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Train Hard…And Smart: Understanding the Five Spinning Energy Zones™

Believe it or not, you could be working out too hard. To help you recognize the importance of developing an aerobic foundation and balancing the application of aerobic and anaerobic exercise, the Spinning® program divides workout formats into five categories called Energy Zones™. The five zones are: Endurance, Strength, Interval, Race Day and Recovery. The variety of movements available to attain the prescribed heart rates in the Energy Zones generates much of the excitement, challenge and creativity of the Spinning program.

Remember that regardless of workout format, you can control the effort level of your workout by monitoring your heart rate. The beauty and efficiency of the Spinning program is that you have the freedom to exercise at your own pace, on your own bike, yet still enjoy the energy and inspiration of group exercise.

While the Energy Zones are divided according to heart rates, note that heart rate range is merely one physical component of training in a particular Energy Zone. Each zone is also characterized by several physical and mental components. A rider may attain the same heart rates with the same pedaling style during totally different workouts.

The Spinning Energy Zones are the foundation of the Spinning program and the main reason why Spinning has achieved a higher level of sophistication than other group exercise programs that fail to recognize the importance of heart rate parameters and specificity of training. Here is an overview of the five Spinning Energy Zones:

Endurance training is the heart and soul of any successful exercise program and most of your total training time should be spent in the Endurance Energy Zone™. Endurance training is the foundation upon which we build our health and performance goals. In the Spinning® Endurance Energy Zone, or low-end endurance (65-75% MHR), you improve physical health, increase energy stores, improve heart and lung function and burn body fat. In performance terms, endurance training increases aerobic capacity, builds muscular endurance and improves cycling efficiency. Endurance training is also mentally challenging, providing an excellent opportunity to develop cognitive skills applicable to competition and to the stresses of daily life. Try Spinning DVDs Ultimate Energy and Ride On for Endurance Energy Zone rides.

The Strength Energy Zone™ improves muscular endurance, as well as mental strength. By learning to develop the mental stamina to overcome obstacles, you learn to develop the self confidence needed to overcome challenges in all areas of life. Taking this a step further, you have the opportunity to find the champion within through hard work, persistence and perspiration rather than ego. Check out Spinning DVDs Turn and Burn and Pedal Power for  Strength Energy Zone rides.

Aerobic/anaerobic interval training workouts help you push past your current fitness levels once you’ve established a strong aerobic base through endurance training. The Interval Energy Zone™ is essential to anyone interested in improving their fitness level, enhancing their performance or changing their metabolism. It is a form of training in which short to moderate periods of hard (to very hard) work are alternated with short to moderate periods of rest or reduced activity. Interval training challenges your body to carry and deliver more oxygen to muscle cells for short periods of intense work before too much lactate accumulates preventing the continuation of work. Interval training generally involves sets, repetitions, training time or distance, frequency, work interval and recovery interval. The Spinning DVD Crank It Up provides a fun Interval Energy Zone ride.

Race Day
Race Day is a chance to apply consistent training to a peak performance effort. It’s the Spinning program equivalent of a cyclist’s time trial. This means that every measure must be taken to ensure that you are primed for the challenge. If you follow these guidelines, you are likely to be able to “peak on demand” like a champion athlete:
• Preparation: Develop an aerobic base.
• Rest prior: No anaerobic activity should take place for at least three days prior to a race day ride.
• Health: You must be 100% healthy.
• Stress factors: Minimize other forms of stress in your life immediately prior to the ride.
• Relaxation: Engage in passive activity prior to a race day ride.

Check out Spinning DVD Heart Racer for a Race Day Energy Zone ride.

A recovery training session involves riding at very low intensities with your heart rate between 50–65% of maximum heart rate, or a Rating of Perceived Exertion of 9–12. To attain increased fitness and performance in your activity or sport, you must train with dedication, discipline and greater intensity. What is often overlooked is that intense training, followed by easy days, will yield greater gains in fitness and performance. The objective of the Recovery Energy Zone™ is to create balance in your training plan.

Understanding the five Spinning Energy Zones will help you balance aerobic and anaerobic exercise, so you can experience the benefits of a well-rounded training system.

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