Thursday, February 17, 2005


I teach not only writing at my school, but also a fitness class. I have two groups of students. Each group meets every other day. My Mon/Wed class is made up of boys who for the most part are unfamiliar with exercise. I have tried to teach them the proper ways to use the exercise equipment that we have, as well as the benefits of living a lifestyle of fitness. I try to motivate them to work hard when we are in the class, and to get into the habit of working out when they are away from school as well. One way I try to motivate them is by example.

When I am in the class with the students I work out rigorously myself. Last week the weather was wet and cold. I knew I wouldn't feel like riding my 11 mile bicycle workout when I got home, so I decided to ride a workout on the programable stationary bike that we have. I plugged in a ride of 40 mins. on "rolling hills" at 300 watts. Twenty-five mins. into the ride I hit the steepest "hill", which is the portion of the ride where you must crank 300 watts for four mins. I was aerobic when I hit this section; my pulse rate was 140 beats per minute. One minute into the hill my pulse rate was 180 bpm and I was anaerobic. Sucking air. I know that I am anaerobic when I cannot breathe deeply or quickly enough to supply my body with the oxygen it needs to continue to function. Two minutes into the hill my scalp started to tingle (I guess this is from oxygen debt.) Three minutes into the hill I didn't think I would be able to maintain the 80 rpm cadence I was determined to keep, but I hung on and got to the top of the "hill" and the machine eased up. I immediately leaned over and wretched. Fortunately I had nothing on my stomach and it was a dry heave. My students looked worried and asked if I were okay. I told them I was hurting, but I would be fine. (I have often in my life exercised to where I threw up. When I was running high school track if you didn't throw up at the end of the workout we felt like you had not really pushed yourself.)

I don't know if this has motivated my students to push themselves, or has just convinced them that I am an insane person. But I do know that I don't hear the kind of complaints that I used to hear from them, which is that they are tired or sore thus need to take it easy.