Archive for the ‘Spin’ Category

I’m just titling this one PEGGY DYER

October 5, 2011

You are stronger than you think you are. – Peggy Dyer (Breathe’s very own cycling coach & inspirer)

Let me start this blog on a tangent that may be more relevant than my original blog thoughts by telling you about someone. Her name is Peggy Dyer and this woman is FABULOUS! Peggy wandered into my life at one of my darkest moments. This stranger, as she was at the time, called me on the phone and I had to choke back tears to put on my “professional” voice. She explained who she was and how she had heard from a mutual friend I was having a bad day and wanted me to know that she was thinking about me. Yes, that is really how Peggy and I met!

Peggy has a big voice over the phone so I don’t know why I was surprised to see she was a big woman when we met face to face. She did explain she didn’t “look like a cycling coach” but that didn’t matter since her classes were awesome. I was excited about her positive attitude and vibrant energy and I thought, what the heck, another cycling coach with a new perspective will be good for the studio and so we threw her on the schedule. Peggy’s classes were slow to build but once people went to her classes, they were hooked. I get email after email about this woman’s ability to change people’s lives, all from the saddle of a bike.

Not only is Peggy inspiring as a coach, but her students have watched 50 pounds melt off of her and it has given them reason to stick with their ride. I received one comment from a student that explained she didn’t like summer because she wasn’t comfortable wearing anything that showed her arms or legs because she was overweight, but now she beams from across the room in spandex, YES SPANDEX, bike shorts and couldn’t be happier with her body! You wanna know why? Because Peggy told her she was strong. So much stronger than she ever knew. Peggy has created a support group of wonderful people without even knowing it. So, I wanted to just share her wisdom with you so she could touch your life, as she has touched mine and so many others.

Shameless promotion: If you wanna check out her class this month, Pegs is our Teacher of the Month so you can drop-in for only $8!!!

So, on with the blog…

Several months ago I overheard the end of Peggy’s cycling class when she told her students “You are stronger than you think you are.” I stopped dead in my tracks. She was right! We all limit ourselves because we just don’t think we can do what we set out to. After marinating on this wisdom for a few days I felt compelled to put it to the test…off the mat and bike.

I have a weakness for shoes. A serious weakness. I was going to attempt to put Pegs’ words to the test and go into my favorite shoe store, only to window shop. I had never done this before. I just simply didn’t go if I didn’t have money to spend and would even find my way in there even when I didn’t. So, after my regular wander around the store in a clock-wise direction, I found myself growing roots at the clearance section. Well, surely, I didn’t mean these shoes were off limits–THEY ARE HALF PRICE! AND MY SIZE! I tried them on. Perfect. They even went with the clothes I was wearing and that was a sign, wasn’t it?

NO!!!! It wasn’t! I heard Peggy’s words creep into my thoughts, even though I tried vigorously to ignore her. But she was right. I am stronger than I think I am. I didn’t need the shoes. I could walk away and find strength in my decision to NOT purchase them. I went into the store a week later with the intent to purchase the shoes and tried them on again. They were no longer calling to me. I searched the store frantically to find something else to carry home but nothing screamed, “Take me with you!” I learned to take a step back and realize that I really was stronger than my desire for new shoes.

Now this seems like a silly little story to relate to working out or getting into your practice. But really, it’s the little things we need to find strength in; use mind over matter and we can move mountains. Whether you are grunting to make it through that last sprint on the bike, or need to take just one more breath on your mat to hold that glorious pose, find comfort in the strength you didn’t even know was there. Because you know what? It is….

Today’s contemplation will seem more like an interview question. It is one I ask of all my teacher trainees, one I learned to answer in a marketing class. What are your greatest strengths? How do you embody these strengths?

Allow the mantra to unfold in the mind’s eye with the inhale “I am” and the exhale “so strong.”


Teacher(s) Of The Month

May 17, 2011

It was just too hard to pick one so we picked two of your favorites! Emily Moore & Jen “Hurricane” Nordhem. Come to any class taught by the Teacher(s) of the Month and pay just an $8* DROP-IN RATE!

Jen “Hurricane” Nordhem

TEACHES: Cycling

Mondays “Metal Mondays” 5:45 PM

Wednesdays Beginner Cycling 5:45 PM

See the schedule to reserve your bike today! Jen’s classes always fill up quickly! You can also download her latest kick ass mix tape “SUMMERTIME IN THE SADDLE”! Awesome way to get your ride on this summer. Thanks Jen!

Jen “Hurricane” Nordhem hails from the city of Chicago, bringing thunderous energy to Breathe. She has cycled professionally for four years as a courier in Chicaco and Denver. She is an experienced champion racer and is very active in the urban cycling community.

Emily Moore

TEACHES: emPower Yoga

Mondays 7:15 PM

Thursdays 7:15 PM

Saturdays 12:30 PM

UPCOMING WORKSHOP: Arm Balance & Inversions on June 4th at Studio Shakta, in partnership with Studio Shakta. See “Workshops” on the schedule for more details.

Emily’s yoga journey started about 3 years ago after a long mental and physical struggle. She tried yoga as just another way to exercise and found that the practice saved her life. She strives to create a personal connection with Earth through her practice.

Talk of the Town

March 18, 2011

YAY! Your favorite neighborhood studio was just awarded TALK OF THE TOWN for the SECOND YEAR IN A ROW, in our SECOND YEAR OF BUSINESS!!!! We couldn’t have done it without you so thank you to all of our students for helping us create this amazing community in East Colfax.

Check out Talk of the Town.

Oh Yes You Can

March 2, 2011

"(Wo)Man is the model of the world." - Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci dedicated a portion of his life and career attempting to convey the intricacies of the human form and thus, proliferated the miraculous parallels between humanity and nature. Bodily functions commence without cues…blood pumps and breath flows, independent of conscious decision much like the wiles of nature. What we are able to provide cues to are the thoughts within our minds. We can make conscious decisions to improve the soundness of our body, and consequently our minds. To do this we can employ similar artistic strategy as Da Vinci, and begin by appreciating the numerous factors that make up our wellness.

Today’s contemplation rests upon DiVinci’s words. How do you wish for this conscious commitment to affect your life physically, mentally and emotionally? In simpler terms, what do you want to get out of the next 30 days?

Want more nuggets? Join our 30 Day Challenge to Commit! Sign up now from our schedule link on Breathe’s Website and grab the pass while its still available.

Ride Bikes and Listen to Metal Mixtape

February 4, 2011

You love the class and you have been asking for the music so here it is! Jen “Hurricane” Nordhem has compiled a mixtape she knows you will love. Please feel free to share with your friends who have been interested in coming to the class so they can get a taste of what’s to come. The class is at 5:45pm and is an hour of strength & endurance building drills for cyclists of all levels (think lower intensity, longer efforts). Jen says, “You can read more about my class and my reasoning behind choosing metal in this Interview on Team Beer’d.”

You can follow Jen’s blog at Bright Alley Agency.

Enough talk, here it is: Click on the image below to download some Metal Monday cycling music!



Mastadon – Iron Tusk
Russian Circles – Death Rides A Horse
Ludicra – Path Of Ash
Baroness – Coeur
Sweet Cobra – Levithan
3 Inches Of Blood – Demon’s Blade
Skeletonwitch – Baptized In Flames
The Sword – The Sundering
Raise The Red Lantern – Wings Of Fury
Pelican – Lost In The Headlights
Black Cobra – Frozen Night
Saviours – Apocalypse World Split
Red Sparowes – Like The Howling Glory…

Can I Eat Carrots?

October 18, 2010

Walking through the supermarket the other day I found myself looking at carrots. What a great snack, I thought. But wait! I am trying to slim down and carrots are full of sugar and carbs. That means I should skip them, Right?

Wrong. There have been many casualties of the low-carbohydrate diet trend and when carrots start finding their place on the don’t-eat list it might be time to reexamine the information out there about carbohydrates.

First let’s consider how this started. The Glycemic Index (GI) was developed by diabetes researchers who found that certain foods can raise blood sugar levels as quickly as table sugar. Foods were evaluated based on the effect consuming 50 grams of carbohydrates from that particular food had on blood sugar levels and then scored. Foods that raised blood sugar levels higher were rated higher on the glycemic index.

How does this effect weight loss and health? We can all recognize that when you are trying to lose weight, or be healthier, you shouldn’t pour sugar on your food. The benefit of looking at a foods glycemic index is that it helps you avoid choosing foods that have that same effect on the body.

There is some wisdom in this. Foods that are lower on the GI scale tend to be processed less. This means they avoid ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, which is damaging to the body. In many cases these foods are obvious choices for good health. For instance, whole-grains, green vegetables, and many dairy products appear on this list. The trouble is bacon does also, and apples do not.

A better way to look at carbohydrates is to consider their glycemic load. The glycemic load evaluates the effect a standard serving of a food has on blood sugar levels. The GL value of a food is more realistic because instead of calculating the effect of eating 50 grams of carbohydrates from a particular food, it takes serving size into account. Glycemic load values are affected by factors such as the amount of protein, fat, and fiber in a food, which greatly affects the amount of carbohydrates one is likely to consume in one serving. Serving size is important to consider when evaluating a food. It would take eating a pound of carrots to take in 50 grams of carbohydrates.

An easy way to evaluate your carbohydrates is to determine where the sugars are coming from and what other benefits the food item offers. Choose foods that offer natural sugars, protein, and fiber. Eating balanced meals is another great way to lower the impact of an individual food on blood sugar levels. In short, if it is a whole food or offers lots of vitamins, fiber, and other things you know you need in your diet, don’t feel bad about eating it. Just don’t sit down and eat pounds of it.

If you find yourself as I did, confused at the grocery store and afraid to buy what seem to be healthy foods, Breathe is now offering nutrition counseling. Check out our webpage for information about how you can combine yoga and cycling with sound nutrition and achieve the balance you’ve been looking for.

A Good Coach

October 12, 2010

Not only will a great coach be effective, fun, have great music and motivate you to work hard but they will keep it real. Below is a list of things to consider when seeking out an indoor cycling class and coach:

Bike Fit – The coach should fit you AT LEAST on your first visit and offer help each time you ride thereafter; if they don’t offer to fit you on the bike, walk away. If they don’t know how to fit you, run. Even if you are an avid outdoor cyclist, allow a certified coach to fit you because I have seen more than one elite athlete walk in and be riding in an incorrect geometry or with saddles way too high.

Form – A good coach will cue you on technique and form, not just the standard “pedal harder.” It should be no different than cues you get from a dance teacher, yoga instructor or anyone else interested in proper technique. If the instructor has bad form, look out. Many times group fitness is “Monkey See, Monkey Do” so you want to ride with someone who is going to reinforce that good form and technique for you as a student.

Tricks – They don’t exist unless you are outside on a BMX bike. There’s no such thing as a dip, Chaturanga on a bike, fingertip push-ups or jump (in some cases these are legitimate but not in the form they are taught in group fitness) on a bike. They don’t increase your fitness but rather make you prone to injury. No matter what an instructor argues, there is NO research to support this increases cardio health, encourages weight loss or works to strengthen the core.

Breathe – Often times, group fitness instructor’s may tell you to “engage your core” which for many of us means, “suck in your gut.” When you are on the bike, never hold in  your stomach or “work your abs.” Your core is engaged on the bike in the proper way simply by sitting up straight because, remember, your low back is a huge part of your core. Encourage your breath to inflate your belly like a balloon on the inhale and deflate on the exhale. Without proper breath, your body isn’t going to get enough oxygen where it needs it and you may feel light-headed and it will actually decrease your cardio endurance.

Breathe welcomes inquiries about class format, profiles, experience and any other questions from new students.

My First Class

October 12, 2010

My first indoor cycling class I took as a student was aweful, plain and simple. I came from a strong background in mountain biking and triathlons but had never been on a stationary bike. I was new to Colorado from Arizona and am the first to admit to being a fair weather rider. The weather got cold and I realized I had to get inside to train.

I was recommended to a prominent club because the instructors were “amazing” so I went with excitement. I was all set with my padded shorts, clipless shoes, water bottle and towel. I arrived a few minutes early out of courtesy and was directed toward the cycling room. When I got there, nearly all of the 30 bikes were full and I suddenly felt the pressure to know what I was doing. I put on my shoes, found a bike on the edge of the second row and then realized I had no idea how to adjust this bike. Had it been my trusted road or mountain bike, I could have done it with my eyes closed but everything looked so different.

I started with the saddle height because that seemed like the natural place. Only, I couldn’t figure out how to turn the knob to loosen it. When I looked for the instructor, she was busy fussing with the music and my neighbors were too busy discussing the line at Starbucks where they apparently waited for their skinny lattes. That’s when I surveyed the room. There were plenty of 20-50 somethings chatting and sitting with their hands off the bars, two guys in full on bike kits with headphones sweating as they had seemingly already gotten into their workouts and then there was me. At that point I wanted to slink out the doorway but it was at the other side of the room and with mirrors on all sides and the bright florescents glaring down on me, I had too much pride. I tried to get the instructor’s attention again and just as she turned around her headset boomed with her chirp to be warming up as she jumped on her own bike. At this point, I was intimidated and nervous. Me! The girl who rode downhill, raced triathlons, solo backpacked foreign countries, gave birth at home. ME!!!

So, I did what any student would do in this situation: I jumped on and started pedaling. The seat was a bit high so my pelvis rocked. I figured I was experienced enough and physically fit enough to just compensate. I wasn’t sure how much resistance was supposed to be on my pedal. It was so much different than my bike on the trainer because the gearing and the tire created resistance but this flywheel just spun as fast as I brought my pedal stroke around purely on momentum.

The instructor informed us that we were going to be doing sprints, climbs and “jumps” whatever that was. As she cued us to increase resistance, she had us come out of the saddle. I felt more comfortable now because I didn’t have the height of the seat to get in my way. As we were encouraged to pedal faster I started to work up a sweat. The peppy voice then started yelling dip. Do I need to bring chips or veggies? What does dip mean? I looked around and everyone was pedaling with their booties below and in front of their saddle. Everyone’s knees were screaming and the skinny latte next to me looked like she might just dislocate a shoulder the way she was gripping those handlebars. The two kitted men continued to pedal at an unwavering cadence with no attention to the class or instructor. Even though I knew this was not a good thing for my knees, I didn’t want to stand out in class or be as rude as those two, so I dipped. I then continued to follow each direction offering “Chaturangas” on the bike, fingertip pushups and twists all while pedaling. We lunged in and out of the saddle which I soon came to know as jumps. After an hour I had worked up a sweat and felt like my body had a good workout because I went as hard and as fast as I could the entire class, as directed. When class was over, those guys were still pedaling away with their headphones on, heads down.

The next day was bad. My body ached, my joints screamed and it wasn’t the “hurts so good” feeling. I had injured myself. No wonder cyclists don’t go to classes like this, I realized.

And then it dawned on me. Why would we do anything on an indoor bike that we wouldn’t do outside? I had been riding for years and years and never  injured myself training. I was in my 5’8″ 124 lb race shape form. I had done that by keeping it real and riding hard, working my interval training, speed and power work, with ample recovery. Now I had experienced my first group fitness class and felt like I had undone years of hard work for a strong body.

Fast forward about four and a half years. It wasn’t until about 6 months before Breathe’s opening in July 2009 that I tried another indoor cycling class. This time, I was prepared though. I knew what jumps and dips were and I knew why those two riders in full kits didn’t take the direction of the class. They were real cyclists. They kept it real even when riding inside.

I didn’t make the same mistake of riding with a bike that didn’t properly fit me. The instructor still never fit me to the bike, but I did speak up and ask my neighbor for assistance. He was a veteran of indoor cycling and was eager to apply his knowledge to my inability to adjust the settings. When it came to anything outside of the realm of what I would do when training outside, I simply didn’t do it. While this instructor’s workout wasn’t as ridiculous as my first experience, it still contained elements that didn’t do anything to increase my performance or fitness. I realized it was entertainment value.

I’m both grateful and saddened for those two terrible classes. Grateful that it brought me to Breathe’s indoor cycling philosophy of keeping it real; a philosophy shared by master instructors and coaches like Jennifer Sage, Tom Scotto, John MacGowen and all those at ICI Pro,  Saddened because it dumbs down a legitimate training tool to entertainment, removing all safety considerations for the rider.

Please keep your indoor cycling real to stay safe and build a stronger, leaner body. I promise you will see and feel a difference if you apply the workouts properly, focus on form and lead a healthy lifestyle. Keep it real with us at Breathe!


Check us out in the Denver Post!

September 20, 2010

As a member of Breathe you already know how much fun we have here! Check out this write-up in the fitness section of the Denver Post to share your favorite place with all your friends.

As the owner of Breathe, I feel l so honored to be noted with the likes of some of these prestigious clubs. Remember though, we will always be the accessible, ego-free place you can call home for your mind, body and soul.

A special thank you to partnering businesses and the entire teaching staff at Breathe. This place sparkles because they do what they love and love what they do.

Many Blessings,

Sarah TV Russell