A new spin on triathlon training

Monday, January 24, 2011

Published in the Albany Herald

Scott Schlesinger gave the 55 people seated on spinning bikes before him fair warning.

“If at some time during this you don’t feel like giving up, you’re not putting enough into it,” Schlesinger, a team spinning master instructor out of Miami, told the doctors, lawyers, teachers, housewives and general health nuts pedaling away on their indoor cycles.

Some two hours and 15 minutes later, after participating in Schlesinger’s unique Kona Ironman triathlon simulation, the participants who came to Tony’s Gym on a Sunday afternoon to be a part of the event walked away with a feeling of accomplishment.

“I made it,” Lawson Swan, a manager with the national Stryker Orthopedics firm, said. “I hurt my back working out about a year ago, and it’s kept me from doing anything seriously. It’s been about six months since I’ve been through a spinning class, but this is one of those events I felt like I had to do. I wanted to challenge myself.”

It was the challenge that brought fifth-grade teacher Tina Caldwell to Tony’s, too.

“I love the mental aspect of spinning,” Caldwell, who teaches at Live Oak Elementary School in Dougherty County, said. “This is an activity that’s 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical for me.

“(Local instructor) Barbara (Hoots) is such a motivational instructor; she made me realize what a stress reliever spinning is. And since I’d never done anything like (the Kona simulation), I was ready for the challenge.”

Schlesinger, who trains spinning instructors for Mad Dogg Athletics, supplied the challenge. A former football player who became an avid bike rider after his playing days were over, the master instructor was invited to give spinning a try shortly after “Johnny G” Goldberg came up with the concept in the early ’90s.

Schlesinger was immediately hooked.

“I took a spin class at a friend’s suggestion because there really weren’t any (bicycle) trails to ride in Miami,” he said. “It was the funniest thing, but I found that I had the knack instantly. I loved the whole concept.

“You could just close your eyes, get lost in the music and disappear.”


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