How Taking a Spin Class (Didn’t) Hurt My Manhood

As I wrapped up my amazing 4th of July weekend last night, I tried to scramble to figure out what workout I wanted to do the following morning. As I sat in front of the TV watching ESPN FC (yes, I’m a soccer hooligan), I wanted to do something different than the “Big Lift, Big Results” I got from one of my go-to websites, Primer Magazine.

I knew I had drank and ate like I wanted to be the poster child for America by eating whatever I thought sounded good and drinking craft  beer at every stop. To be fair, I was in Milwaukee, WI – also known as Brew City – and they have an awesome craft beer culture. Even so much so that we may or may not have brought home a case of Spotted Cow beer. That’s not a very Midwestern-sounding name at all…

New Glarus Spotted CowSo back to my coming to terms with the decisions I made during the holiday known as America’s birthday. I knew that I probably needed more cardio than heavy lifting. I needed to really jump-start my metabolism and get my body going again so the first thing that came to mind was a kick-boxing workout. I Googled some routines, but didn’t really find much that interested me.

FUN FACT: according to YouTube, females apparently LOVE kick boxing so be careful, fellas. She might toss you around…

Well anyways, I finally picked a kickboxing workout, but it was very reluctantly that I picked it. I think I was just getting too tired to care so I chose the one I was looking at. Settling is never a good idea ESPECIALLY when it’s a workout.

When I woke up bright and early at 4:40 AM this morning, the first thing I thought was, “Well I really don’t have a workout ready, but there is a spin class at the gym.”

Note: I don’t own a bike so I don’t ride a lot. By no means am I a cyclist in any sense of the term, but I can fake it well as I stand next to my brother and dad who can bike like champs. I mean, they’ve done RAGBRAI.

Dad Bike TripSo back to this spin class thing. I’ve been working out at an L.A. Fitness gym for about seven months now. In the winter months, this spin class was packed. They even had a sign-up sheet when you walked in so I never bothered because I hate fighting other people to get my workout in. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday like clockwork, lots of people would take this class, but I noticed that it was mainly women. Now some of you might think that would be perfect for a guy, but thankfully I’m happily in a relationship and I don’t think she’d be too happy with that and I couldn’t blame her!

One of the guys I have gotten to know at the gym picked up a an injury (shoulder or back – I can’t remember) so he needed to find an alternative to his normal lifting routine. He took the spin class a couple of times and asked me if I was interested. I made up some generic excuse (“I’m in the middle of a workout plan, so when I’m done I definitely will!”).

Well today, I didn’t have an excuse and even worse, I didn’t have a workout planned. I feel like I’m in pretty good shape these days, but I had no idea what kind of beast this spin class was going to be. Instead of me telling you about all of the “hills” we climbed, I want to show you my heart rate during the workout, calories burned and my rating of the workout.

NOTE: All images are screenshots from my iCardio mobile app.

Heart Rate Zones (Graph)

Heart Rate Zones (Pie Chart)

Workout Rating

Workout SummarySo guys you can see that my spin class was an intense workout. I only had a casual 5-minute warm-up bike ride, the 45-minute spin class and light stretching to finish. I couldn’t have imagined the spin class being a more perfect workout for my post-4th of July weekend to start of the week right. Also, I like keeping my body guessing so this was a nice change of pace. Nice, but not easy.

digifit icardio app

Setting Up a System for Success

Now most people know that exercise is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle, but I learned it takes more than just being active. What I’m going to outline below are the tools I used that allowed me to lose 50 lbs.

If you are looking for what workouts I did or what supplements I used, I will go over that in another post.

Quick overview of my workout history:

  • I never lifted consistently in my life
  • I played soccer in college and was exposed to many lifting techniques and equipment
  • Through playing sports over the years, I have a strong mental attitude and am competitive

WHO CAN USE THESE TOOLS?

Anybody can use these tools. They are either low-cost or free and you don’t need to be a professional bodybuilder to figure them out.

WHAT ARE THE TOOLS?

The tools I use are a heart rate monitor, a mobile app to track the calories burned, a scale and a food diary to track calories consumed.

WHEN DID YOU USE THESE TOOLS?

Every. Single. Day.

WHY DO I NEED THESE?

The main reason why it is important to use the tools below is to help you track how many calories you are burning compared to how many calories you are taking in. The best comparison I thought about during this process was to treat it like a checking account: you want to create a caloric deficit (burn more calories than you take in) in order to lose weight. If I burned more calories in a workout, then I knew I could “afford” to have that late afternoon snack at work.

 

Alright it’s time to get to specifics. Here are the tools and how I used them:

Heart Rate Monitor (HRM): POLAR WEARLINK®+ TRANSMITTER WITH BLUETOOTH®

I bought mine online off of Ebay. Like usual, searching for these products online will usually offer lower prices.

Polar Bluetooth HRM

Polar Bluetooth HRM

Mobile App: Digifit iCardio for Android

No worries, this app is also available in the iTunes store. I upgraded right away to the Sensor Support for $2.99 in order to sync with my HRM.

digifit icardio app

Digifit iCardio for Android

Weight Scale: Amazon Digital Scales

Here is a list of digital scales on Amazon. I have found that the more you spend on a scale, the better the accuracy. For example, I bought a scale for $50 from Homedic and it was not as accurate as I would have liked. An analog scale will be your best bet for a cheap solution.

Food Diary: myfitnesspal

I chose this food diary because the Digifit iCardio app syncs to myfitnesspal seamlessly. Whenever I finish a workout, I just hit upload and when I log into myfitnesspal, my calories burned are already there.

myfitnesspal

myfitnesspal Food Diary

If you would like specific steps on setting all of these up and how to sync your HRM with your phone, just leave a comment and I’ll be sure to put up “How-To” guides. Remember, I won’t know you want these guides unless you tell me!

I will also write quick follow-ups on each tool so you can get an idea of how I specifically used each one. I just wanted to get this first article out for the fast-acting group who want to get the equipment before I dig deeper into the actual workouts and supplements I used.

What To Expect

Hello ambitious people of the good world!

My name is Brandon and I have been working to become a better, more efficient and effective person. More specifically, I have been working on three areas of my life that I want to master: health, personal finances and professional skills.

Here you will find my experiences, both successes and failures, so that we can learn and grow as a group. I hope that my thoughts will encourage discussion while providing an outlet for you to bring ideas to this blog to be featured.

I will also be opening up my social media sites to add extra content beyond the blog. Here is what I will focus each site on:

  • LinkedIn: professional and casual connections
  • Twitter: personal interests such as soccer, entrepreneurship and friendly banter with people
  • Instagram: photos mainly revolving around my experiences and lots of cooking pictures
  • Pinterest: recipes and fashion ideas
  • Foursquare: reviews and tips for places I visit
  • Snapchat: random acts of spontaneity (add me “bbbusbee”)

Lastly I would like to end with some honesty and a personal request from you all. Part of the reason I am opening up my life and experiences is so I can lean on you all to help me follow through on goals and projects that I start. This is the trade-off for you getting an inside look at my journey and I promise not to make this one-sided, so I am asking you to do the same. Please do not just consume without giving feedback, ideas or just a casual hi! This will help me to keep the content valuable for you guys as well.

Here is a toast to the start of a long, prosperous journey!

Brandon