Sometime around late 2008 and early 2009, I rediscovered my mild romance with two wheeled exercise devices, otherwise known as bikes. I had purchased a nice road bike in the summer of 2007, but I am guessing that I took it out a grand total of three times (maybe) that summer.
About 18 months later, I started to see the light. I began to partake in periodic spin classes and occasional solo trips on the Lifecycle. Last summer, I started to take my bike out in earnest, and I discovered that I really enjoyed the whole being-outside-and-get-a-workout thing. I'm now good for some sort of meaningful cardio exercise about five times per week.
All of my cardio consists of some variant of a bike: 1) Lifecycle, 2) spinning class or 3) road bike. While I get something out of all three, I have always suspected that they were not created equally in terms of work expenditure. I get a good sweat with all three, but I think I always knew that the Lifecycle was not nearly as demanding as the spinning class or the road bike.
First, a quick review of my heart rate basics, based on my age according to CDC physical activity guidelines:
- Moderate intensity activity = 88.5 bpm (50% of max) to 124 bpm (70% of max)
- Vigorous intensity activity = 125 bpm (71% of max) to 150 bpm (85% of max)
- Lifecycle: 45 minutes at an average of 137 bpm and a maximum of 159 bpm. This works out to an average of 77% of my age-adjusted max heart rate (MHR)
- Road bike: 73 minutes at an average of 144 bpm and a maximum of 164 bpm. The average was 81% of my MHR.
- Spinning class: 50 minutes at an average of 150 bpm and a maximum of 171 bpm. This is an average of 85% of my MHR.
- Value accepting punishment from a teacher: The effect of having my good friend Emma (the spinning instructor from the depths of Hades) hammering on me works out to about a 9% increase in average heart rate vs. the Lifecycle. Further she was able to push me way into my anaerobic zone for extended periods of time.
- Duration counts: The road bike trip was the calorie consuming winner. I put in 62% more minutes on my bike than I did on the Lifecycle, yet my average heart rate was still 5% higher.
- Time to man-up on the stationary bike: I clearly need to up the average resistance on the Lifecycle. Points #1 and #2 demonstrate that I can clearly push myself harder.
- I am truly a geek for spending this much time analyzing all of this stuff.
- The old adage of What Gets Measured Gets Done is true. Having the heart rate monitor is giving me useful information that will be hugely helpful in taking my exercise to the next level. Which is good.