I’ve seen my fair share of exercise fads come and go, and over the years I’ve probably spent more money on the next big thing believing it would get me the body I wanted, but my bank account was the only thing that ended up any lighter. I bought a pair of MBTs, possibly one of the most unattractive shoes ever made, under the belief that recreating the barefoot walking-style of the Masai warriors, I would burn more calories, lose weight, and have the most amazing butt ever. I think we all know how that turned out.
I’ve done step aerobics, water aerobics, jazzercize, aquafit, but there’s one thing that’s stuck with me for twenty years now – and that’s indoor cycling.
I discovered Spinning in my early 20s when I was living in Brussels, Belgium. The darkened room and pumping music drew me in, but it was the feeling of strength and power I got being on the indoor bike that made it stick with me. True – it’s not exactly the same as outdoor cycling. The scenery is less appealing, there’s no wind in your hair – but you also get to cycle year round without downpours and gales, and without fear of dangerous drivers getting too close.
It was a happy surprise when the opportunity came along a couple of years ago to become an indoor cycling instructor, which has only increased my love of this workout. With the theme of Getting Unbusy in mind, indoor cycling ticks all my boxes of getting a productive workout, invigorating my body and refreshing my mind!
If you’ve never tried indoor cycling before, here are a few great reasons why it’s worth trying out:
It’s Suitable for all levels of fitness
The great thing about being on an indoor bike is that you are in control of the resistance and therefore how hard you work. A beginner and an expert can both ride the same class, side by side, and by adjusting their resistance accordingly, they can both work to their max level of comfort (or challenge). So whether you’re a total beginner or are looking for a really tough workout, an indoor cycling class will accommodate both those things.
For me, the music I listen to when I work out – especially running or cycling – can make a huge difference in my performance. The right music can eke out some extra effort in my ride, or get me in ‘the zone’ where I can clear my mind and just focus on pushing forward. It also provides some welcome distraction when the workout might otherwise be torture. I spend WAY too much time building my cycling playlists, but I find it’s totally worth it (and I enjoy it).
Low Impact Cardio
Not only is this a great workout for different fitness levels, it can also be a great choice for those can’t do high impact cardio classes for any reason. Knee issues specifically can prevent participation in certain kinds of workouts, but cycling remains a great exercise option for those dealing with knee conditions (always check with your physician first to be sure). The key is making sure the bike has been set up correctly for you, so definitely take the time to get to the class early and ask your instructor for help with the set-up if you’re trying it out for the first time.
Big Calorie Burn
I typically burn between 550 and 650 calories during an hour cycle – enough said.
This one is harder for me to explain, but I feel so empowered when I’m on the bike. I appreciate the strength in my legs as I push through tough resistance, and I love the feeling of getting up into a standing climb, hunkering down and powering through another hill. How about this: it’s the opposite of trying on a swimsuit under changing room lighting: on the bike I appreciate my body, it’s strength and what I can do with it. We should all get to feel like that sometimes…
If you have any questions about indoor cycling, hit me up in the comments – I’d be happy to answer them for you!