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Does Your Spinning Program Schedule Recovery Energy Zone Classes?

Today I taught my first REZ class. I have had the privilege of doing several Recovery Rides but have never taught one before. Reviewing the REZ in the Instructor Manual and checking on the Recovery Rides in the two current Spinning® Ridebooks, I felt that I had plenty to work with as I sat down to make my playlist and class ride profile. The class was listed as a Recovery Energy Zone class on our monthly schedule. I had fewer than usual participants arrive to set up their bikes and greater than usual questions about what we were going to be doing! The chatter in the locker room gave me a hint of the questions I would need to address: Why is a Recovery Ride important? Will I get a ?workout?? I can only come to class once this week and is it ok if I go ahead and ride hard? I really understand the value of recovery ? but a whole class of it? Why not just tagged on the end of an existing class? Phew. I had my work cut out for me. And, phew, I was tired at the end of the class ? but in an unexpectedly positive way! Let me explain. I began my class with the usual introductions, safety cautions, etc. The heart rate training level for today would run from 50-65% MHR or RPE 10-13. As the manual states, ?We all know how to push, but few know how to rest.? I suggested that we work hard to gain strength, power and endurance and it is in the recovery that we bank our gains. Without recovery our training becomes too stressful to the body which responds by wearing out, breaking down and becoming slower and less efficient. Mentally a Recovery Ride is a challenge and an opportunity. Designed to release tension in the body and mind, it is not designed to be a nap. Rather we are to deliberately and purposefully search for the pockets of stress and tension in our lives and bodies and actively release them. We will then fill that space with renewed energy. Good form is essential. Throughout the training ride we would focus on points of good form, on the internal identification and perception of cadence, intensity and rhythm from both body and breathing. A training ride in the REZ is ?moving meditation.? We scanned our bodies honoring each part with a few seconds of focus. We addressed our positions in the saddle, the connection of the balls of our feet to the pedals and the touch of our hands on the handlebars in hand positions 1 or 2. By the time we transitioned to the mental and emotional aspect of the ride, I could see by their faces that every one in the class was ?getting it? and each had entered the space that a Recovery Ride fills. Some rode with focused eyes; some with eyes closed. I asked them to search for any thoughts that were stressful, unpleasant or negative in any way and to remove those thoughts. ?Allow yourself to settle into a calm state ? the eye of the storm, that space just before sleep.? Gradually we returned. We came ?back to reality? and began to feel the energy seeping in. I like to use the analogy of a sponge: we squeeze every drop of water out of the sponge then put it in a bowl of warm water and it steadily refills ready for the next job ? better than before. We had taken several standing breaks during the ride and we had done some gentle pedal stroke drills to reinforce technique. We had discussed balance ? physical, mental, emotional; training balance and lifestyle balance. I had decided prior to this class that if the session benefited even one person, the training would have been a success. My goal was to introduce the concept of recovery to the participants and help them understand its importance and relevance to their own uniquely personal training. Before ending, I invited each to ponder one word that came to mind that might be representative of the value of this experience ? a word that would recall the state they had entered that worked for them. Then I invited anyone who chose to do so to share that word with all of us. Only one person declined. The words were amazing: floating, balance, regeneration, release, possibilities and more. One woman simply said ?hope.? I was blind-sided. I am currently working with a cancer patient who has given new definition to that word for me and we work carefully with hope each time we meet. After class I had one participant say, ?Now I know why we do this-I?m a believer.? Another who is highly taxed professionally said, ?Now I know why I came today; it was just what I needed.? All put their bikes away quietly. I hope there is even more feedback. As I always say, the proof is in the results. We train as we do because it works. But, the kicker was a return to the word ?hope.? I saw the participant in the locker room and thanked her for her contribution. What a poignant moment. With tears in her eyes she shared a story of a relative battling for his life and the effect it was having on the family ? how the word filled her mind and sustained her ride ? how she would go forward with a renewed sense of hope that everyone would be able to meet the demands of this family struggle. So, do you offer REZ classes at your Spinning® studio? Blog posted by Linda Freeman for www.spinning.com 1-20-2011.
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