Can you believe it’s September already?  As promised, we start our six-week heart rate series.  The goal is to introduce a few heart rate metrics as a means to gauge your effort while riding.  

1) Speaking on gauging effort, how about that dude (Zach Bitter) who broke the 100-mile running record!  On an indoor track!!!!  

2) Last year, I wrote an article, “Am I Pedaling Hard Enough? Measuring Effort in an Indoor Cycling Class.” We spend a decent amount of time discussing watts in class, but heart rate takes a bit more understanding.

3) This week’s profile (playlist) asked for several prolonged efforts -- 5 to 8 minutes.  I would argue less than half of any spin class can consistently pedal above their average for two minutes.   Constantly seeking that ‘runner’s high’ that breathless feeling is a hallmark of indoor cycling. It’s what makes spinning different from outdoor riding.

4) The NYT recently published an article on the benefits of aerobic (endurance) training. From the intro: “Stamina may trump strength for improving metabolic health, according to an interesting and provocative new study of the molecular effects of different aspects of fitness.”

5) They continue: “These results, which generally held true when the scientists controlled for body composition, exercise habits and other factors, suggest that aerobic capacity affects metabolism substantially more than muscular strength does, says Dr. Urho Kujala, a professor of medicine and sports science at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland, who led this and the earlier research.”  [I subscribe to the NYT so am unsure if this article is behind the paywall . . . just in case, here’s my EverNote link to the article.  

6) We’ve spent plenty of time talking aerobic versus anaerobic effort over the last few months.  In order to move beyond that dichotomy, one needs to quantitatively understand their heart rate.  This means investing in a heart rate monitor. Most fitness trackers (FitBit and the like) monitor heart rate.  But not all are indoor cycling friendly.

7) I wrote this piece to introduce a few heart rate monitoring devices that lend themselves to indoor cycling.  While you don’t NEED a heart rate monitor for this 6 class series to be beneficial, it definitely helps.

8) Random: I found this beginner’s guide to cycling training.  It has some useful definitions.

9 ) Next week we talk about resting heart rate and max heart rate.  Rap playlist!