Spin® Life Blog

Q&A with Certified Spinning® Instructor, Lisa Woods | New York, USA

Q&A with Certified Spinning® Instructor, Lisa Woods | New York, USA

Posted by Spinning® on Apr 18th 2018


What is your favorite pre and/or post-workout meal?

I LOVE Clifshot Bloks as a really quick pre-workout snack. If I teach early in the morning, I eat banana about 45 minutes before class. If I am teaching in the evening, I have a few Clifshot Blok energy chews. I can't eat anything too heavy in the evening (especially right before I teach a class), so these energy chews are the perfect alternative. My post-workout snack usually consists of an apple on the way home and my post-workout meal is chicken, spinach or kale and brown rice and of course lots of water.

What is your regimen for warming up before a ride?

The perfect way to warm up before a ride is to start with a nice light gear/resistance in order to give your body time to get ready for what's to come. I use an instrumental song or a motivational speech song to get my mind/body ready for the ride.

How do you recover after a difficult ride?

A good way to recover after a difficult ride is proper hydration before, during and after a ride. Also make sure that you are properly refueling your body post-workout is vital to recovery. I also incorporate a little yoga once I get home to release any tension that accumulated during the ride.

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

If you do not have equipment at home, you can do circuit training by alternating between upper body and lower body exercises (pushups, squats, tricep dips, lunges) and mix it in with cardio (jumping jacks, high knees, butt kicks).

What type of weight/strengthening exercises do you pair or alternate with Spinning®?

When I am not taking Spinning classes, you will find me doing kettlebell training that incorporates cardio, strength training and mobility training. I also do a lot of circuit training that incorporates various pieces of equipment such as medicine balls, dumbbells, resistance bands and bodyweight training.

What is your favorite motivational song?

“I'm Still Standing” by Elton John.  The title speaks for itself.

Do you have any tricks or phrases that you say (or think to yourself) during a difficult ride or climb?

I think about all that have been through in my life and how I am still here. We all struggle or have struggled at some point in our lives. When the ride gets difficult, I say to myself that this drill or song isn't going to last forever. I imagine that I am scraping the negativity that is within me off the bottom of the pedals. When I teach a difficult ride, I tell my class that this is life. Life has its ups and downs, twists and turns and it’s about how you deal with those ups, downs, twists and turns that will determine the outcome. You can either choose to give in to the difficulty or you can keep your head in the game and get through it the best way you know how. You never give up!

How do you pace yourself and continue to build throughout the ride?

I attack a difficult Spinning ride with the mindset that "this is a marathon, not a sprint". I wear a heart rate monitor that shows my intensity. If my heart rate is climbing too high or too quickly, I know that I need to back off a little bit. You must be in tune with your body and know when you can push yourself and when you need to back off.

How can you make Spinning® more fun?

I have taught a Halloween themed ride and dressed up. I had Halloween lights around the instructor bike and played Halloween music. I have also taught “Reflection rides” where my playlists consists of instrumental music from superhero movies (i.e. Superman, Transformers). I also taught a Spinning class on St. Patrick's Day. There are many things that you can do (within the Spinning program parameters) to make the ride more fun.

What is one piece of equipment (ex: HR Monitor, saddle pad, earplugs, etc.) that you find necessary for your workouts?

My Polar M400 heart rate monitor is a must have during my workouts. It keeps track of my heart rate as well as how long I was in each zone. It has been a game changer for how I track my workouts.

Example of bike stances or techniques for targeting specific parts of the body (ex: thighs, calves, glutes, arms, etc.)

Definitely Jumps on a Hill. In a class setting, if you are doing a Seated Climb for a long length of time, Jumps on a Hill can break that up. It's a total body movement because it takes a lot of strength to be able to control your body coming out of the saddle and then return to the saddle without plopping yourself down. Proper technique and control is a must for this move.

What are the benefits of becoming a Spinning® instructor?

" Community" and "support" are the terms that come to mind when I think of being a Spinning instructor. The website has been an amazing resource when it comes to continuing education as well as community resources. When you become a Spinning instructor, you become part of something special. The program is a well-rounded program that encompasses only safe and effective drills backed by exercise science.And I get to teach a class with some pretty amazing people. The energy that class riders bring is priceless. It brings me back to the days when I was just getting started on my journey and participants helped support and motivate me. By becoming a Certified Spinning Instructor, I am paying it forward! My participants know that I am really in the trenches with them. I know their stories, because my story is similar. We all have a story to tell and I tell my story by the way that I teach my Spinning class.

Please share some ideas for Spinning® class themes and profiles.

I like to do “Reflection rides”. My playlist consists of instrumental music that will elicit some sort of feeling with riders. They may feel happy or they may feel sad. It will depend on the individual. The focus of the ride is reflecting on your past, where you currently are in your life and where you would like to go. This will bring up many emotions for riders and that's okay. Many reflection rides that I have done have brought up many emotions within myself; but that is the beauty of being a Spinning instructor. With the lights dim and no mirrors, no one can tell if you are sweating, crying or both. It’s such a release!

How do you motivate yourself when you are having a difficult day, or do not feel like getting in the saddle?

I came from a difficult background and had a difficult childhood. I went through a lot to get where I am today so I am always reflecting back on that. I've battled weight issues (I used to weigh 200 lbs.) as well as body image issues, and I am still here fighting the good fight every day because it's easier to give up and give in than it is to get up, brush yourself off and keep moving. When I feel unmotivated, I think about where I was, how I felt about myself and how much my heart and soul were hurting. I look at an old picture of myself at my heaviest weight and I remind myself that I am no longer that person and I do not want to go back there.I also think about other people that have struggled just like me. I want to help people understand that they are not alone. And the only way for me to do that is to keep fighting.

What is your favorite thing about your job as a Spinning® Instructor?

My fitness journey started over 18 years ago when I weighed my heaviest (200 lbs.) at the age of 19. I knew that I needed to make a change so I joined a small, private-owned gym and worked with the owner who was also a personal trainer and taught many of the fitness classes. The owner became my personal trainer and soon became my mentor. I took many of the fitness classes that were offered including kickboxing, step and Spinning classes. What I loved about the Spinning classes was not just the music, but the atmosphere. There were no mirrors, the lights were dim and the camaraderie among the members was amazing. I didn't have to worry about figuring out choreography or being out of sync with everyone else. The instructor was motivating and let everyone ride at his/her own pace; there was no pressure, no competition. Everyone was free to be themselves. For one hour, I was able to be at peace with who I was and where I wanted to go in life.I love teaching the class because I remember what is was like being a participant so every time I teach a class, I am putting myself in the riders’ shoes. I take time to put together my playlists. I talk to my riders before and after class to get a sense of what is going on their lives and what type of class they are looking for. I was once a beginner. I was once a rider and I had an instructor tell me during a Spinning class that no matter what I was going through, I would be okay. She did that for me and now it's my turn to give back and pay it forward. Fitness saved my life and I will always be grateful to those that believed in me and what I had to offer.We all have a story to tell. I am telling my story each and every time I step into a Spinning class, turn on the music and turn on my microphone. Participants have re-named my class, “The Lisa Experience.”A perfect day for me is an early morning workout and spending time with my husband and five-year-old son.  In my gym bag you’ll find that I am prepared with one or two extra CDs (just in case my iPod doesn’t work), extra ClifShot Blok energy chews, plenty of batteries, mic windshields, water, an extra pair of socks, my microphone armband and cue cards.The number one thing on my bucket list is to see Maroon 5 in concert (front row) and meet Adam Levine.When I’m not teaching, you can find me hanging out with my son, working on a new Spinning profile/playlist or just relaxing. I am a pretty quiet and reserved person (when I am not teaching) and I like to keep things simple.