Spinning & Cycling
The easiest way to reinvigorate a Spinning routine is to take it outdoors. But be prepared, says Thomas Chapple (www.coachthomas.com), a cycling and triathlon coach in Mountain View, Calif. "It's a different environment with additional hazards, so pay attention," he says. A few safety tips: Know how to brake and how much distance you need to stop. Learn riding etiquette so you can navigate traffic safely. And know your limits. "If you've been riding indoors for 45 to 60 minutes, don't head out in one direction for two hours," says Chapple, who also advises bringing your cell phone, cash, and ID.
Once you feel comfortable outdoors, you can work with different intensities, cadences, and terrains. A simple improvisation technique is to vary your route and add hills. You can also try cadence drills, which means pedaling at either higher- or lower-than-usual revolutions per minute (RPM). If you normally ride in a moderately hard gear, lighten up the resistance by riding in an easier gear, suggests Chapple, who is also author of Base Building for Cyclists (VeloPress, 2006). "Try to be smooth in your pedal stroke. Don't bounce in the saddle, and keep your upper body relaxed." To do the opposite--pedal at a lower cadence--head for a moderate hill and use harder gears. Doing this for one or two minutes at lower-than-usual RPM builds leg strength.
To play with intensity, push your pace into various zones. For the bulk of your ride, cycle at a pace easy enough to carry on a conversation. But every so often, pick up the pace until it is comfortably hard. Do intervals--ride five minutes at a comfortably hard pace, then ease up for 10 minutes, then go faster for five minutes. Says Chapple: "Varying the workouts keeps them interesting and creates different stimulations."