View Full Version : getting back in the saddle!

11-22-2003, 05:45 AM
First of all, let me say that I struggle with a situational depression that is crippling at times! I just got my bike in Sept. and was riding all the time at first. Now that it gets dark so early, I am finding it hard to squeeze in riding. I seem to only get in a ride on Saturday (and that is IF my kids don't have a ballgame...which is year round!)

My question is, how do you schedule riding during inclimate weather and gets dark earlier? Would it be beneficial to get an indoor trainer or join a spin class? I have looked at the trainers and I am afraid, like all the other exercise equipment I have in my house, it will become a clothes hanger! haha!

If I do get a trainer, what kind is good for a beginner? I've heard the fluid ones are the best kind........

What are you guys doing this winter to stay motivated? I want to race in the Spring, so I'd like to keep my base miles up.

Kim in TN

11-22-2003, 07:45 AM
As a depression sufferer also ( low grade, bio chemical malfunctioning) I can relate. I go to spin classses in the winter, and ski as much as I can.

If I can just get my sorry a** to the gym, I'm good for the day. There are days when I just kick myself because I can't get it togetther to go to the gym. I work for myself out of my house, adn it's way to easy to make excuses.

While I have a lot of issues with the health club I belong to, I DO like their spin classes. Gets me out of the house for a bit, I can be social and get exercise too.


11-22-2003, 08:32 AM
I find spinning class to be very helpful. I actually spin 5 days a week and LOVE it.

I just bought my bike last August, and since the time has changed, I have not gotten out on the road either. My bike sits - over there - just starring at me. I've got to clean it too. I feel bad but not for lack of exercise. Spinning actually strengthens my legs so well that when I do get out on my bike, I feel much more confident and strong.

So, yes - do spinning. It's great training for racing as well, and it gets you out of the house - which for me is essential. I got 4 kids (3 in high school now) and I understand the "ball game" thing too.

happy riding!

11-23-2003, 03:18 AM
I, also, am a depression sufferer who gets worse when the days get short. Speaking for myself only, spinning is OK, but getting out on the road can't be beat.

11-23-2003, 08:56 AM
The shorter days, the lack of light, I think they affect many people. It's a struggle to get past it and keep moving. I do think keeping moving is the key. Inside, outside, doing something active helps. I, too, would always prefer to ride outside, but I'll take indoors over nothing.

Spinning, for me, is more motivating than riding my trainer at home. You are with other people and that makes me ride harder. A lot of spinning is what you put into it. As an instructor, I try to encourage the class to ride strong and hard, but it's really up to each individual how much they want to put into it. When I am out in the class, riding, not leading, I concentrate on making it as close to a real riding experience as I can. It's easy, on a spin bike, when it starts to get tough, to turn that resistance down, but real hills don't get easier or flatter when you get tired, so a spin climb shouldn't either. It will never be like riding outdoors, but I truly believe it can keep your legs strong throughout the off-season and you will start out stronger in the spring.

I can't speak for training at home on a trainer because I don't do that much, now that I have the spinning option.

11-23-2003, 12:14 PM
How do you start out in a spin class? Are they closed until the next start date or are they open like aerobics classes? Will I be too far behind the rest of the class? Will someone be able to show me how the bike works before the rest of the class gets there so I won't look like a dummy? These are all real concerns of mine......stupid ones, I know......but real!

It is always surprising to me how many people suffer from depression. I hope mine is short lived; although it has been 4 months and I am not over my "situation" yet! (hahaha! annie, you know what I'm talking about!) I am on Effexor XR; which helps me cope with the "blues" as I call it. But, I'm looking forward to the day that I can get off of the meds and still not cry all day long.......you know, like normal people?!

11-23-2003, 02:55 PM

Usually you have to be a member at a gym that HAS spinning. After you do that, just check the schedule for the class times and show up. Sometimes (at our gym anyway) you have to sign your name to the bike you want cuz the classes can get full.

Then, when in there say hi to the teacher. She/he may recognize that you have not been in at least their class before (the good ones do) and they will help you set up your bike before class.

There are several people that are new often. Also, there are several people that are not very good at it and several others that look like they've never done it at all. So don't feel bad or out of place - you are not alone.

Once the class starts, follow the directions of the teacher, have fun listening to the music and just enjoy it. Don't feel like you have to be the best on that day. It takes like 4-5 times to really get the hang of it BUT...it's so beneficial. Don't give up. It's sooooo good for you and your mental health. Any time you can get your blood flowing throughout your body like spinning creates, it's good for your brain! Lots of O2 going to the brain is good for depression, I think.

Also, go to Target and get one of those mushy seats to put on the seat of the bike. If you do the class for the first time without one of those mushy seats, it will feel like you've been kicked in the crotch! It's worth the $15.00 for the mushy seat.

If you can't ride outside, you've got to get into spinning!! Really!

Good luck,

11-23-2003, 03:43 PM
Mushy seat? Is that what it is called?

11-23-2003, 04:32 PM
I wear my bike shorts to spin, never bothered with the mushy saddle. Sugoi has some lightly padded ones that are great. I usually do some weights first and they aren't so padded that I feel weird, but it's enough to keep me comfy during spin. I've worn my regular ones too, just not on the days I want to do weights. :)

Everything Annie said about class has been my experience as well. The instructors really seem to pay attention to who is new and make sure they are comfortable.


11-23-2003, 05:30 PM
We have a YMCA in our area that has a spin class. I am going to check it out this week. I also work out with resistance machines at least 2x a week. I hope this keeps me strong enough for cycling in the spring....I want to hit it hard and race next year!

Do you think that is do-able if I stay in good shape this winter and spin a couple of times a week? How often should I do the spin class?

11-23-2003, 06:45 PM
You could also get lights for your bike and ride after dark. I live in the 'burbs so riding after dark isn't too bad. I get to start when it's still light out, which is a plus, but when the sun goes down, I still have about 8 miles to go. Bright colors, lights and warm clothes are a must.


11-24-2003, 04:45 AM
For me, I find that the "getting outside" part is an integral part of fighting off depression. Sure swimming, lifting and occasionally spinning are "better than nothing", but I guess I just need fresh air and sunshine to complete the experience.

In the winter, I do a LOT of running (easier to sqeeze in a quick 30 minute run during daylight hours) and xc skiing when we have the snow. I also like to mtb at night, I feel safer in the woods than out on the road--good lights are still a must. It's warmer in the trees too.

I can NOT spin 5X a week....ick! Either on the trainer or on the bikes at the gym. That's just me (ADD girl!). I mix up my indoor workouts with swimming, lifiting and yoga.

As far as finding/listening to a Spin instructor; ask around at your gym and find an instructor who actually rides a bike. Someone who also is a cycling coach will be best. If you can't find such a person be very careful about following the "aerobic-instructor" type spin teacher's instructions. I've been in classes where the workout given was NOT cyclist-knee-friendly! I avoid all that "jumping" up and down cr@p. I just let the instrutor know before-hand that I am a loooong-time cyclist and that I know my body well and that I will not be doing anything to harm it.

As far as spinning getting you ready to race....uhm well no. I mean it will help to keep leg-strength and fitness, but it does not help with bike and pack skills. I always feel rusty when I return to racing and riding with a group after a long winter. As long as the roads are dry and it's above freezing, I still try to get out on those group training rides at least once a week.

11-24-2003, 07:04 AM
I agree about getting outside for some fresh air. Iíve never actually suffered from depression but Iíve certainly had patches where Iíve been very low and sometimes just being outside is enough to lift me a little.

If you donít feel like running or if thereís days when you really want to exercise but canít even get as far as putting on you gym kit the why not just go for a walk. This was a suggestion I read in Cycling Weekly last year about people worrying about missing out on training sessions etc over the Christmas week.

They suggested a good way to get the heart pumping was to take a brisk walk, preferably over rough terrain or up hills. Obviously this wonít be as effective as a full on bike ride or spin class but might be useful as a go between for days when youíre not feeling at your best.

Youíre right klr Ė getting more oxygen to the brain is very good for you and the endorphins you release during a hard workout are great. Natureís own mood enhancing drugs Ė apparently the beneficial effects can last for up to 4 hours!

11-24-2003, 07:10 AM
The winter thing... I don't know where all you live, but right now there is a foot of snow on top of 3"of ice here...running, walking are out of the question. I know folks that do it, but I also know folks that have gotten severe concussions falling on the ice.

This can be the time to pick up a winter sport... skiing, croass coutnry skiing, snow shoeing....


11-24-2003, 03:33 PM
I deal with what i believe is a mild form of SAD. Has anyone tried those light boxes? I'm considering getting one.