Every now and again it can be a good idea to freshen up your fitness routine. However trying out a new class can be daunting: What do you do? How do you do it? Where do you do it?!
Our aim at Move is to try and remove all barriers to exercise, so to help with this, check out number 1 in a series of quick guides to some of our favourite fitness classes. We hope these will help you overcome any anxiety or unsurety you may have about heading out to your first class (who knows, it could turn out to be your favourite workout!)
More intense than your standard workout on an exercise bike in the gym, indoor cycling classes are usually set to a music and mimic traditional cycling with mixed terrains, sprints and climbs. Expect to sweat - you can burn between 400 - 800 (!!) calories in a 45-60 minute class.
Not only does spinning significantly raise you heart rate and the rate at which oxygen is carried to your muscles (your VO2 max) which is great for improving your cardiovascular fitness, all the pedalling will also help strengthen and tone your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves.
Setting Up Your Bike
In most cases, spin classes are set up with rows of stationary bikes facing an instructor, make sure you arrive early to ensure your bike is set up correctly. Most good instructors will usually notice if you're new to the class and will talk your through how to set up your bike, but don't be scared to ask if you need help. Here's an easy to follow guide from our awesome partner BPM Bike Lab:
What you'll need
- Your usual gym gear - some people like the comfort of padded shorts but these are purely optional.
- Some regular riders will wear specialist cyclist shoes but trainers are just fine.
- Water!! You'll be working up a sweat so it's super important to hydrate throughout.
- A small towel. Like we said you're gonna sweat, a lot.
- Some motivation, enthusiasm and a smile! :)
Jon and Jen Directors of BPM Bike Lab have the following advice for anyone new to indoor cycling:
1. Take Your Time
The most important thing is to take your time at the beginning of the class. Same as for any type of exercise, it takes 10 minutes or so before the fat is metabolised effectively to produce energy. Starting too fast tends to use the sugar in the muscles/blood/liver which ideally would be spared and called upon during high intensity periods later on in the activity when you need it most. Holding off before you put your foot on the gas will mean you work consistently hard for the duration of the activity.
2. Enjoy it!
One of the best things about indoor cycling is the atmosphere! Enjoy the vibe, get lost in the music and over the first few session look forward to seeing your fitness increase.
3. Set goals
Once you get into your stride there's a whole host of metrics that can come into play to increase both the enjoyment and effectiveness of your sessions. Setting realistic targets is fundamental to getting the most from your sessions, whether they be a weight-loss or performance/fitness based. This way you can see your progression and improvement and can continue to smash your goals!
A big thanks to Jon and Jen from BPM Bike Lab for casting their expert eyes over this article. Check out their website (and classes!) here if you're in the Leeds area or you can find them on Facebook and Twitter.