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A New “SPIN” on Fat Loss OR “Why I need the oversized gel seat on my bike” … May 2, 2010

Posted by fitmontclair in Fat Loss, Group Exercise, Injury Prevention, Montclair, Women's Health.
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Hi Everyone,

Well it’s May and there are lot’s of interesting things to cover, so let’s get started!



If the Bill passes, you and your family will not be fed from these cows…

THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY “PLAYS BOTH SIDES OF THE FENCE!” The drug companies make the drugs that make the animals sick and they also produce the drugs that are prescribed to fight the diseases the contaminated foods cause in humans!!!

Your family will be fed from THESE COWS!


*** The FAX Service is 100% FREE and does NOT require a fax machine! It is TOTALLY done on-line! Everything is preset, you just add your name & address to the letter and enter the fax # of your Senators – which are listed for you by state. IT TAKES LESS THAN 5 MINUTES – PLEASE HELP SAVE LOCAL FARMS!!***

Next topic – May in Montclair 2010:

I have 3 remaining FREE events spaced out through the month covering: Correct exercise & training for women, Crunch-free abs, and Functional Movement. I REALLY would love to teach these workshops but I need people to RSVP or I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO RESERVE STUDIO TIME.

The 3 remaining events ARE NOT in the official 2010 guide or on the website calendar! They are on: FITMONTCLAIR blog, Facebook, Montclair Navigator.

The RSVP Cutoff Date for the next workshop: “Women are NOT small men” – Correct Exercise Selection & Training for Women is Friday, May 7thNo Exceptions and PLEASE NO WALK-INs! I need to properly prepare, reserve the studio, and make handouts etc.

I have 3 NEW articles being published soon: Men’s Exercise – Low back pain prevention, Town Medical Newsletter – “Why Aerobic does NOT equal Cardiovascular”: The Myth of Aerobic Exercise, and in Exercise For Men Only – IT band syndrome. As always there will be links on the blog to the articles.

Now on to the main topic – “Why Spinning is the fast way to a BIG BUTT & “THUNDER THIGHS!”

Avid Spinner..

Way back in the post “The Abdominal Myths 3B – Crunch-FREE Exercises for rock hard abs and a solid steel spine” I introduced you to Charles Poliquin – one of the most successful professional & Olympic Strength Coaches in history. In my latest article for the Town Medical Newsletter: The “Ab” solute Truth – Safe Abdominal Exercises -part 2 I embedded a link to Post 3B so people could view the videos of the mechanisms of spinal injury caused by crunches and 10 videos of safe, crunch-FREE ab exercises. In post 3B I mentioned that I would share at a later date Coach Poliquin’s views on Spinning for fat loss, well that date has arrived due in part from the recent requests and also that spinning kept coming up in my research for the IT band syndrome article I am writing.

Coach Poliquin

A little background on Coach Poliquin so you will all understand why I admire & respect him and his training methodologies so much. Charles Poliquin has coached over 400 professional atlhetes  & Olympic Medalists in 17 different sports, as well as models, actors, and celebrities. If you go to his site his client list is incredible! He has also written 10 books, over 600 articles on training, nutrition, and fitness. Everything he does is based on valid scientific research but he also has the real world, empirical results to prove his methods! He is so dedicated to getting information first hand in addition to his native English & French (he is Canadian by birth) he also learned to be fluent in German to read their research journals and communicate with their scientists, doctors, and coaches (who are the TOP experts in strength training & athletic performance) .

What follows is an interview from  Oxygen Magazine in 2004 with Coach Poliquin and how he trains his female athletes and fitness models. REMEMBER THESE ARE COACH POLIQUIN’S VIEWS, but I have to agree with him for I saw the same results (or lack of results) in all those who participated in Spinning when I was a local Fitness Director for over 6 years. (Note: It was the club owner & the Aerobics Director who added Spinning, not me…)


Coach Poliquin’s interview:

[Oxygen Magazine]  “What is your take on spinning?

A complete waste of time. Counter productive at best. Want fat legs keep spinning!

When fitness model Chrissy May hired me to get ready for her Oxygen magazine photo shoots, I first asked what her current exercise was. She told me that spinning was part of training program and yet complained that getting lean legs was her biggest challenge. I told her to drop the spinning immediately, and that she would see results in a matter of a few days. She was quite reluctant, claiming that spinning “made her legs feel tighter”. In my usual diplomatic style, somewhat to the right of the Attilla the Hun, I countered that insanity is defined as doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.

Yes spinning is very tiring, is it productive? NO. I live in Scottsdale AZ where spinning is more popular than tanning for skin cancer. It is attended by women who are as fat in the lower extremities as when I saw them exit their class two years ago when I moved here.

Why is spinning so useless if I am getting a great workout from it? Because the high velocities fatigue a particular point in the neuro-muscular junction which is responsible for the rapid firing rate of the motor units, you perceive great fatigue even though little work has been done. When you think about it, you could reproduce the same type of fatigue in your triceps if I asked you to hold a pair of fly swatters and swat an imaginary 100 flys in 30 seconds. Would you triceps get tired, sure. Would they improve significantly in terms of conditioning. NO. Why? Because the resistance is not high enough to elicit the hormonal response needed to create adaptive response that would bring about positive body composition changes.

In spinning exercise, the body adapts by storing both intra-muscular and subcutaneous fat in the thigh and hip areas to provide a more readily available source of fuel for the aerobic recovery periods. The body figures out, if I store fat there it reduces the time to get to the muscles to provide the energy source. Result: Kobe beef thighs and butt, all plump and marbled with fat inside.

Spinning for fat loss…NO THANKS!

–Charles Poliquin

What I do want to stress that this interview was about Spinning for FAT LOSS;  I suppose Spinning could be an alternative form of cardiovascular exercise, a form of endurance or interval training while providing some variety in your exercise program (If the class is conducted safely- more on this in a minute). Overall Spinning is a tool like any piece of exercise equipment and you need “the right tool for the job”. Spinning based on Coach Poliquin’s research and empirical results is the WRONG TOOL FOR FAT LOSS, ESPECIALLY IN THE LOWER BODY FOR WOMEN!

Still not convinced?? – Here’s some more evidence:

This is from the Figure Athlete website – a very popular website & forum for female athletes & figure competitors:

Figure Athlete, provided some excellent reasons why spinning classes are counter productive for a Figure competitor. Here are some of the women’s quotes from the Figure Athlete website regarding Spinning:

• In my experience, they exacerbate any lower body issues a woman may have. If she stores fat in her lower body, spinning makes this worse. Charles Poliquin also supports this.

• If she has a difficult time building muscle in her lower body, spinning makes it even harder.

Janda’s lower-crossed syndrome – Rampant in Spinning!

• Spinning promotes extremely tight hip flexors, leading to non-firing gluteus. It also creates a rounded back and tight pectorals from the riding position. These are prevalent obstacles that the majority of women already have to overcome, but are ten times worse in females who take spinning classes. 

• In every spinning class I’ve observed and from the four or five spinning instructors whose brains I’ve picked, although the class does “intervals,” it seems the entire class is performed at an extremely high percentage of the max heart rate, or rate of perceived exertion, the entire time. So, basically, when you’re in a recovery phase of the interval, you’re still at a very high heart rate or RPE.

[Gordon’s note: non-firing glutes means you lose all the muscle in your butt due to disuse caused by the tight hip flexors resulting in a BIG, SOFT, FLABBY BUTT (hence the need for the oversized gel seat mentioned in the title of this post!)– that will spread and get larger due to less muscle tone. This process is a valid scientific fact – it is known as “Sherrington’s law of Reciprocal Inhibition (or Sherrington’s 2nd law)” and resulted in a Nobel Prize in medicine for  Sir Charles Scott Sherrington in 1932. Sherrington’s law shows that if a  muscle group is constantly activated, the opposing muscles are inhibited and become weak. 

If you want more info and ways to correct it, attend my FREE women’s training workshop on May 11th]

Now Back to the FITMONTCLAIR blog:

If you would like more in depth information on the intra-muscular fat and subcutaneous fat storage mechanisms Coach Poliquin mentioned, I recommend the following books (**These are graduate level text books and you should have a thorough knowledge of anatomy, exercise physiology, and biochemistry to help absorb the material**)

Since we are on the subject of Coach Poliquin’s training tips for fat loss, he recently had a blog post covering “Top 10 Reasons how women get fatter despite good intent”

WARNING! If you have NO sense of humor, cannot accept criticism or new ideas, believe the commercial fitness & nutrition industry tells the truth – YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO HANDLE COACH POLIQUIN’S BLOG POST!!!! (“heads up” – Coach Poliquin can be a little cynical & sarcastic but I like it and it is well deserved on this topic)

From Coach Poliquin’s blog:

Top 10 reasons how women get fatter despite good intent:

1. They do spinning classes. That and disco fly swatting will get you nowhere fast in your pursuit of lean physique.

2. They have Kashi with skim milk for breakfast. Eat the cardboard box, it is higher in nutrients.

3. They go for coffee after training. Coffee is great pre-training, horrendous post training. You want high cortisol when you train, not after.

4. They follow a low fat diet, fearing that fat makes you fat. In the process, they avoid nutrient dense foods like avocados that would help lose body fat much raster.

5. They consume soy products that shrink their brains not their hips because of the toxic levels of manganese.

6. They eat bagels because they are low fat. Gasoline is also low in fat. Would you drink that?

7. They don’t make time for themselves. Here is the best fat loss tip for women: take a week off just for you, no boyfriend/partner/husband and no kids.

8. They consume grains. Part of a healthy and balanced fat butt.

9. They use beauty products loaded with harmful chemicals such as parabenes.

10. They don’t follow the axiom: You are your schedule.

P.S. Men are dumb, but not that dumb. For example, I can’t believe that women think we fall for the following camouflage combo:

Diversion 1: sweatshirt tied with sleeves around butt to hide the fact that you should actually hang an orange triangle on it.

Diversion 2: 150-350 dollars hair cut.

Reality check:

The 150-350 dollars haircut does not attract our attention from the wide load. We actually don’t even notice when you get your hair done. If a male notices your hair cut, he is gay, or he has not admitted it to himself. Proof? When he gets up from your couch, he rearranges the pillows.

Copyright ©2011 Charles Poliquin

Again I agree with Charles and his ideas for he is very rarely wrong! A great quote I once read “If I had a dollar for every time Charles Poliquin was wrong; I’d be broke and living in a cardboard box!”

Before we move on to the last topic and wrap up this week’s post I just want to reiterate that Spinning could possibly be an effective form of exercise for cardiovascular fitness and endurance if performed correctly. It is a poor tool for lower body fat loss and or muscle gain!

Also Spinning in the absence of other exercise modalities such as strength training, core conditioning, and dynamic stability can lead to: poor posture, muscle loss, knee, back, and neck pain just to name a few common problems – Spinning at best can be PART of an exercise program but IT IS NOT A COMPLETE EXERCISE PROGRAM AND SHOULD NEVER BE USED AS SUCH, IF AT ALL !

NOT a 5 course meal!


Please note: If you are genetically predisposed to being lean, Spinning will not suddenly pack pounds of fat to your thighs & butt i.e. if you have the same waist you had in high school, look the same width from the front , side, and back or consider a 5 course meal as having cucumbers, radishes, and beets with your lettuce and tomatoes, Spinning will not turn you into a Rosie O’ Donnel or Oprah clonebut it will reduce your lower body muscle mass!

Remember the “Skinny Fat” syndrome post – thin does NOT MEAN low body fat or ensure health! I find the best way to use Spinning as a cardiovascular tool is to use it occasionally or infrequently and alternate it with other forms of resistance training to maintain muscle & strength and let your NUTRITION plan do the majority of your fat loss!

O.K. the last topic I promised is “how to tell if your group exercise class is safe”. I have received A LOT of feedback on my Bootcamp post; many instructors have asked how to make it safe and where to get FMS certified. Many people want to know what to look for in a class to ensure safety & prevent injuries. This could be a huge post on its own, however I will keep it short and use Spinning as an example but the basics can (and should ) be applied to any group exercise class:

1) Every class member should fill out a complete Health History & Injury History form and the instructor MUST review it before they allow them to enter the class!!!

2) The Health History must include current medications & conditions and if necessary an M.D.’s consent form! Most group exercise classes, especially Spinning are designed to be cardiovascular exercise, many drugs alter heart rate & blood pressure responses to exercise.

For example: Beta-blockers do NOT allow for heart rate elevation, making heart rate monitors USELESS IN THESE INDIVIDUALS!  They cannot reach their target heart rate zone and if you keep pushing them there can be SERIOUS consequences! 

Diuretics increase dehydration risk – is there sufficient water immediately available DO NOT DEPEND ON CLASS MEMBERS TO BRING THEIR OWN – a water fountain in another part of the gym is NOT acceptable! What about diabetic members – do they have an immediate source of glucose either as tablets or a drink.

3) Is There an A.E.D in the Spin Studio / Aerobics room / Pilates & Yoga classes – seconds count, you don’t want to be running to the front desk when someone is DYING!

For Diabetic Emergencies – NOT fat loss!


5) Are ALL members wearing a heart rate monitor (correctly) and understand how to use it! – a class CANNOT produce a cardiovascular fitness effect in members if they are not in their target heart rate zone, and if they are above it too often  – well, I hope you can dial 911 REAL FAST! Many machines with built in monitors are HIGHLY, HIGHLY inaccurate – too many reasons to list!.

** Taking your radial (wrist) pulse is sloppy and usually off by several beats.

*** Taking your carotid (neck) pulse during exercise  is JUST STUPID & DANGEROUS! “Hmmm, let’s compress the artery that is supplying blood to my brain at an increased rate so I can keep up with the class”- This ranks up there with ” I think the oven is leaking gas, give me a lit match so I can look inside and check it out….”


6) This is just for Spinning – Does the instructor teach you personally how to set up the bike; are all the bikes PROPERLY MAINTAINED BY A CERTIFIED SPIN MECHANIC or do people rush to class early for specific bikes because some are broken down?

Many of you know I was the Fitness Director for the areas largest gym for over 6 years until the economy started to “tank”. What you don’t know is one of the first cuts by the club’s OWNERSHIP (not me) was to eliminate the monthly Spin bike maintenance service and let uncertified staff members try and maintain the bikes – now you know why many of the bikes were always down! (Improperly adjusted or maintained bikes are a MAJOR cause of Spin related pain & injuries – Remember Spin is only good if it DOESN’T cause pain or injury– this holds true for all forms of exercise!)

Well, I’m finally done! I could go on with tons more but I think you get the picture…

Enjoy the great weather and I hope to see you at some of my May in Montclair Events!

Stay Healthy & Strong!!



Using Science to Maximize Health & Performance



1. sangjuara.com - May 25, 2010

The fat around the waist, stomach, or sometimes a bag, and other times it seems that the hard boiled egg. The stomach seems to be the easiest place to settle fat. Most people are only exercising the middle section. But this is not the only cause, the mass of people around the belly. What you eat plays a big role in the waist and lose weight in the gut is a two-pronged approach. Diet and physical activity.

fitmontclair - May 25, 2010

Thanks for the comment,

Not really sure about the bag and egg part of the comment, if you were referring to the appearance of the abdominal wall at times or not. You are correct in that fat loss is a 2 part approach of diet and exercise (I have written multiple times how nutrition is more important for fat loss than exercise). With the poor physical condition & food quality of most people in the U.S many need to also address: sleep, stress reduction and completely disrupted hormonal profiles (due to chemicals, additives, colorings etc in the horrible processed and non-organic foods) if they ever want to achieve permanent, healthy fat loss.

Exercise is not the sole answer, if it was there would be a lot less fat people in the gyms. We resemble a nation of Sumo wrestlers, people who exercise, are strong but still have high body fat levels (although the sport & tradition of Sumo require the high body fat) .

Thanks for reading the blog and I hope to go into more about food allergies, disrupted hormonal profiles and how they impede fat loss in future posts.


2. News Online Blogs - May 28, 2010

I really love the content of your article, I feel very lucky to be reading your articles, because I am gaining much knowledge from your article, I will be favorite readers of your blog, create your success

fitmontclair - May 29, 2010

Glad you like the articles and that you are gaining knowledge from them; that is my whole reason for the blog. I wanted people, especially the local one’s in my town, to realize they are not always receiving the truth from the media & commercial fitness industry and to provide resources where they can get more information.

Have a great weekend and watch for a NEW post soon!


P.S. please feel free to invite others to read my blog. The more people that I can help the better it is for everyone!

3. lalmZoordemia - July 15, 2011


What do you thing about below diet supplement? I’m going to buy something good for muscle growth. Please give me a piece of advice.


fitmontclair - July 19, 2011

Thank you for reading my blog and commenting, unfortunately the link you attached is for a sports supplement website that is not in English.

I would need an English website to be able to answer your question, however just remember that supplements are only to be added after a good diet & proper exercise program. Most supplement companies spend more on marketing & advertising than putting out a quality product that works.

I would make sure you have an organic food based diet with plenty of raw milk, fresh eggs, and organic free-range meats first. These will build more muscle than any store bought supplement.

Have a great day!


4. lalmZoordemia - July 23, 2011


What do you thing about below diet supplement? I’m going to buy something good for muscle growth. Please give me a piece of advice.


fitmontclair - July 23, 2011

Thanks again for reading & posting but unfortunately the site you keep asking about is NOT in English, so why I would really love to help you I cannot read the supplement information.

If there is an English version, please forward me the link and I will try to answer your question as best as I can.

Have a great day!


5. tonto murphy - October 5, 2011

youd do well not to be relying on ole charlie for scientific evidence,he interprets it to suit himself,his entire nutrition and biosig lark is based on misinterpretation(probably deliberate as I doubt hes that stupid).Any ex phys graduate will tell you that youll lose weight including fat and possibly muscle from any cardio exercise if the volume is high enough,no matter what it is .You cannot spot gain fat from cardio and you cant spot lose it significantly.So pro runners and cyclists have fat legs then,they actually have thin legs but not much muscle either on the runners.What he should have said is that it isnt as effective as properly programmed resistance training,he always goes for the dramatic title,thats usually inaccurate.

fitmontclair - October 6, 2011


I don’t doubt that Charles bends some research etc to fit his views but I have to look at his clientele and his success rate over the years etc. Pro & Olympic athletes are NOT going to pay a lot of money if they are not improving and winning – in fact many of the most popular strength coaches & trainers use their slant on the research and some sensationalism to sell their services & products. The only people that hold true to the actual studies are the academics & researchers whom are not in the field working with results driven clients & athletes, however many of them are biased based on who pays for the research. I like Charles’ approach & writing and have had good results implementing his methods – his ego from what I hear on the other hand takes a lot to get used to.

I discussed the article years ago with an M.D. friend who also is in the athletic field and he said it was possible to increase fat storage by setting up an energy storage depot like Charles states. I think genetics, diet and other factors are involved as well that is why I said that Spinning could be effective cardio training and that it will NOT take someone who is naturally thin or lean and turn them into Oprah; Most endurance athletes are naturally lean so Spinning will not have an negative effect on them in regards to increasing fat storage (they still can and often do have muscle loss, postural imbalances, and pain & injury due to Spinning).

Empirically I do agree with Charles (and the quotes of the women athletes from Figure Athlete.com) that many women fail to lose fat in the hips and thighs by Spinning – it probably has just as much to do with poor diet, hormonal imbalances, improper exercise, insulin reisistance, decreased A2 receptors, and low catecholamine levels but the “bottom heavy” women I saw in the club where I was Fitness Director for 6+ years RARELY changed their shape and most developed knee & back issues due to Spin class forcing them to stop all together.

Thanks for reading the blog & commenting!


6. Benito Stapelton - November 23, 2011

Hiya very cool web site!! Man .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your website and take the feeds also…I’m happy to seek out numerous useful info here in the post, we’d like work out more strategies in this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

fitmontclair - November 27, 2011

Thanks for the comment Benito,

Sorry I took a while to reply but this was in the spam folder. Glad you liked the post; if you want more info or have questions just e-mail me.

Have a great day!


7. Brett Langarica - November 24, 2011

I’ve read a few excellent stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much attempt you put to make this sort of fantastic informative website.

8. fitmontclair - November 27, 2011

Hi Brett,

Thanks for read & commenting! Glad you liked it. I was trying to do a post every 1 -2 weeks at the start but between writing for two fitness magazines, a medical newsletter, working with clients, and teaching seminars & workshops I got really overwhelmed.

I am a slow typist (hopefully getting Dragon Naturally speaking to eliminate that problem) so a post was taking on avg. 6 -8 hours because of revisions, adding links, pics, and video when possible.

I hope to have some new posts up before the end of the year and then I really want to try for at least 1 per month in 2012…

Have a great day!


9. ab crunches - July 14, 2012

Fantastic article! It was really interesting. I’ll be checking back here again soon! Keep up the good work!

fitmontclair - July 16, 2012

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it; I hope to have some new posts, links to magazine articles, and FREE workshop info up soon!

Have a great day!


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