Laura started working as a trainer at Midtown over six years ago. An accomplished dancer with Biodance, Laura holds both a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from SUNY Brockport and a Master’s degree in Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Buffalo. Laura also has a national certification and has attended several other certification programs in a variety of exercise programs, including Pilates, yoga, aqua, flexibility and Kinesis training.
Kristi: What’s your favorite part of your job?
Laura: I love meeting and working with new clients and going to a work environment knowing that I am going to help others and myself to get or stay fit.
Reader Question: I missed the chance to sign up for a kettle bells orientation. Some of my friends had one, and seem to love the kettle bell workouts, but I am slightly intimidated. We’re all women in our 60s. Are kettle bells a good workout choice for us?
Laura: Kettle bells can benefit all age groups including women and men in their 6o’s. However, it’s hard to say that kettle bells are good for everyone, especially if you have had past injuries or you currently have a health condition, such as hypertension. I would recommend that you talk with a personal trainer to see if it is a good fit for you.
Reader Question: I took up outdoor cycling this year and love it, but once the snow arrives, I won’t be able to ride anymore. I’ve heard there’s a big difference between indoor cycling and outdoor. Should I transition to a spinning class, or ride the recumbent bikes to best mimic my outdoor cycling?
Laura: I would highly recommend Doug Rusho’s cycling class or any other cycling class that would match your schedule. Also, I would suggest that you mix up your workouts with our cycling bikes, and seek the advice of a personal trainer who instructs a cycling class, but has outdoor cycling experience, to help increase your workouts over the winter.
Reader Question: I am a 45-year-old male in good health, but I need to lose about 30 pounds. I play basketball in the gym a few times a week, and I think this is enough to get me in shape over time. My wife thinks otherwise and believes I need more cardio. I need a professional trainer’s advice to settle the score!
Laura: Basketball is a start, but basketball is an anaerobic activity, or a workout lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes . An anaerobic activity is a shorter-duration workout than an aerobic workout. Although you might play basketball for an hour your heart rate will not stay in the target heart rate zones needed for an aerobic workout, because of the amount of stopping involved in the sport.
For fat loss, the USDA recommends that an individual get at least 60 to 90 minutes of daily moderately intense physical activity, while eating a properly balanced diet. A few examples of moderately intense physical activity include jogging, brisk walking, bike riding, most sports, yard work, and swimming.
The USDA also suggests that you should work in your target heart rate, which is between 60 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate per minute. The way to find your target heart rate zone is based on your age. Subtract your age from 220, and you will have your estimated maximum heart rate. Multiply by 0.60 through 0.85 to find your low and high end of the target heart rate zones.
Sorry, your wife is right! You need more physical activity to drop the 30 pounds.
Reader Question: Which is the better ab workout-Pilates or yoga?
Laura: Both Yoga and Pilates classes have benefits to working on your abdominals. If you have taken both of these classes before, I would recommend you continue with the class that you enjoy the most. If you enjoy both, and it’s a time issue, then take one Yoga class and next time you’re at the club, take a Pilates class, and so on.
Reader Question: How many clients does each trainer work with? Does each trainer have a specialty? I have one particular trainer in mind, but I’m worried he won’t be able to work with me during the times I need him. I work hours that vary from week to week.
Laura: The trainers have their own schedules and each one of our personal training team has an hourly goal. We are all certified personal trainers here; however, each of us has different strengths that may align with your needs specifically. I would approach this trainer because our hours change from week to week, and he will most likely be able to fit you into his schedule.
Thank you, Laura!
Do You Have a Question for One of the Midtown Trainers?
Post your question as a comment to this post, or email it to me at email@example.com.
One lucky current Midtown member who submits a question will win a high-quality Midtown Sports Bag (pictured on the sign in the lobby of the club)!
I will select one winner via Random.org on Tuesday, December 7th, at 5pm, and post the name of the winner on our Facebook page and here on the blog on December 8th.
If you email the question, I will ask it anonymously on your behalf, and post the question and answer (but not your name) on the next “Ask the Trainer” post. You do not need to be a member to ask a question, but you do need to be a member to win the sports bag.
So, what do you want to know?
*Congratulations to Aimee Bohn! She won the Midtown logo sports bag because Random.org selected her name from all those who emailed me questions for our next “Ask the Trainer” post! Thanks to everyone who sent in a question (or two!). We have even more giveaways on the way, so keep reading here and the Facebook page.
This is what we have been training for.
For week #7, we experienced a “simulated mountain bike race.” This was a profile modeled after the Laurel Classic Challenge held in Wellsboro, PA in early September for the last 16 years.
The hills in PA are much longer, and the forests much deeper than here in NY. The place just has an epic feel to it. This course features 3 long climbs of 16, 8, and 12 minutes, and some long descents. The terrain is moderately technical with some rocky sections. The coolest feature is the “Left Run Trail,” which follows and crosses multiple times a beautiful steam between two very large ridges.
The athletes had completed their homework, which consisted of long climbs and steady state threshold efforts. They were ready.
After warming up, we introduced our dedicated competitors with a “rolling call up.”
With athletes such as Alan “The Situation” Bloom, Laura “Lethal Lolita” Elder, Lisa “Hurtlocker” Moose, and Bill “Spitfire” Spitale wheeling the line, this place was ready to rock.
We had a little pre-race drama as Amy “To the Top” Tomaino’s bike was missing. Apparently, someone stole it from the team’s hotel the night before. Luckily her sponsor provided her with a spare.
The racers were paused and waiting, and then the cowbell rang.
They were off in a mad dash and the fire was started. They hit the first and longest 16-minute climb. We created a mantra for this entire challenge:
“I Can, I Will, I Am.”
After ascending this climb, we flew across the Plantation Trail, and then down the Stinger Trail. Since we cannot coast on our indoor bikes, we used the descents as a recovery. Athletes were always given zones, but were also free to push their own limits. After all, this is a race.
Climb #2 up Spoar Hollow Rd. was no problem. It was 8 minutes of finding “ the perfect balance of space, energy, and time.” We rode on some flat, grassy double track before another long descent. We got word from a course official that we were sitting in 5th place.
We headed into the underbelly of the beast following the stream. We mimicked stream crossings by doing a drill called a slide. We also learned how to call out and execute a pass using some surges as we passed the 3rd and 4th place riders.
We hit climb #3, which is the final big test. 11 minutes of some steep sections in no man’s land. It is wide-open logging trail with nothing to latch onto. Competitors had to dig deep to hold onto their podium position.
“Remember you are not here because of the path that lies before you, but because of the path that lies behind you.”
We crested the climb and punched through the log trail. We did some log “hopping” to stay with the mountain bike experience. Hopping or jumping off of a fixed-gear bike has some risk involved, but with appropriate cadence and just a few reps we kept everything in control and, passed the 2nd place rider: “On your left!”
As usual, my equipment had problems. My shoe cleat began to loosen and eventually disconnected from my shoe. I had to pedal “old school” with one foot clipped on and one out. Very typical for an epic mountain bike race.
On the technical Scotch Hollow Pine Trail, we executed “pushes” and traversed small rock gardens and took over first place. We found a gap and headed down our final descent of 6 minutes. Towards the bottom we were caught. As we exited the woods, it was a 1-minute drag race down a dirt road to the finish. We stayed strong to hold onto first place.
The music, the scene, and the motivation just flow for this ride. It is one of my favorites, and our team more than met the challenge. One more round of homework and we re-test for the last class.
We will have a celebration workout after the test, and then I have something special for our graduates.
Psyclewerks group: What did you think of The Laurel Classic Challenge?
Doug Rusho is everywhere these days. If he’s not motivating his Psyclewerks class to push through the pain, he’s teaching spinning or training his clients.
Now, he’s hijacking the blog once again to talk about Spinesis.
Go, Doug, go.
Do you want to enjoy family, friends, and really good comfort food on Thanksgiving? Does Aunt Sarah’s deep-dish caramel apple pie lure you back to the fridge at 3am Friday morning?
If so, you can balance out your Turkey Day consumption with some high-calorie-burning workouts.
Spinesis, this Friday at 10:00am, is exactly what you need.
What is Spinesis, you ask?
It’s a group exercise class limited to 12 people, which combines two types of training, Kinesis and Indoor Cycle. Each person starts cycling with me in the Cycle Room. Then, groups of six head next door to the Kinesis studio to work out with the ever-so-sassy and energizing Dina Smock for 12 minutes of Kinesis. The other six people continue to cycle. Each group will go through three rounds for a total session time of 1 hour and 15 minutes. Both rooms are music-equipped for maximum motivation.
Kinesis is movement-based, total body training, utilizing four special cable stations. Participants choose their own weight and go through a station over a timed interval. Weights are light because the intervals are usually more than a minute. There is only enough recovery time to get to the next station. Setup at each station is quick and easy. As you can imagine, your breathing will remain high and so will the calorie expenditure!
Kinesis is focused on true core conditioning and strength endurance.
It is great for toning and total body coordination. I have taught and taken many Kinesis classes and I really like the workout. It is something that feels totally different than anything you would do in the weight room. This is exactly what the body needs, something new and different to spice up that metabolism!
This will be my first Spinesis with Dina. I plan on bringing my own unique teaching style, the usual “music mapping,” and new to any past Spinesis class, something I call “Powertrip.” You’re going to have to sign up to find out what this is!
Spinesis is not your run-of-the-mill fusion class. The small group, the music, and the workout combine to form a unique experience.
I like Turkey Day as much as anyone, but to truly enjoy it, we have to find a balance. Make your reservations at the front desk now ($20/guest and guests are welcome for the same price), and do the holiday right!
I am not a cyclist.
I’ve taken one spinning class in my entire life.
I do not even own a bike, and the last one I did own had tassles on the handlebars.
So when Doug Rusho, the brains behind Midtown’s sold-out Psyclewerks program, asked me to take this past Sunday’s class so I could see what it’s like, I was hesitant.
“Hesitant” is code for Scared. Intimidated. And Looking for a Reason to Bail at the Last Minute.
Here’s what I envisioned:
Oh, and some awesome music, because freaked out as I was over taking this class, Doug’s reputation for picking some truly fantastic, timed-to-the-second tunes is widely known.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Psyclewerks was, in a word, incredible. The class is comprised of mainly an over-40 crowd, with a few younger members in the mix. They span the spectrum of athleticism. The atmosphere was warm, welcoming, and filled with laughter and camaraderie, before, during, and after class. And the Keiser bike? A cinch to figure out with a few pointers from Doug before class began.
One more thing: If Doug Rusho had his own fan club, there would be a serious war among class members over who gets to be the President.
It was evident after just a few minutes with this group that the Doug love runneth over.
Since I haven’t been a part of Psyclewerks from the beginning and did not take the Power Test on the first day to determine my own personal power zones, which the rest of the class had recorded on cards and placed on the stands in front of their bikes, I basically pedaled along while they cycled through their zones, which ranged from 1 to 6, with Zone 6 being the most difficult.
I did, however, try to match my intensity to theirs, so if Doug asked the class to begin a short, high-intensity effort, that’s what I did.
This class followed a pattern: short, challenging work followed by longer periods of recovery pedaling. During the challenging portions, Doug would encourage the riders:
“Power is not a number; it’s a sensation.”
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go,” a T.S. Eliot quote, and one of my all-time favorites.
He had obviously spent a considerable amount of time working on the music for the class. The songs were so precisely timed, that when the bursts of high-intensity cycling began, so too would the uptempo portions of the selected song. This allowed me (and most likely the other class members as well) to really give those short, difficult efforts my all.
After class, I asked some Psyclewerks riders what they liked about the program.
Remember when I mentioned the Doug love?
Here’s what they said:
“Doug brings out the athlete inside of me.”
“He elicits effort rather than enforces it.”
“Doug is encouraging and motivational without being aggressive.”
“I am working smarter, and not simply practicing for practicing’s sake.”
“Doug is, in a word, the man.”
So, am I tossing my Mizunos and buying a road bike? Probably not.
But I’ve learned that cycling, rather than being intimidating and only for the hardcore hardbodies, is actually something I can do as an excellent form of cross-training.
The Psyclewerks program is fascinating. The idea that every ride is catered to each class member’s fitness level and that every person is getting a near perfect workout for his/her body makes the program even more intriguing.
I heard a rumor as class was ending that Doug is running this program again early next year.
If you’re interested in taking your cycling to the next level, this is the program for you.
And if you’re lucky, Doug might even give you his autograph after class if you ask nicely.
One thing I’ve learned since joining Midtown in January is that the people who work there are genuinely interested in high-quality service.
And now, to improve their member service even further, they want to know about how best to communicate with you about events, programs, classes, and activities.
By now, you should have received a member survey in your email inbox. This survey was designed to gather information as to how you would like to have Midtown communicate with you.
This survey asks how you would prefer to learn about club happenings. Would you like more information on the website, or on Facebook? Maybe you like reading the posters in the club, or grabbing the flyers from the rack on the way out the door. Make sure you take this survey. One lucky member will win an iPad, just for answering it.
Now, they’re offering another prize, just for answering one more question.
Leave your answer in the Comments section, and you can win a Midtown “Prize Pack for Two.” Included are your choice of two of the tshirts shown below, two water bottles, and two hats. Make sure you leave me a way to contact you (an email address is fine) if you’re the winner. This giveaway will end on Monday, 11/15 at 5pm. I’ll choose a winner via random.org, and announce the winner on our Facebook page on Tuesday morning.
And the question is…
How do you currently learn about events, programs, and activities at Midtown? Do you reference Spirit frequently? Surf the Midtown website or the Facebook page? Read every email the club sends you? Check out the posters in the club?
This contest is open to current Midtown members only.
Let’s hear it!
*Random.org has selected Tim as the winner of the prize pack! Thank you so much to everyone who answered the survey question. Your feedback is valuable, and the management team is reading through your suggestions as they determine how best to keep you up-to-date on everything that’s happening at the club. More giveaways are coming soon, so stay tuned to this blog and the Facebook page.
I’m not going to sugar-coat it for you, since if you were there, you already know.
This class was a 90-minute bruiser.
This was one of the toughest profiles I ever designed. Our power focus was on VO2 max and anaerobic capacity.
The profile consisted of three strength climbs, a VO2 max reference test, and a “Tabata” protocol. Everything was repeated twice.
VO2 max is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption. In simple terms, it means running your aerobic system at full capacity. On full steam, VO2 max lasts from 3-to-8 minutes. I used a different approach called the “Tabata” protocol.
I asked my athletes if anyone who read last week’s blog could tell me the definition of the “Tabata” protocol. One very eager athlete waved both hands and proceeded to give me a two-minute dissertation on it.
She was spot-on, and when she finally came up for air, the room was filled with applause, cheers, and disbelief. Apparently, I looked of shocked and awed that she new much more about this than I did, because one athlete blurted out, “You just got served!”
True, but payback was imminent. (Cue the evil laugh.)
The Tabata protocol consists of short efforts (20-45s) at VO2 max power with very short recoveries (20-45s), repeated many times. This creates a cumulative fatigue effect, continually pounding the aerobic system, while allowing just enough rest to go at it again and again.
Very challenging stuff, which should only be attempted when the body has gradually adapted to handle this kind of repetitive intensity. Our Psyclewerks program has been building our athletes since Week 1, and they were ready for the challenge.
We also worked on our anaerobic capacity in a similar fashion. We trained on three back-to-back climbs with 1-minute recoveries between each. We “peaked” each climb with some very steep efforts in zone 5.
Music leaned to the aggressive side. These efforts hurt, and really “bully” the body. When you are getting beat down, naturally a little anger will ensue, so we listened to some anger-management songs, like “Guerrilla Radio” by Rage Against the Machine, and “More Human than Human” by Rob Zombie to really lay down the power under very fatiguing conditions.
The class fought back hard, and just killed the profile.
In 15 years of teaching group cycle, I have never seen any group work that hard for 90 minutes.
We finished out the training session with a celebration of sorts.
I also debuted my new microphone in class this week. After some research and referals, I purchased the Countryman Associates E6 Omni earset microphone. In the music industry, this is known as the “Madonna mic.” I did some pre-testing earlier in the week and it was like a religious experience! What a difference.
In the upcoming week, we will build the “supercharger.” More anaerobic capacity, and maximum power over durations of two minutes down to 0-60 seconds.
Three more weeks until graduation! Remember, you can catch up on past Psyclewerks posts here.
What did you think of this week’s class?
Pre-dusk, Sunday, October 31st was “Fright Night,” my ode to Halloween.
I took a lot of Halloween-inspired songs and we embarked on descending threshold (zone 3) intervals. This was the first class to have rest intervals, in order to reach and maintain appropriate intensity.
We worked four threshold intervals at 11, 9, 8.5, and7.5 minutes with 3-4 minutes of recovery before each one. The team rode beautifully, maintaining appropriate cadence with resistance.
Here’s something that has become readily apparent. In the regular cycle classes I teach, regardless of my feedback and instruction, there are almost always some “outliers.” There are people who pedal too fast with too little resistance or people who pedal too slowly with too much resistance. This either affects their safety or effectiveness. But when we receive power feedback from our pedaling, these ineffective techniques almost vanish.
“Fright Night” was a blast, with one athlete claiming he saw a “bright, white light.” I suggested he would be better off heading toward it rather than the “other direction.”
Now, for some education. Over the next two weeks our intensity is going to increase as the time we apply this intensity decreases. For the general exercise enthusiasts, these higher power zones are rarely visited and therefore “untrained.”
This makes my job a little more complicated. Although our FTP test result is used to calculate our power zones, it can’t predict how often we can repeat intervals in each zone. This is dependant on each individual.
Some individuals may at first struggle to even reach the upper zones like 5 and 6. This is why we “train” and is how we will make your body that much stronger. Typically most people try to maximize their exercise time by going as hard as they can for the entire duration. In power-speak, this means they physiologically can only maintain high zone 2 and zone 3 threshold power.
The body will then become very good at zone 2 and zone 3 power production. This is known as the rule of specificity, or “you get what you train for.” This is a great way to go if you have limited time but within a few weeks your body will plateau, because it has “been there, and done that.”
In order to keep improving, we need to continuously challenge the body by training different areas in different ways. This is what Psyclewerks 2.0 is designed to do.
But be aware you will “fail” at some point, by not being able to maintain the prescribed power for intervals.
This is a good thing; it means you have thoroughly challenged you body in a new way. It will adapt with rest, and you will be stronger the next time!
High-Intensity Interval Rules (5 minutes or less)
If you can’t maintain Interval Power:
1.) When you can’t maintain prescribed interval power, shut it down, recover, and tack on the remaining time to the prescribed recovery time.
2.) Try again the next interval.
3.) If you fall short again, start the next interval, one zone lower for the first 1/3, and then attempt target power.
4.) If you fail again, call it a day and finish out in recovery or zone 1 NO HIGHER!
If you can’t reach Interval Power at all:
1.) Go as hard as you can for the duration of the first interval.
2.) Try to maintain that zone for the rest of the intervals
3.) When you can’t maintain that zone, go to above steps.
Do not hesitate to back off, and ride easy for the remainder of the training time if you know the “wheels have come off.” You will do more damage than good trying to gut it out. I can tell you that I “fail” to complete 70% of the power workouts I attempt.
Remember, failure in interval training is ultimately success!
This Sunday, we will undertake the “Tabata Protocol.” Extra credit to anyone who can tell me what that involves.
Okay, Psyclewerks team, what do you think about the program so far? Does anyone else have any questions?
I set new goals, such as a sub-2hour Flower City Half-Marathon on May 1st, after being unable to run the Rochester Half-Marathon this past September due to injury). I register for local races in pursuit of PRs, one of which I did not achieve in a disastrous (but fun) Pumpkins in the Park 5K this past weekend). And I experience gadget-and-gear-lust as new products hit the market with the promise to make me a stronger, faster, or more effecient runner.
So when Personal Trainer Bruce Hedlund told me about an upcoming seminar at the club called “Ramp Up Your Run,” I was immediately intrigued.
He and fellow trainer Laura Regna are teaming up in early December to present a two-session seminar called “Ramp Up Your Run.”
One class will run on a weekday, and the other will take place on a weekend day. Each day’s session is 90 minutes. The seminar will include:
Bruce and Laura are the perfect trainers to host this seminar. Bruce has run 17 marathons, including 10 Bostons. He’s also the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Rochester Amerks and for Penfield High School.
Laura teaches stretching classes at the club, and she specializes in flexibility. She’s also an accomplished dancer.
If you’re a runner and interested in this seminar (of course you are!), Bruce and Laura want to know which weekday time slot best fits your schedule. If you look in the right sidebar of the blog, you’ll see the Running Seminar Poll. Cast your vote for the weekday time slot of your choice. If none of these times fit your needs, please leave a comment and suggest an alternate time.
The weekend session will most likely run from 8-9:30am on either a Saturday or a Sunday.
I hope to see you in class!