Moody Monday: How to beat a bad mood, part 2

Change your commute, change your mood?

This summer I started riding my bike to work. I find that I am much more energized when I get to the office, and far more energized when I get home. The physical effort wakes me up and my urban commute requires a degree of focus and concentration that distracts from the petty annoyances that I would mull about if were driving or riding the bus.

Aside from putting me in a better mood the other big benefit of bike commuting is efficiency: my workout time and my commuting time are merged into one, which means I can sleep in a bit. Also it saves a few hundred bucks a week in gas, parking, bus fare, etc. When I was researching this blog post, I found out you can deduct $20 of biking expenses for every month you commute  on your bike from your taxes. Also, some people might feel smug and virtuous because they are saving the planet and all that, but that’s not me. If anything, I worry that people might peg me as an insufferable hipster, or more likely and worse yet, a wannabe insufferable hipster. But I am a bit too old and bit too busy let what people think keep me from going about my business. But I digress.

Luckily, this was a fairly easy transition because: a) I live 3 miles from my office; b) I already owned the essentials: a bike, helmet, bike lock, backpack for my laptop, and c) I have a rather casual workplace–it’s not dressy and the hours are pretty flexible, so I can keep my eye on the weather and traffic and pick a good time to make the trek.

The big challenges I encountered have been a) clothes and shoes that I feel comfortable wearing on the bike and wearing into the office, b) hair – yes, arriving at the office with sweat/wet/helmet head is not the best, and c) make-up.

At this point my post is going to get fairly girl-specific but I found that the best look so far is kind of a french girl vibe that consists of (from the ground up): Scrunch ballet flats with elastic so they don’t fall off your feet, black  “pixie pants” these are cooler than jeans and more work appropriate if you can take yourself seriously as a professional while wearing a garment called “pixie pants”, a tank top, a lightweight cardi (it’s hard to find a quality cardigan that doesn’t just make you look frumpy, but I have had good luck with Halogen brand from Nordstroms), and a gauze cotton scarf.  Aside from the cardigan, which should last for years, most pieces can be had inexpensively from Old Navy, and won’t show grease stains from your bike chain or sweat. The idea is to stash the cardi and the scarf in your bag and put it on when you get to work. I suppose that you could even put an extra and or nicer sleeveless shell  in the bag and change if you need to look a bit more presentable or you get extra sweaty.

I have read and can confirm that you need to wait about 10 minutes until you stop sweating to hit the ladies room, freshen up make the switch, and do your hair and make up. I just do my regular make-up for work. The hair, the hair now that leaves me flummoxed … I can’t say I have a solution … I am due for a trim and a will consult the hair dresser to see if she has any ideas because I sure don’t.

I put together a playlist for commuting for people who can’t commute by bike. I see people riding with earbuds, but yeah, no, because safety.

Anyway I listened to said playlist several times, trying to fine tune it as I do, and it make me sad, so I deleted it but didn’t have the time to come up with something new, so I am reviving an old playlist, called “Roadkill Romance”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Disco Spin – A Workout Playlist

Welcome back to Workout Wednesday at The Owl Muse.

Earlier this month, The Owl Muse shared Spotify playlists for cardio and weight training mixtapes, so today it’s all about indoor cycling. You know, like on a stationary bicycle? This particular Spotify playlist for spinning has a distinctly dance music vibe with some of my very favorite EDM, house, and disco tracks.

Indoor cycling is meant to be done in the dark, so I guess I was inspired by the idea of the dance floor. Maybe I should put a disco ball up in my basement, hmmm…

OWL MUSE SPINNING PLAYLIST < Play on Spotify

Okay, get your headphones on and get on that bike. I use a heart rate monitor tells me I have the resistance at the right level of intensity.

WARM UP SONGS – Start with light resistance and ramp up gradually during the warm up. I look for my heart rate to be 110-115 by the end of the first three songs.

1. September/Pomplamoose

2. Oxford Comma/Vampire Weekend

3. Shake Your Booty/KC & The Sunshine Band

THE FIRST HILL – Crank up the resistance! For me this is a standing climb, and I try to get my heart rate up into the zone of 130-140 bpm. Cadence is slower, but if you don’t break a sweat on this part of the workout you probably need to add resistance.

4. Details of the War/Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

5. Crown on the Ground/Sleigh Bells

6. Gold Lion/Yeah Yeah Yeahs

RECOVERY – Back off the resistance and get back in the seat.

7. Time to Pretend/MGMT

8. Get Lucky/Daft Punk

THE SECOND HILL –  Put more resistance on your spin bike and get back out of the seat. This is a kinder, gentler hill than the first but it’s still a hill.

9. Woman King/Iron & Wine

10. Let Forever Be/The Chemical Brothers

COOL DOWN SONG – Back off the resistance and bring your heart rate down.

10. Shuggie/Foxygen

STRETCHING – Do your best yoga moves. Or just lie on the ground. Whatever.

11. Agaetis Byrjun/Sigur Ros

I have done this workout many, many times.

There are different genres of spinning workouts and this falls into the strength category. The idea is to keep you HR 75%-85% of maximum and keep your cadence around 60-80. I do like the strength workouts on the bike because I feel like I’m building power in the legs and reinforcing my delicate knees. You can check out Spinning.com for tips on form.

I have two more spotify workout mixtapes/exercise routines to share with you before January is over. Next up, Punk for Plyo! Because I know you LOVE burpees!

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