Certified Spinning® Instructor, Fatima Batook shares the importance of a "mental warm up" and how to mentally wind down after a tough workout. Find out more about one of the most successful Spinning instructors growing the program in the Middle East.
What is your favorite pre- or post-workout meal?
Favorite pre-workout meal would be to load up on carbohydrates for a longer workout with ½ cup cooked steel-cut oats topped with 1 tablespoon dried fruit and 1 tablespoon shaved almonds. My post-workout meal is my favorite quick snack; tuna crackers. Mix up a batch of light tuna salad for a quick bite. Add two heaping spoonful to a handful of whole grain crackers.
What is your regimen for warming up before a ride?
I always do two kinds of warm ups before a ride. First, I always coach participants with a “mental warm up” to activate their mind/body connection by only focusing on their pedal strokes by creating perfect circular action rather than a push down and pull up. With that, I get myself and the riders in a Spinning class physically and mentally prepared for the ride.
How do you recover after a difficult ride?
To help recover after a difficult ride, I really believe that music is a big factor so using the right slow relaxing sounds will allow me to mentally wind down after a hard workout and gives me and the riders time to reflect on our performance. After the easy flat road, stretching out the muscles is key to help remove metabolic waste products from the muscles and help the body return to a normal range of movement.
Please provide an at-home workout or routine that can be done in place of Spinning for days when one does not have access to a bike.
My at-home/travel go to workout would be the following:5-10 min of warm up with arm circling and light jog in placeRepeat the following for 3 rounds:20 jumping jacks20 squats20 push ups30 second plankRest and recover with light walking in place for 2 minutes and perform stretches for all major muscles.
What is your favorite motivational song?
This is my all-time favorite song is “Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap
Do you have any tricks or phrases that you say (or think to yourself) during a difficult ride or climb?
I love using a dictionary to inspire me with new words and phrases to motivate myself and the class to ride that difficult climb, and I would share the word with the class and explain to them what it means and how can we become this word. So instead of saying “C’mon, we can do it! We are strong!”, I would throw out a word like “Tenacious! Do you know what it means? Persisting in existence, not easily dispelled,” and these words can give me push as well as the riders!
How do you pace yourself and continue to build throughout the ride?
I always listen to my body because sometimes there are days where I don’t have it in me and some days I can push myself further. So the key is to always listen to my body by raising awareness about every part of it. Using the heart rate monitor helps too and keeps me monitoring my performance versus my effort put in which ensures I assess the situation properly and build safely throughout the ride.
How do you make Spinning classes more fun?
There are about a million ways to keep Spinning fun! One of my favorites are our “occasion/party” rides like bridal showers, baby showers, newly wed, graduation and many more! Those are so much fun planning for and decorating the Spinning studio and Spinner® bikes that goes with the theme!
What is one piece of equipment that you find necessary for your workouts?
Heart rate monitor and cycling shoes that I can clip on the bike. I have to have those two to enjoy my rides!
Example of bike stances or techniques for targeting specific parts of the body.
When riding with proper form, the upper body will get into a rhythm and in that slightly bent position on the bike the abdominals activate so it’s not only about legs or weight loss on the bikes. One rule I have in my rides is to always ride with resistance with the right RPM. So even on a flat road that mimics the outdoor cycling, you will be facing some resistance. So we apply that on the Spinner bikes too so its light resistance on a flat road at rpm 80-110 but you feel you are riding for real. With that in mind, it’s no surprise to see we are using large muscle groups in the legs therefore we see thighs, hamstrings and calves begin to take shape.
Define one of your favorite Spinning terms.
Rhythm release would be my favorite term:The Rhythm Stroke technique helps create a fluid rhythm to your pedaling stroke.Select music with a strong, steady even beat. Close your eyes and listen for the downbeat.After finding the beat, focus on the right leg. Emphasize the right pedal stroke on the downbeat. Pedal in sync with the music.Switch emphasis to the left leg. Alternate between the right and left legs.Continue to focus on one leg at a time, but decrease the amount of time of each right/left leg sequence so that tat the end you are alternating legs every few seconds.By combining Rhythm Release with Rhythm Stroke you can achieve a whole-body connection by extending the pulse-like movement from the torso to the legs. This combined movement will foster and accelerate coordination, timing, and focus. It is used to compensate for the lack of movement in the bike frame, compared to a road bike, which moves under the rider.
What are the benefits of becoming a Spinning instructor?
The biggest benefit is of course being part of a family of inspirational individuals; meeting and engaging with people from all around the world. Sharing experiences and listening to their solutions for challenges I may face in Spinning® classes and beyond. Another benefit is that we are always reading and learning from the MIs either directly at the WSSC Conferences or via newsletters and vast data on the Spinning® website so I am always learning something new.
How do you get back on track after a vacation or injury, or just when you fall behind on your goals?
I think the best way to get back is taking baby steps. I don’t overwhelm myself and put unrealistic goals. I would get back on the bike and start with Endurance Energy Zone™ rides for eight weeks using my heart rate monitor to ensure I am working within 65%-80% of MHR but work first three weeks in the lower side 65%-75% till I become stronger and ready to take bigger challenges.
Do you have an idea for Spinning class themes and profiles that you would like to share?
I love getting the participants involved to get the class excited, I would use a word like “happy” or “I AM” “be MORE” (which is my studio tag line), and let the participant shout it out for a jump drill. Another idea is making groups within the class and calculate the number of calories burned through the ride with total group and winning group gets free Studio55 cycling jerseys. I love using themes and occasions within the year to create different ambiances in the classes like Saudi National Day, Halloween, pink rides for breast cancer awareness, glow in the dark rides and more.
How do you motivate yourself when you are having a difficult day, or do not feel like getting in the saddle?
The best way is to get a workout buddy who will be right next to me to excite me, motivate me and help me forget the difficult day I had!
In your opinion, when is the best (or your favorite) time to take or instruct a Spinning class?
The moment he or she feels that they love it and want it to be part of their lives forever, it can be after their first ever class or after years and years of Spinning classes. There is no perfect time, just when you feel right! My favorite thing about being a Spinning Instructor is that I meet strong women every day since I have an only female studio in Saudi Arabia.A perfect day for me starts with a yummy breakfast and a 7:00 AM Spinning RideIn my gym bag you’ll find a change of clothes, water, heart monitor and cycling shoes.The number one thing on my bucket list is climbing Mount Everest.When I’m not teaching, you can find me thinking of new ways to promote fitness and health within women in Saudi Arabia.