It took me a while to get things all squared away fitness-wise given our new normal, but I’m proud to say that I found my indoor quarantine cardio fix! And yes this will be something I continue after this pandemic is all said and done.
When it comes to indoor cycling or as some call it – spin, and after nearly 10 years of coaching this format along with a 30-minute format called SPRINT (by Les Mills), at big box gyms in Los Angeles, I consider myself a professional; However, when it comes to outdoor riding and although I’ve been in a few triathlons as a cyclist – mainly as a part of three different relay teams at the Walt Disney company, I still considered myself a novice in this area. Not something that sat well with me. How could I be an indoor cycling coach and not be too versed in the world of outdoor cycling?
Fast forward 2020, and I’m finally introduced to the amazing world or smart trainers and virtual riding. With the exception of training and the triathlons themselves, which was the extent of my outdoor riding life [and honestly, I sometimes slacked on the outdoor training due to own strength training schedule and my rigid indoor coaching schedule (6 days strength training + 5 indoor classes a week), in addition to my full-time career at the world’s largest entertainment company].
Enter COVID-19 in early March 2020, and now being free of my rigid coaching and workout schedule (due to mandatory gym closures), I reflected for approximately 2-3 weeks to determine what my social distancing mojo was going to entail 🤔. After initially running outside during the stay at home order, I was starting to get annoyed af because of the onslaught of other runners that were suddenly outside and not appropriately exercising social distancing orders put in place by the mayor of Los Angeles, and the governor of California.
After having a pretty decent moderately priced (non-smart) indoor trainer (when i lived in NYC), I wanted to see if going the cheaper route this time made a difference; so after researching low-end trainers, I purchased one for under $200 on Amazon – what a joke. When it comes to indoor trainers, this trial + error exercise taught me that, you really do get what you pay for. I was so disappointed, and instantly made the resolve that the only way I’m going to get something that will not only last, but that would equally be fulfilling enough to train well at multiple levels allowing me to grow, I’d need to forget price. I did and could not be happier + more fulfilled. Refurbished, this top of the line smart trainer wasn’t cheap by any stretch, but it’s just what I needed – $1200 new vs $750 refurbished.
Yea being and indoor cycling coach and enthusiast, I contemplated a stationary bike, however, I wanted something so much more than that. For starters, (as of the writing of this article), I have a 20+ year career in the online media space, I wanted amazing technology. I wanted interactivity. I wanted versatility. I wanted quality + longevity; and baby this latest model from the Wahoo Kickr line of smart trainers is the gift that keeps on giving – a work horse that satisfies all of my smart-trainer desires!!! Apps (discussed further down), further enhances this experience.
Allow me to introduce my new obsession – Jai’s Wahoo Kickr v3 (2018 version)!
After sitting on this 11-speed trainer for a few weeks – from trying my own DIY skills to remove cogs to make it fit my old 9-speed road bike. I finally gave in + took it to my neighborhood bike shop for a 10- minute repair job – the rest is history!! I’m up and running. To let you know my level of knowledge for outdoor cycling, I had no idea what a cog was – much less a derailleur; yet I was on YouTube trying to research how to start capitalizing on my investment, needless to say – to no avail. Thank God for the essential bike professionals + workers out there assisting novices like me.
Smart Trainer apps + my Apple Watch + Strava.
This new wave of smart trainers with Bluetooth and apps like Zwift are a whole new world to me. Paired with my Apple Watch (for tracking my heart rate specifically), I also use a fitness app called Strava for tracking cardio activities like my dog walks + runs, to now my training on the kickr.
Since the watch is also connected, it serves as a conduit, allowing me to track my heart rate while doing these activities. I even use Strava while doing strength training and mobility work. I’ll eventually get to the Zwift app but I started out using the wahoo app to get used to the features of the kickr trainer itself. Zwift is the leader at the moment. It’s easy. It allows you to ride freestyle, or do more structured workouts, FTP tests, races + rides w friends, etc. It’s the gamification of cycling/training done in a very practical, effective way. Sufferfest is another one, that uses real scenery vs avatar/cartoon used by Zwift. Being the novice I am, my plan is to venture into it slowly and start with Sufferfest. They have a sweet 44-day free trial during C-19.
What’s one of your new obsessions out of this 2020 Corona Virus Chronicles time?