rained all day! Like I actually got wet walking back in the evening!


Session 1: Schwinn Pimp My Playlist

This was fantastic. Music is something I’m always keeping an ear out for, and a few tips were greatly appreciated!

-This about the audience, time, and location of the class when making music decisions.

-Create a playlist with texture (I love this because it describes it perfectly.) You want a riding experience with music that follows a journey, with crescendos and bumps. You don’t want all techno, you don’t want all country.

Here are a few places to look to for new music or music mixing:

-iTunes top music-start at the bottom and work your way to the top to find new music and get ahead of the curve.

-Spotify as a search engine-you can follow other fitness instructors to see their playlists!

-SoundCloud-good for mash ups.

-ClickMix-Say you want a 8 minute hill and have 3 songs, but don’t want the music to stop in between songs. ClickMix can meld together songs of your choice.

This is also a good time to mention the Schwinn app. I’ve had it before but didn’t really know how to use it. It’s actually awesome-it’s designed to be user friendly in terms of where the buttons are, and you can overlay sound effects on the spot. The coolest thing? You can adjust the pace of music (i.e. speed it up) on the spot in class. It also allows you to save notes for each song.

Session 2: Jillian Michaels Bodyshred

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know a lot about Jillian Michaels, other than that this was a workout a lot of people were excited for, because she led it herself. It was in a big room with hundreds of people, and was bodyweight based, plus some water bottles for weights. I wasn’t exactly clear on the concept, but it’s a total body workout where you do each move for 30 seconds. There are some recovery moves built in but you’re moving constantly for 30 minutes. It was a pretty good workout, but in a crowded room it was a bit hard to move around. That and my legs were already wiped from spin! The energy in the room was awesome though!

I was starving after this, and got a fruit cup and turkey wrap for lunch.


I spent a couple of hours at the expo.



Blueberry smoothie with honey nut cheerios blended in=delicious.

Session 3: Keiser Cycling

I wanted to try a non-Schwinn workshop, so I decided to pop into this one (I was planning on doing another lecture). Keiser is another bike maker, and we have Keiser bikes at school. The cool thing about this class was the projector screen.


It followed the terrain of the ride, so you felt like you were actually flying downhill! The best part? It also showed little avatars numbered with your bike, that followed your power up the hill. Even though I had already been on the bike for a while that day, it was so motivating to watch that little guy and make him go!

Session 4: Plantar Fasciitis

We discussed imbalances causing plantar fasciitis, especially in the hips and ankles. Strengthening exercises and loosening therapy (like foam rolling) can help alleviate the pain.

That night, I went back out with my new friends.

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Despite the long day, I stayed out quite a bit later than would have been ideal for my sleep levels! When in LA! Sidenote-I actually had to stop at a store to buy some clothes to wear because I packed very few non-workout clothes! Whoops.

Day 4 recap to come!



Coming Soon

Hello! I’m waiting at the airport in LA for my flight. I’m waiting until later to do my full recaps because I’m so incredibly tired right now that I simply couldn’t so them justice. I’ve been at the airport for a few hours because of my flight time/the time the conference ended and I just watched Netflix but I figured I might as well try to do a quick wrap up!


I had 2 sessions today, and just walked away with so much energy (well, inspirational energy, not physical energy). In 4 days, I did 6 cycling workshops, and 9 total workouts. On top of that, the mornings were early and the evenings were late thanks to time with new friends.

This conference was just such an amazing experience. I learned a lot and got a lot of great ideas for my spin classes. It was also awesome being with so many energetic people so passionate about fitness.


I’ve never been so excited to be a fitness instructor and have the opportunity to help people find health. I feel like my passion for health and fitness has been waning a bit lately because I’ve had so much else going on, but this was completely refreshing. I feel like I’ve found myself again. I truly believe fitness has made me who I am, and is a huge part of me. When it’s not a big focus in my life, I feel like I’m not myself.

I also forgot how much I love the gym atmosphere. Since coming to college, I don’t spend much time in gyms taking group fitness classes, and there really is a great energy there.

I can’t wait to take what I learned and apply it both to my own workouts and to my spin classes!

I promise a full recap soon with information I received at the sessions and workshops, but for now I need to 1. board the plane and 2. SLEEP.


IDEA World Day 1

Hello! I am currently sitting in bed in my PJs in my hotel room. I am 2 days into Idea World Fitness! It has been SUCH an awesome experience so far! Definitely tiring though! I think I’m finally getting the energy back that I could have really used this morning! I want to recap the first couple of days of the conference while it’s still fresh in my mind!


My first session of the day was a Schwinn cycling class! They broke our their new computer consoles for the first time ever, and they were very intuitive! Although I’m more familiar with Spinning bikes, the Schwinn bikes are nice as well. The class was tough. We got to see our stats on the front screen for certain difficult portions of class, and when you’re in a class with 50 other spin instructors, you push pretty hard!


With jello legs, I walked straight over to my next session, RealRyder indoor cycling.


RealRyder bikes move side to side and mimic the feel of a real bike on the road. I hadn’t tried these before, and when I heard about them I was expecting them to be turning at a 45 degree angle sideways, which is not the case!


It’s more subtle, and it’s mostly the front of the bike/handlebars that move. This bike is considered a big advancement in indoor cycling because it allows cyclists to more accurately practice their sport. Additionally, it adds in an added core effort. Possibly one of its biggest selling points though is that it is much easier on the body than a regular spin bike, which can be beneficial to people rehabbing from back or knee injuries. This is because on a more traditional stationary bike, the frame of the bike and the rider’s joints absorb sideways movement, and these bikes allow movement so they aren’t so jarring.

This was a tough ride. When I stood on the bike, it immediately felt like standing on a road bike. I’m only now able to stand on my bike outside through lots of practice/added strength. Side story-when I came to college I hadn’t ridden a bike in years and riding for me was not pretty. At all. After taking this class, I think one of the reasons I had so much trouble outdoors was because I was so used to normal spin bikes, which don’t allow for movement at all!

Anyways, when I stood on this bike, it was not too pretty either. There is definitely a learning curve, and you can’t cheat. You have to keep your weight back towards the saddle and absorb everything with the quads. Otherwise, the handlebars will move side to side like crazy. I actually got an IDEA Inspiration medal for being the most improved in the class! This was a pretty small class, probably because it was the first morning, so the intimate setting made the experience even better because we could all ask questions. Additionally, I met a friend in the class who I was able to tag along to Opening Ceremonies with, immediately after (and I had no clue how to get there so this was lucky!).

Opening ceremonies were pretty cool. They gave out some fitness/trainer awards, and brought in a couple of motivational speakers, one of them being a wrestler who was born without a leg, and worked incredibly hard to win D1 NCAAs.


After that, we both walked over to the Expo. It was pretty intimidating. I was also starving, and the free samples were a welcome lunch. Kellogg’s had breakfast sandwiches which were heaven. I think I also had an absurd amount of granola bars yesterday, but what are you gonna do? It was nice having someone to navigate the Expo with who although it was also her first time, was much more savvy than I am.

My first after lunch session was Small Group Sports Conditioning, which was a lot of fun. We learned about training clients in a small group setting, and incorporating agility, power, and strength drills into the workouts. I really enjoyed this session because I’ve been on the other side of Small Group Sports Conditioning (as a participant) quite a bit in my softball-playing past. We did all kinds of cone and ladder drills, and it was a fun team setting. I hope to incorporate more of these things to my future workouts-even though I’m not an “athlete” anymore, I think agility is key to being fit for life and also for injury prevention. A couple of tidbits: For agility training, the work to rest ratio should be about 1:1. For Speedwork, the work to rest ratio should be about 1:3-4. Also interesting-for adult athletes with novice experience, the training volume per session should only be about 80-100 footsteps before you run into the potential for injury.

My final session was Women, Hormones, and Training. Honestly, I was pretty disappointed with this one.


I feel like it was mostly stating things that are fairly common knowledge, although maybe it’s because I have a pretty strong science background. The takeaway is that to change the shape of your body, you really need to strength train. You can use cardio to lose weight, but it won’t change your shape very much.

I walked out of the lecture starving and headed to the Expo to try a few samples I hadn’t hit up earlier, including Arctic Zero. I honestly don’t know what to think of it. It’s definitely not ice cream, and seemed pretty watery to me, but I might consider it as a lighter alternative on a hot day.

I then hightailed it back to my hotel to shove food in my mouth and clean up after a long day of workouts. Thursday night was the Idea party.

My new friend and I met up for drinks before heading over, and it was great to get to know new people! In addition, there was some pretty good food at the party! Healthy, of course. There was a really nice salad bar, a carving station, amazing cornbread, and pasta.

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I had to #leavemymark. #GoStanford. There was supposed to be a place for the students in the college program to meet up at the party, but I never found it.

We ended up not spending too much time at the party and instead went down to the lobby of the hotel where the event was being held and met more new people. I ended up staying out far too late given I had an 8am session the next morning, but it was a great first day! More recaps to come 🙂

I’m Going to Idea World!

Hello from LA!

This afternoon, I flew in to attend the Idea World Fitness Conference, as part of the College Discovery program. To say I’m excited would be an understatement! I’ve never actually been to downtown LA before-just in the area. I will definitely do a nice full recap of this trip and the sessions! I am mainly going to spin sessions and Nutrition/Science lectures, but there are also other fun things here like the Urban Party tomorrow night (not really sure what that will be like) and the big Nutrition/Fitness Expo. My morning begins bright and early tomorrow for a 7am spin class by Schwinn. I’m taking quite a few Schwinn courses while I’m here, and since I’m certified in Spinning brand of indoor cycling, I’m very interested to see how the philosophies of the two organizations are similar and different!

My morning began with a simple breakfast of eggs and mango, plus half of a Luna bar.


My workout today was lots of Olympic lifting with my trainer. My snatches were not so good today, but the cleans are getting a lot better, and felt good! Plus, my hip is feeling WAY better. I’m going to still baby it a bit though and try to only squat in a controlled manner (like a back squat, not a burpee). My puppy came to pick my up from my workout since my car was in the shop, and she had her first walk outside since she is almost totally vaccinated!


Once home, I was super rushed to pack, eat, and shower. Lunch was leftovers. Chicken breast, carrots, and asparagus with goat cheese. Plus the other half of my Luna bar.


The trip here was short and uneventful-the taxi ride to my hotel was super expensive and long though because this is LA! I have actually had the worst experience with my hotel thus far in that I wasn’t happy with how they charged me originally, and then it took FOREVER to get checked in. I guess it’s kind of an apartment complex so there’s no lobby to check in at exactly. On the plus side, my room is actually super nice. It’s basically  a studio apartment with a full kitchen and everything. I’m less than a mile from the center where the event is held. I checked in today, and while where I’m staying is a good area and the expo is in a good area, Google maps routed me through a not so great area. Given I’m going to be by myself, I’m happy I found a much better (and more direct) route!


I was actually pretty lost trying to find the Convention Center. To make it worse, I walked through the area where the ESPY’s are going on! I finally got close enough to see people with IDEA bags walking away and was able to find it!

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I stopped at a Carvery for dinner on the way back and got a salad with kale, avocado, and chicken. Perfect!


On the way back, I stopped at a grocery for some food and snacks. I’m not sure what the food situation will be like, and I’m worried about my stomach acting up, so I tried to really stock up. I’m hoping I’m not eating Luna bars for every meal! I found a salad for lunch tomorrow. I also tried soy nut butter for the first time. The verdict? I like it! It doesn’t seem as fatty as sunflower seed butter (which can be good or bad depending on what you’re looking for), and it definitely doesn’t taste like peanut butter, but it’s nice to mix it up!



It’s about 8pm here now, and since I have quite a big day tomorrow, I’m probably going to watch a little Netflix before calling it a night!

Have you ever been to a conference?