I use football games (college or professional – doesn’t really matter) to set up this little session. (Note: for my terminology, I credit Troy Jacobson with Spinervals for my explanation of gears – just love his virtual videos!). This also assumes you have only 2 front cogs on the front (if you have 3, then my “small cog” designation will be your middle cog).
Start the session off in the small front cog and the 15 on the back (about 4 up from the hardest rear cog). This is a fairly easy gear combination to spin and is enough to get yourself warmed up. I typically start at the beginning of the game and spin. Typically, this will last for about 10 minutes.
When the commercial breaks hit, that’s the time to go a little harder. At the first commercial, I immediately gear up to the large front cog. While staying seated, the spinning starts to get more difficult. I continue this for 2 commercials – no matter their length (5 seconds, 15 seconds, 30 or 60).
Every third commercial in that break, I take the rear cog up to the 12 (the smallest, hardest gear on the back). At this point both the front and rear cogs should be on their hardest settings. It is during this third commercial that I stand for the duration of that third commercial (and hope it isn’t that 3 minute long fundraising commercial).
At the end of the third commercial, I take the rear cog back to 15 (front cog stays on the largest one) and continue pedaling the middle gear combination (while seated).
If the commercial break reaches a 6th commercial, the hardest gears are engaged and I’m standing again. Typically, the 6th commercial comes between quarters or at the half.
When the game resumes, you can return to the small front cog/15 on the back (where you started) until the next commercial break. Then resume the every-third-commercial intervals.
If you can make the entire half of a football game, you will have had a great workout. Is it scientific? No. But it sure does help get some miles in while watching the game (I typically see 21-25 miles in a half).
Give this a shot and let me know how you make out. If sports isn’t your thing, try something else – like a movie (though some of those cable channels seem to have short spans of movie between extremely long sets of commercials).