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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 01-11-08, 12:28 AM   #1
SandraL
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newbie question: ymca or skating in winter?

I posted my introduction yesterday. You are all sooo wonderful!
You have no idea how much I learnt about bikes just reading these forums!

I haven't been riding for the past 2 months and started swimming not as often as I would like. So my friend has almost convinced me that I could learn skating for the winter time.

few weeks ago, I went twice to the ymca with the idea of taking the cycling classes that they have there. The first day, I just walked around, and the second day, I decided that it wasn't for me. The 4 or 5 guys there were all in very good shape, nobody overweight, all men. It felt too intimidating to me, so I didn't even start.

I'm very enthusiastic with biking, and I don't want to start all over from the beginning in April or May.

Any suggestions?
Should I give it a try to the cycling classes or the skating? Or any other idea.

Thanks
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Old 01-11-08, 05:00 AM   #2
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There's much to be said for cross training. If you can skate well, it can give you a great workout, but so can a spinning class. One thing to get over is the fear of being intimidated. Most people are very accepting and supportive of newcomers.
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Old 01-11-08, 05:37 AM   #3
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Do you have "Curves" near you in Canada? It is a women-only gym.

http://www.curves.com/locations/index.php?Country=CAN
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Old 01-11-08, 06:12 AM   #4
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I have been cross country skiing for 20 years. I like being outside in the winter and I just buy them at garage sales cheep. Its a great workout and I use the paved bike path thats less than a mile away from my house. They don't clean the snow off it and the snowmobiles keep it packed down. I still bike in the winter too if the wind chill ain't too bad.
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Old 01-11-08, 06:50 AM   #5
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Any workout will help you with your cardio to a degree, but nothing is the exact same as biking. I like using an elliptical machine, but I also run, walk, swim lift weights, play racquetball, tennis, basketball, etc..... while using the YMCA.

Not everyone at the YMCA is in perfect shape. There are a few that go to the YMCA that have the shirts that say:

"I am in shape, round IS a shape!!!"

You can be intimidated, and I understand that, but you will also meet people and they can help you improve and also give you some great support. I have helped many people that ask for it at the YMCA. I am not going to push myself on someone, unless they are doing some weight lifting that will cause injury to themselves or others.
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Old 01-11-08, 08:02 AM   #6
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Any cardio work is better than nothing. Skating can be quite the work out, so why not learn to skate then mix it in with your cardio routine? I'm sure it would do wonders to break up the monotony. Maybe you could skate one day, spin the next, eliptical/treadmill, swim, then play squash on Friday. See, now it sounds like fun!

So far I have been an active member of 5 different gyms and not a single one did not have people who were willing to help. Be it advice or offering a spot. Sure some people are jerks; but for the most part they are there to do the exact thing you are, improving their fitness. Everyone starts somewhere and they know that too. Give it a shot!

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Old 01-11-08, 09:44 AM   #7
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Any cardio work is better than nothing. Skating can be quite the work out, so why not learn to skate then mix it in with your cardio routine? I'm sure it would do wonders to break up the monotony. Maybe you could skate one day, spin the next, eliptical/treadmill, swim, then play squash on Friday. See, now it sounds like fun!

So far I have been an active member of 5 different gyms and not a single one did not have people who were willing to help. Be it advice or offering a spot. Sure some people are jerks; but for the most part they are there to do the exact thing you are, improving their fitness. Everyone starts somewhere and they know that too. Give it a shot!

Bau

Good post!!!! Keep trying new things, it can make a workout enjoyable instead of dreadful.
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Old 01-11-08, 10:35 AM   #8
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<SNIP>
Any suggestions?
Should I give it a try to the cycling classes or the skating? Or any other idea.
Thanks
I started this past winter with Pilates and Spinning. The Pilates in one heck of a good core workout that would be an excellent addition to cycling. Pilates is not so much aerobic, but you realy get a great work out. I enjoyed the short 30 minute spinning classes as I was new to this and figured I'd probably pass out is I tried a 1 hour class. I also like the fact that a 30 minute calls got me home much earier so at least I had an extra 1/2 hour to spend with my daughter before bed time. As the weather improved I descided to start riding my biek to work. I now could not get to the Pilates classes as the club is in an area that is definitely NOT cycling friendly. I personally found that riding through Winter so far has been easier than expected. I realy needed very little extra equipment. I did buy studded tires ($50 for a set of 2) and a beany had that fits under my helmet, but my freece pull-over and winter gloves were all already laying around the house. My commute has lengthened from 10 mintes to 20 to 30 minutes depending on the wind, but then I get home and I have done my 2 work out sessions for the day. Don't be affraid of the cold. Even with 8F all I wear is a T-shirt + Fleece + windbreaker and I am hot and need to start opening up my windbreaker by the 2nd or 3rd mile. Maybe Winter riding is not an option for you, in that case I can definitely suggest any one of the following Winter activities:

- Cross Country skiing - this is fun and generally free once you get the equipment. As an other forum member mentioned, you can get the stuff used pretty in expensive or get a completely new setup for around $200.
- Snow shoeing - Never tried it myself because I already have cross county skis. This should be very fun as well and an other good excuse to get outside and breath some fresh air
- Take a Pilates, body sculpting, or any other kind of call at your YMCA, these can be superb workouts. Some of these may be more muscle building while others are more of an aerobic workout. Mix it up so you don't get bored, and you also work many parts of the body.
- Try Spinning (aka cycling). At my club there were people of all abilities. It was not unusual for the instructor to have to show a student how to mount the bike. Novices were definitely welcome.
- Ice skating is tons of fun as a general activity, but unless you have a speed skating track I don't see it being much of a workout. I used to skate outside when I grew up in the Netherlands, but in all fairness good skating conditions only existed for a few days at a time each year. When the conditions were right we would go on some fun tracks. Here in the USA people generaly freak if you are out on natural ice... never mind the ice may be strong enough to support a a truck. With hockey or figure skates you get get around a rink OK, but it gets boring very quickly. With speed skates you can realy get into a nice rythem, kind of like rollerblading, but you need much more space. I still do enjoy going to rink to skate, but as I stated above I see this as a fun activity, but not much of a physical workout.

Happy riding,
André
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Old 01-11-08, 10:48 AM   #9
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If the Y isn't for you, that is cool. But if you think you'd enjoy it if you weren't intimidated, I'd say stick with it. Just cause someone is thinner, doesn't mean they are fit. Find a friend to take for a class or two & then you can't back out.

I love biking & I ride my trainer sometimes inside in the winter, but mostly I do other stuff. Skating & playing hockey are both on the list of fun winter sports. Anything that gets you out and moving around isn't bad, even if you can't classify it as a "workout". It's still better than sitting around doing nothing. If you are just learning, falling down & getting up can be quite the workout.
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Old 01-11-08, 04:27 PM   #10
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Do both. The most important thing is to keep active and by having a variety of activities you can choose based on schedule, or how you feel. Anything is better then sitting at home watching TV or reading BF.
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Old 01-11-08, 05:47 PM   #11
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Go back to spin class. No one, especially the folks who have been there long, expect you to keep up and do everything the first few times out (and in fact you won't. Spin is hard. Just know that going into the class).

Go back and plan on doing 20 minutes with the class. Don't try and do all the fancy stuff (like the stand, sit, stand stuff). Just spin and enjoy the music. While spinning, watch what others do. Remember good form is much more important then being able to stand off the saddle. If you can't do it right, don't do it. When you start to feel stronger, do more and push yourself. It's a good idea to wear the proper clothing - bike shorts if possible.

Spin class is the next best thing to actually riding. It will prepare you for spring. I had an injury and could not ride for 3 months. I did spin instead and as soon as the doctor released me to ride, I did a century (100 mile ride) and felt great.

I'm far from small (5'8", 200) but am one of the strongest in class. I can stand and spin the entire hour and generally do 2 hours if there are no other classes. Your size means nothing and don't let others stop you from getting out and doing good things for your body. Work on heart stuff first and worry about losing weight after. Also, start lifting weights. You'll burn fat faster if you develope some muscle tone.
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Old 01-11-08, 06:08 PM   #12
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Go on, try the YMCA again. I bet they'd be happy to see you!

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The first day, I just walked around, and the second day, I decided that it wasn't for me. The 4 or 5 guys there were all in very good shape, nobody overweight, all men. It felt too intimidating to me, so I didn't even start.
The first time I went to the nearby community centre gym there were mostly men working out. I felt a little nervous since I really didn't have a clue where to start or if I was maybe interrupting some men's only time slot. But I stuck around and asked the attendant a few questions like "can I use these machines?", "when is there a less busy time?", "how do I sign up for machine instructions or equipment usage?". Turns out all the guys were friendly and didn't think it was unusual for a clumsy Athena to try out the weight machines. In fact, they kept reaching for any bar or lever too high for me to reach to help me out (I'm 5'2" on a tall day). I did notice that line ups were common and it's best to wait my turn. Interestingly, I also noticed a number of women who totally ignored the queue and bud in whenever they felt like it. Not very good etiquette I thought. My favourite situation happened when I showed up for a women's only time slot one Saturday. I was working on the rowing machine waiting for a bike when a woman said to me "oh I much prefer it when there are no stinky men around. They are so big and imposing!" Kinda like 'em that way myself!

I now go to a women's only gym because it is 1) cheap 2) never busy so no waiting for a stationary bike or machine and 3) trainers are always available and the service is included in my monthly fee.

All in all I bet the guys would be more than happy to share the space with you!
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Old 01-11-08, 07:49 PM   #13
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Personally, I like to get outdoors and would try to accomplish that. That meant winter hiking and snowshoeing when we lived in Colorado.
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Old 01-11-08, 10:14 PM   #14
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Skating in circles around a rink over and over can be boring - but how about figure skating? I took it up in my late 30's and there are few things in life I've ever been so passionate about! My spins weren't the greatest, but by the time I became a grandmother for the first time I had all my "single" jumps except the axel. I competed (against other adult skaters) for several years and I also did some ice dancing, along with teaching some beginner classes.

And talk about being in good shape! It was amazing exercise - never before, and never since, have I been so healthy or felt so good, or been so strong and slender. Of course, I easily spent over 10 hours a week on the ice for those years.

I had to stop skating about 8 years ago and between my back and my ankle, I'll never skate again. And I miss it terribly. If you think you might enjoy it by all means give it a try. There's something entirely captivating about it and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised - and addicted!

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Old 01-12-08, 09:54 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by SandraL View Post
I posted my introduction yesterday. You are all sooo wonderful!
You have no idea how much I learnt about bikes just reading these forums!

I haven't been riding for the past 2 months and started swimming not as often as I would like. So my friend has almost convinced me that I could learn skating for the winter time.

few weeks ago, I went twice to the ymca with the idea of taking the cycling classes that they have there. The first day, I just walked around, and the second day, I decided that it wasn't for me. The 4 or 5 guys there were all in very good shape, nobody overweight, all men. It felt too intimidating to me, so I didn't even start.

I'm very enthusiastic with biking, and I don't want to start all over from the beginning in April or May.

Any suggestions?
Should I give it a try to the cycling classes or the skating? Or any other idea.

Thanks
Rather then either, how about BOTH? There are plenty of winter activities, skating, snowshoeing, hiking, are all good outdoor ones, heck if you ask the folks at Icebike they would add cycling to that list (although it's probably best with a mountain bike with snow tires). The gym is for when the weather is bad. Cold is not the problem, you can dress for moderate cold, using layers, although extreme cold (were talking arctic type cold here), can limit outdoor activity time, irrespective of dress. Wind and blowing snow are often the problems most common, although gently falling snow, often can make winter cycling more dangerous (due to visibility), and skating harder, it often improves snowshoeing and hiking.

Don't hide from winter, defy it!!!
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Old 01-12-08, 11:07 AM   #16
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Most foks I have seen in gyms or anywhere are very supportive of folks learning new activities. I was swimming this morning, and there was a guy taking a private swimming lesson who was about 40. Reminded me of myself, because I really learned how to swim by taking lessons when I was about 40.

Why not talk to the instructor of ther spinning class - catch her/him just before or after or make an appointment, and explain your situation, that you would like to take a spinning class but need to start out slow and easy. If the instructor is any good at all, they will be very supportive and offer suggestions. If they don't do that, then find somewhere else.

This winter I am

1. Bicycling when I can - I bicycle if I have the time and the temp is above about 35F or so, and the paths are clear.

2. Swimming quite a lot - about 4 hours per week.

3. Walking a lot.

4. Doing a lot of weight lifting

5. And, when I can't find anything else to do, I use my trainer!!!!

I stopped by one of our spinning classes the other day. The place was totally packed with about 25 folks, most dressed up in their full Lycra, skinny stomachs and $200 bicycling shoes. It was a bit intimidating, to say the least! And the instructor is a friend of mine. However, I know I would be welcomed and supported if I took another class.

I took one spinning class, and I didn't particularly enjoy it. But you might. Give it a try.

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Old 01-12-08, 05:21 PM   #17
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I guess you should go with what you find fun. Experimenting with skating isn't going to hurt (until you fall that is). Go for it!
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Old 01-13-08, 02:42 AM   #18
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Ok, I'll try both as some of you suggested!

I know that tomorrow there is a spinning class at ymca so I'll go earlier to try the bikes there.
And my friend is going to help me with the skating next Saturdays. I've already talked to her. It's on the river trail, so I'll try to stay as close as I can from the snow... If I fall, I'll try to fall to the snow side. Hope it will work

You all are awesome! I'm glad I started posting

Sandra
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Old 01-14-08, 09:53 AM   #19
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Ok, I'll try both as some of you suggested!

I know that tomorrow there is a spinning class at ymca so I'll go earlier to try the bikes there.
And my friend is going to help me with the skating next Saturdays. I've already talked to her. It's on the river trail, so I'll try to stay as close as I can from the snow... If I fall, I'll try to fall to the snow side. Hope it will work

You all are awesome! I'm glad I started posting

Sandra
If you are worried about hurting yourself skating. Wear a helmet & put on some extra poufy layers for your bottom half. We were out playing hockey yesterday & this kid fell. His snowpants were so thick, I don't think he even felt it!
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Old 01-14-08, 10:07 AM   #20
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I would shop around for gyms, not all are for hard body types. We have a local city run rec center that is very nice. The crowd there would make you feel very comfortable. And it is a lot cheaper than the YMCA in this area. All areas are unique of course.
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Old 01-14-08, 01:56 PM   #21
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Reading some answers, I'm just realizing that I don't even have proper winter clothes. Earlier this morning we had -31°C. With what I usually wear (regular tights and pants) I'll froze in less than 30 minutes. Today I walked 2 blocks and my legs were feeling the cold.

I'll go around and see if I can buy some snow pants at least. Well, I guess that dressing for this temperatures if I pretend to be more than one hour outside is one more thing that I have to learn.
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Old 01-14-08, 03:13 PM   #22
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A Canadian that can't skate??!?! I'm shocked.

As some have said, go to the YMCA and join the spin classes and ignore what other people look like. You're there for you. Concentrate on your goals and don't worry about what other people look like. They're concentrating on their goals too.

BTW, to keep your bike fitness, ride your bike when you can. If you can't, hit up the Y and turn up the resistance every now and then for a few minutes to work the legs harder. Crank it up all the way and stand up and pedal to simulate hill climbing. When you start riding outside in the spring, you'll be able to spin AND climb hills. (Spin class graduates usually can't climb that well.)

As for skating, you'll probably burn a ton of calories since you don't know what you're doing yet. Once you get comfortable with it, you'll burn a lot less calories because you'll be more efficient. Have fun!
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Old 01-14-08, 05:19 PM   #23
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A Canadian that can't skate??!?! I'm shocked.

As some have said, go to the YMCA and join the spin classes and ignore what other people look like. You're there for you. Concentrate on your goals and don't worry about what other people look like. They're concentrating on their goals too.

BTW, to keep your bike fitness, ride your bike when you can. If you can't, hit up the Y and turn up the resistance every now and then for a few minutes to work the legs harder. Crank it up all the way and stand up and pedal to simulate hill climbing. When you start riding outside in the spring, you'll be able to spin AND climb hills. (Spin class graduates usually can't climb that well.)

As for skating, you'll probably burn a ton of calories since you don't know what you're doing yet. Once you get comfortable with it, you'll burn a lot less calories because you'll be more efficient. Have fun!
I can't skate worth crap, and most Canadians can't well either, as most pseudo-hibernate for the winter..... Then again I've only been on skates twice since 1978!!!! I wasn't that good at it then, but it was part of our high schools rather eclectic physical education program. Once a week they would rent an arena for an afternoon, you bused over there, for your phys. ed. class, then bus back to school (our classes were 90 minutes), another class we all liked, but never told the teachers (in fear they would cancel it), was square dancing. In both cases these were co-ed.
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Old 01-15-08, 12:33 PM   #24
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This thread is too funny. I played in an adult hockey league until I was 42, and it was only the midnite ice times that chased me away. I couldn't get excited to leave my house at 10 PM on a Sunday night and drive for 50 minutes to play a 55 min. game, that's when I decided it was time to quit. The important thing is that you enjoy what your doing and try to get your heart rate up and keep it going for 15 min. then add some more to that every time you go out until you can go 45 min. to an hour with your heart rate in the appropriate zone for your age. Being in Canada I would imagine you have lots of ice available. That's what I miss hear in PA. compared to growing up in Vermont, every little park got flooded and turned into a rink there. We don't get enough winter here to do that.
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Old 01-15-08, 01:20 PM   #25
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I'm surprised at the number of people I know that don't skate. To me, it is like swimming, everyone should know how, even if you don't enjoy it/don't do it much.

I grew up skating, since we lived on a farm & had a huge dugout.

Elwoodab - agreed on the ice times. My soccer games used to be like that, now we get reasonable field times. You have to really love the sport to be up that late.
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