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All This Talk about Endurance, part 2 - the science etc.

In All this talk about Endurance, part 1 ? the scope of the problem, we considered some of the problems with sliding EEZ into our schedule. Some of it rests on the shoulders of the clients who just love to be pounded, and some of this rests on the shoulders of the institution of the fitness industry, which doesn?t perhaps drive the point home enough to fitness leaders. A great emphasis is placed on fitness instructors to be super hard-core fit, when athletically fit might be smarter. This involves a cross over from the fitness studio into the athletic realm, where your work is not part of your overall training program and your training program is progressed and regressed appropriately to meet your athletic goals. But let?s just face it: The onus is on us instructors. We are teachers, we are leaders and we are coaches. As educators, we have to stay on top of the research and do right by our clients, offering variety and sound training opportunities. Granted this is like hitting a moving target. To surf the net is to be swallowed up in a tumultuous tide of research and shifting sands. It is hard to know what is real science and, frankly if you give three people the ?real science? to work with to form a working theory, you?ll get three different approaches. Not only that, there is no escaping that your gym is a business. Science be darned, your managers need to see the numbers to offer you a salary that may or may not lead you to further education in your field. Staying ?popular? is a tough game to negotiate. But this is the stuff of the other blog. If you haven?t read it, find it here: community.spinning.com/.../all-this-talk-about-endurance-1-the-scope-of-the-problem.aspx In this part 2 blog, let?s look at some of the science. I will reiterate, that this is not a strength of mine and I know many of you are exercise physiologists, so I?m just kicking the door open ? c?mon in and help us look at the rationale behind doing endurance classes for our participants. The way I see it we have a couple of aspects to consider. First of all, if you don?t train for a sport, what in your lifestyle demands fitness . . . so we?ll look at the non-athlete?s need for endurance training. Secondly, we have to consider the athlete and the demands of her sport. Then we will look at the heart and other aspects of the body which benefit from endurance training. This is long just setting this up ? I should write a book! In order to keep it a blog, I?ll be brief and let you pitch things in. So, first ? as you look across your class, how many are actually competitive athletes in any sport? I suspect a higher proportion than in the zumba class or the body pump class because Spinning® has been awesome about promoting the bona fide science that would support athletic cross training and off season training. By and large though the general population, according to the ACSM guidelines, needs about 30 minutes of moderate intensity most days of the week. This recommendation is to maintain a healthy heart, for longevity. Consider your gym?s schedule, or if not scheduled, consider the personalities of those who deliver classes ? does your general population have the opportunity to train moderately (ie NOT GO BREATHLESS) most days of the week? No wonder the shift has been to the perception that Spin® class is to get creamed?I?ll do my ?other stuff? on the treadmill on my own?. The point to discuss is: the general population, according to the ACSM guidelines, needs about 30 minutes of moderate intensity most days of the week. For the athletic population ? if the are not endurance athletes, they?ll need to train specifically for their sport for the performance they are seeking. They?ll get their anaerobic training using the muscles they specifically need actually doing that sport. By an large, a sprinter?s fitness level will be improved if the whole system is improved (endurance on the spin bike), but to be a better sprinter (we?re talking running here) that training needs to happen on the track. Up for discussion is specificity training for your athlete. For both your non athletic and your athlete population before you, there is an element of self efficacy ? a notion that they are perfectly capable of being in charge of their own success. I?ll just drop this notion out there to see if anyone takes the bait: Interval training and Strength training on the bike is often externally motivated ? the coach/instructor leads and pushes the class. Endurance training not only trains the endurance capacity of the cv system and the muscular system, but also the head. So, on to the meat ? how does endurance training affect the body? In a nutshell, we?re talking about postponing fatigue, right? How strong and how long can you go before fatigue shuts you out of the game? (and if you?re a non athlete you?re sort of approaching the notion from the other end, where fatigue is a result of a stagnant system). There are many benefits to endurance training including (but not limited to): ? Enhanced 02 exchange in lungs ? Improved blood flow through lungs ? Decreased submaximal respiratory rate ? Decreased submaximal pulmonary ventilation ? Increased cardiac output ? Increased blood volume, red blood cell count and hemoglobin concentration ? Enhanced blood flow to skeletal muscle ? Reduced submaximal heart rate ? Improved thermoregulation ? Increased mitochondrial size and density ? Increased oxidative enzyme concentrations ? Increased myoglobin concentrations ? Increased capillarization in muscle bed ? Increased 02 difference between arterial and venous blood Taken from Essentials of strength training and conditioning (2000) These are physical adaptations which allow the body to perform more efficiently, but we should also understand that there are tremendous gains to be had psychologically when a Spinning® participant is just given some space to work out stuff on the bike: technique, tolerance of discomfort, engagement with the activity. I am going to leave it here, and welcome comments to keep this dialogue active. We?ve looked at the scope of the problem and the physiology behind endurance training. Next we?ll look at how to approach coaching it. Already in some subsequent comments and threads we?ve started looking at music and profile options and I?ll refer back to these in the coming posts. Thoughts? The science / physiology behind endurance training, especially if this is professional strength of yours, I invite comment.
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