The Benefits of Spinning as a Workout

Spinning or indoor cycling classes are usually sweat inducing, high energy classes with loud music and constant pedaling at varying intensities either through changes in cadence (the speed of your legs) or resistance or alternating between seated and standing positions.

Over 20 years ago Johnny G, a South African cyclist and former professional cyclist, introduced Spinning® to the world. (Spinning is now a Registered Trademark of Mad Dogg Athletics, Inc.) He transformed the stationary bike you see sitting in the gym into a group fitness program called indoor cycling.”

Spinning can be a very challenging workout, but with good music, a good instructor and the motivation of others pedaling around you, an hour can go by in the blink of an eye. Spinning is a great workout for people of any age and at any fitness level. If you are trying to get into shape for the first time you can do spinning and just take it at your own pace. If you just keep pedaling for that full hour you will still get a great workout. Then you can work your way up to, adding more resistance, standing, sprinting and some of the other more challenging aspects of the class. If you are a more advanced athlete you can add more resistance, spin at a higher cadence and really get a great benefit as well. Since indoor cycling is low impact, people of any age and many people who have injuries can still participate and get a great benefits.

 Here are some of the fantastic benefits of indoor cycling:

·       High number of calories burned with forty-five minutes to an hour

·       Great exercise for weight loss

·       It creates muscular endurance, as your muscles need to keep moving to keep you pedaling throughout the entire class

·       Low impact - lower stress on the joints of the body

·       Puts minimal stress on the spine

·       Helps to lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels

·       Can be done at any level of fitness, as you control the intensity of the workout

·       Can be a good workout for people with arthritis (consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise with arthritis)


Staying Healthy During the Holidays

A lot of us tend to get off track with eating and exercise this time of year. There are numerous holiday parties with decadent food and lots of shopping to be done, all of which encroaches on our time spent exercising and derails our normal eating habits.

The stress and excess of the holidays is actually the perfect reason to continue your healthy habits instead of abandoning them until its time for New Year's Resolutions. Exercise has been proven to reduce stress and boost your immune system. Who wants to feel sick and tired during the holiday season? No one! 

Continue with your normal exercise routine as best you can and you will feel much better and less stressed. Also you can have a few of those holiday drinks and cookies with a little bit less guilt.

Fitness should be an integral component of your life at any age and any time of year. So, while you are thinking about what gifts you will give to your loved ones this year, give yourself the gift of fitness. You might even want to give them the gift of fitness by asking them to join you. Showing someone the path to healthy living is the gift that keeps on giving. 

80% Diet and 20% Exercise - NOT REALLY!

There's been a lot of buzz lately about how much diet is the MAIN determiner of how we change our bodies…..and that's true to some extent BUT!

Recently we started a competition here at Chizel and challenged a number of people enrolled in our early morning 30/30 Burn program to compete to loose the most amount of body fat. To be able to prove who the winner will be, we offered to have the participants' body fat measured. A few of these participants had had their body fat measured in the past and we had kept their records.

The interesting thing was that a few of these challengers has lost a significant amount of weight previous to the start of this contest. At least 2 people had lost over 50 lbs but when we measured their body fat, they hadn't lost a significant amount from the previous readings.

Why? Because although they stayed true to cutting down their calories consumed, they also lost something besides their fat. They lost MUSCLE! 

In fact while measuring these participants, by pinching their arms, waists and thighs, it was like grabbing a handful of well….flab.

There, I said it. Just loosing weight and NOT exercising produces a VERY FLABBY body.

When all that weight comes off, the results underneath aren't very attractive. You really do need to keep up with the exercise and weight training aspect of your new body regimen. 

I hear it all the time, people say "It's what I eat that determines my body", but that's not the whole of it. As you loose weight, the ratio of what your body looks like starts to change from an 80/20 ratio of food to exercise to a 70/30 and eventually to a 50/50. It's just like building a house, you can't build it without the right tools but you ALSO can't build it without the right workmen.

So stay on that course of lifting, jogging, pumping and pushing….not only will you look a whole lot better but you will feel that much better as well!

How To Eat An Elephant ( from a Foodie)

Ok, I know you all have heard me say this but I'm gonna keep saying it FOREVER!!! Diets don't work, LIFESTYLES do!

….and believe it or not you are already showing your success ( or lack thereof) in this.

That's right, your body is already proof of a lifestyle. Now, I'm not sure exactly what that lifestyle is, but there's a good chance that if you're 30 lbs overweight, you're successful at overeating, not moving enough or the combination of both.

Now, you can go off on a wacky trend and drink only green leafy vegetable slurps. Or you can cut carbohydrates and gluten out of your meals. You can start drinking only protein shakes with "energy booster" pills thrown into the mix or you can determine that you will no longer have anything "white" ( like sugar) in your daily meals, but more than likely you'll end up going off this regimen. Sooner rather than later, you'll prove that diets don't work, lifestyles do. 

So how to create a lifestyle that is congruent with what we envision ourselves to be?

Maybe, better to ask how can you eat an elephant?

Answer is and always will be…. One bite at a time.

This is to say, lifestyle changes don't happen overnight. They start small with one effective change at a time.

Maybe,  this might mean, you make it a point to get to bed earlier, say 10 minutes earlier than usual, then increase it to 20 minutes in a month, then 30 minutes in 2 months.

With an increase in sleep, you're less likely to eat as much, heck you might even start waking up earlier and get more done before the day starts. That might mean less stress at the start of the day. That may lead to lower cortisol levels and thus less of a tendency to hold onto fat stores!

You might actually be more energized and decide to walk in the evenings before you go to bed .

 (at the earlier time that you changed in your lifestyle back 2 months ago).

Wow! Really? More energy, perhaps a few pounds gone and no starvation?

Nah! Too easy, better order that $530/month Fat Burner package from that latest fad program.



A Most Fascinating Study Of The Human Endeavor

At Chizel, we started implementing the use of Heart Rate Monitors ( HRM"S) in most of our classes back in the late summer. We were in "Beta" mode for about 2 months, testing out how the HRM's worked ( or didn't) and what we needed to pay attention to in order to ensure our Chizel'ers a good experience.

What I didn't anticipate was how people would react to the information they were seeing up on the flat screen tv's. As a person begins to go through the various energy levels, they start to change color on the tiles associated with their assigned HRM's and these colors caused a stir.

Often, a person would come into the studio and show up on the screen as "yellow" right away indicating their heart rate was already in the Aerobic zone of 65-75%. Not surprisingly, they would quickly elevate to "orange" (76-85%) and then "red" ( 86-100%) as the class began to challenge them.

These "Chizel'ers" would become quite concerned with the level of energy the HRM's were detecting. "Is this right?", they'd ask or often we'd get the question "What's wrong with me? Should I be up that high?"

On the other hand, we'd get a "Chizel'er" who would complain, "I'm working really hard! Why aren't I in the "red" zone?"

Yet another "Chizel'er" would find the whole idea of a system actually telling you how hard ( or not) you were working as annoying. They were there to just "punch the clock" on their fitness routine. Finding out what they actually did? Well, that would make them  take some ownership of their workout! The flip side of this was how competitive this HRM training began to make people. 
"I burned 564 calories in the class today and Sue Ellen only burned 436!"

Here we were thinking this was going to be a huge hit here at Chizel (and to some degree it is based on our "Chizel'ers" feedback) but what we didn't foresee was how people would respond to being "graded" on their efforts. More interestingly enough though, we were seeing data from "Chizel'ers" who were either seeing big results from their efforts in class and those who hadn't seen much of a change in their bodies. We were seeing how some embraced the discomfort or let's call it "Hurt Locker" mode, even if it was only for a short period of the class and others who shied away from it. This was consistant with our participants level of complaints about their bodies …..and how they viewed their problems in life. 

What was of note was how tolerant of the  "Hurt Locker" mode was for  some of these "Chizel'ers" not only in our classes but also as a refrain in their lives.  One  couldn't  attend a class because she didn't get enough sleep the night before, while another would be managing pre-school children, tending to a sick elderly parent and traveling with a full time job and still make it a priority to get in a class. Again, what was the tolerance  for the "Hurt Locker".

I see our real job at Chizel  to not only get our clients healthy physically but through exercise , train them to re-think problems in their lives ( hey, they are inevitable!). I hope we here at Chizel inspire a new approach to the discomfort.  Everytime, a "Chizel'er" digs deep and not only survives but thrives, it reinforces a "success" memory.  These memories continually built up a "tower of positivity when it comes to dealing with discomfort or problems. This mental "tower" reinforces that it's "not all that bad" and we will get through it.

Such is it with working out. Such is it with life. 

Truly, the human body is a lazy thing if left to stay the same. If we never "up the ante", if we never create a catalyst for it to change, it won't. The fitter we are, the more we need to work to stay fit. The body will figure out how to do something as  efficiently as possible with the least amount of effort. 

We need to turn "red" once in a while and be ok with it. 

An Exercise in Insanity?

It never fails to amuse me when a client here at Chizel tells me about a new diet they're on and over the years, I've heard it all. 

One client went on a "eat cheese at 2 pm", " drink only milk on Tuesday and Fridays" and "only eggs with cayenne pepper for the protein" was the menu.

…and she lost weight. 

No surprise there. 

…and she gained it right back.

No surprise there either.

The problem isn't the food but us and our habits. We continually jump at anything that will help us loose those extra 10- 15 lbs, anything that is except just staying the course.

We go on extreme diets, inadvertently loose muscle mass while we are forcing our bodies to go into defense mode with the deprivation of calories and then find that we've got more fat on our bodies than before!

Here's the worse part of all of this, we begin to believe that we're never going to be able to "get into our 18 year old shape again" and this leads to a downward spiral of emotional eating.

Meal after meal, snack after snack, day after day our bodies tell the stories of the small decisions we make. We go after the newest fads, exercise like crazy and we still aren't seeing a longterm difference. 

'cause we don't have the drive to just STAY THE COURSE!

Increasing your exercise moderately and eating slightly fewer calories will yield you the results LONGTERM that you are seeking. We all know this but somehow, insanity prevails. We see a friend who has lost weight at the ballgame and when we learn that they did it by going to see an a "specialist" who advocates eating only advocates and lemon juice, we jump right on.

We shell out the $1500 to meet with the specialist who does a complete workup on our blood and determines that our body type should have only avocados and lime juice!

But, we want to believe so much and since we paid the money, we do loose a little weight…for a while.

But inevitably, we gain it right back.

Because it's not sane! We know it but we choose to believe otherwise. Move more? Eat less? Loose weight? No! That can't work!

We need to do something crazy to loose the weight.

We really do need to do something CRAZY to loose the weight….we need to stay the course.

We actually have to become disciplined. We actually have to control our minds. We actually have to say to our selves " Get out there! Go take a walk, ride that bike, sign up for that class" and then we have to do it! We actually have to say, " No, I've have one cookie, 6 potato chips, or 1 slice of pizza, I'm not going to continue eating anymore". 

Sounds too simple right? 

Ok, you'e right, get your left ear lobe stapled and rub it whenever you feel you want to eat something bad. 

Or if that doesn't work, how about a "Beet juice " cleanse, I heard those really work!

At Chizel, we've had the pleasure of training a new client. a client who came to us and said , "I want to loose 25 lbs" and she meant it. She lost 8 lbs and then hit a "wall". She and her trainer decided to work through it. She stayed the course. She didn't rush out to see a specialist. She stayed the course. She didn't give up and binge for days and then start all over again, she stayed the course. 

And she broke through it. To date, she has lost 15 lbs. 15 lbs slow in coming off but earned through a change in behavior that was a modest one, a reasonable one. She stayed the course.

That's what it takes. Staying the course. 

To easy right?




Exercise Light?

Lately I've noticed an interesting trend in the fitness world; people are being pushed into two distinctive arenas - hard core, extreme and punishing styles of workouts or very easy to moderate "soft" workouts.

Both of these pose a problem.

Participants going to the extreme of challenging workouts run the risk of Rhabdomyolysis, which is simply the catastrophic breakdown of muscles cells (or explosion of muscle cells). But the polar opposite of these tips of approach is not significantly better. Not ever taxing the body in exercise creates no catalyst for change. We see people who have come to classes for years and their bodies have never changed.

"Ok", you're asking…."so what's best way to get in shape?" 

How about a "Goldilocks" approach? To find out what is "just right" for your body, try pushing yourself a little bit in a class by moving that much faster, lifter a little bit more than you usually do, making bigger motions that normal. Try this, once a week and see how long it takes for your body to recover from that increased effort.

Less than two days to not feel a little soreness?  Chances are your body absorbed the effort well enough and isn't fighting you back on it. Increase your effort within the third day again. Once again, check how well you recover. Start to develop an awareness of how well your tolerating these increases. Your body will start to let you know what s "just right". 

With any change in fitness regimen, continually increase your efforts for now more than a 3 week stretch and then back down for a week to a lighter workout. This gives your body a chance to recover and for the mitochondria within the muscle cells to adapt to the new stresses.

Give this approach a true test and repeat the cycle for 4 rounds. Chances are you'll be looking at a totally different body than what you started with and best of all you'll not get hurt!


Treadmill Speed- Work Intervals

Looking for a way to quick start your weight loss? Trying this speed- work interval exercise on the treadmill, or a modification of it, to help you lose those first five pounds really quickly! 


  • 0.00 | 6.0 Speed


  • 1.00 | 6.5 Speed
  • 1.25 | 7.0 Speed
  • 1.50 | 7.5 Speed
  • 1.75 | 8.0 Speed


  • 2.00 | 7.5 Speed


  • 3.00 | 7.6 Speed
  • 3.10 | 7.7 Speed
  • 3.20 | 7.8 Speed
  • 3.30 | 7.9 Speed
  • 3.40 | 8.0 Speed
  • 3.50 | 8.1 Speed
  • 3.60 | 8.2 Speed
  • 3.70 | 8.3 Speed
  • 3.80 | 8.4 Speed
  • 3.90 | 8.5 Speed


  • 4.00 | 6.0 Speed
  • 4.50 | 7.0 Speed


Purposeful Living in 2015

Lately, I've been asking some of our fellow Chizel'ers if they had any New Year's Resolutions. While a few have said yes, most have said no, they didn't. The reason why was that if they did, they would probably just fail at it anyway and to say that they did would only be a reminder of their not achieving whatever it was they wanted to do.

I agreed with this first, but then I started questioning what "failing" meant anyway. Although I may fall off the New Year's resolution wagon, didn't my getting up and climbing back into the wagon show I was having success? I mean we tell our fellow Chizel'ers that we are the sum total of all the little decisions we make everyday, all day. If our goal was to get into shape, then we shouldn't beat ourselves up if we miss a workout, instead we should push ourselves to get back into the wagon! We are not a product of how much we don't workout, but of how much we do.

But, how to change this thinking? How to stop beating ourselves up not achieving our goals? 

First, be brave. Go ahead, write a goal down. Or better yet, tell someone what you want to achieve. A fellow Chizel'er said to me "You need to write down what you want to do or you'll never accomplish anything". I took her advise and I did. Another one reminded me of the saying " I do not run without a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something and not just air". I thought, "How many times do I just go through the motions when I do something and not have a purpose?" 

Secondly, be even BRAVER. I mean don't just think of a small goal, go for broke! If you are reaching for the moon and hit the stars, that's not a bad thing! 

Third, Don't quit. If you don't attain this goal right NOW, then don't stop trying. History is full of inspirational stories of people who kept getting back up even though the things they resolved to do weren't yet accomplished. How else would we even know who they were?

Lastly, make your New Year's resolution something that benefits others besides yourself. It could be not texting and driving, loosing weight to be able to run around with your kids, ending a relationship that is toxic, stop cursing, playing a guitar, learning how to swim. The list is endless but make the reason for the goal something that not only benefits you but others as well. It's so much more inspirational if others get something good out of it too!

So, 2015, the year to attain a goal has begun, will you?



Great Way To Shred Up Fast

This morning in the studio a client asked about a quick way to get shredded. I couldn't help but think that besides a crash diet which always is no good, the only method I knew of was "the Crazy Eights".

This is a running workout which is done for a maximum of eight seconds or a length of a football field. The problem with this type of workout is....... you got it...... you can get hurt if your body is not in the best shape.  You can blow out a hamstring, hurt knees and hips if you've not been doing this type of speed work. So, how to get into the best shape to do this shred workout?

I call it cooking yourself slowly. Get on a treadmill, a track or a running path and just start walk/ running or plain out just running. Don't run fast, just enjoy the run. Do this a lot. Do this enough times so that if you were to increase your speed for about say 8 seconds, you wouldn't feel like your legs were beaten up the next day. 

Try doing this every time you run. Run 3-4x per week. 

Granted the weight will start to drop off of you want to see it drop faster? Then go to "hurt level" for 8-10 seconds. Run as fast as you possible can for this time. Jog out or walk for 10 seconds, then repeat this pattern 10-15x, follow with an easy 1 mile cool down.


Try doing this at least 1-2 x per week. You'll see the changes and best yet, you won't have lost any muscle doing it! Ever notice sprinters? Do they look super skinny like a Kenyan? Nope. That's 'cause they've challenged their bodies to fire their fast twitch muscle fibers and don't need to cannibalize their bodies. 

You'll get leaner and also develop one heck of a great heart rate!



Bone Density.....How important?

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to visit my nephew who was doing an internship through UNCW with the Ft. Fisher Aquarium outside of Wilmington, NC.

We got to view many of the excavated remains found around the historic area: a location home to a variety of the peoples who had lived there. Of interest to me was the thigh bone of what was believed to be the remains of one of the native American tribes indigenous to the area. It was a large bone, slightly nicked but overall, a solid, well formed remainder of human strength.

It was explained to us that this bone was above average larger and more dense, indicative of a human who had strengthened himself by the carrying of heavy loads.

Flashback back to today.....On a weekly basis, we have people coming into Chizel because they've just been diagnosed with Osteopenia or Osteoperorsis and they've been told that they need to do "weight bearing" exercises. 

Granted, this term "weight bearing" is going to differ person to person according to what a person is used to, but the longer we work with people, the more evident it becomes that the human body is decisively efficient. It gets adept at doing any activity done often with the least amount of energy.....thus in order to see change, we always need to create a stimulus. 

Issues with loss of bone mass are really an indicator that we've not done anything to challenge our bodies ( or bones) aside the normal day to day activities. Taking out the garbage, picking up the kids out the car seat, carrying in the groceries will never cut it.

It has to be more.... enough to cause your body to increase bone mass.


Loosing inches as we grow older, feeling the results of weakened backs as the vertebrae discs compress, falling and fracturing a hip from a simple misstep, are potential unnecessary outcomes of a choice to not persue a weight resistant regimen.