SPINNING 101 + ADIDAS SALE
I recently had lunch with my friend who teaches spinning at Equinox (well, Equinox calls it CYCLING) and I was surprised at all the things I didn’t know about spinning. I think of myself as an (A+) fly wheel/soul cycle student. Especially because I’ve been doing it for years and know the bikes so well! I thought I’d pass along my newfound knowledge to all of you.
Let’s start at the beginning. The name SPINNING is actually a brand; this is why Equinox and other clubs call it cycling. Stationary bikes have been around for decades, but in the mid-80’s the now-famous Johnny Goldberg (“Johnny G”) invented Spinning® after being hit by a car while biking at night. Goldberg radically improved the indoor bicycle and developed an entire workout program. There have been all kind of variations to indoor cycling since; from laser light shows to choreography to interactive screens that show you videos, outdoor terrain, or even make cycling in a group competitive like a video game. I’m going to try and tell you about all options to help you figure out what kind of cycling is best for YOU!
CYCLING CLASSES AT A GYM:
This is the most cost-effective way to indoor cycle. Most gyms have cycle rooms and a variety of teachers to choose from. Try a bunch to find who you like! Finding a great class every week can be so fun; riding with a group can definitely enhance your experience and make you work harder than you would on your own! Indoor cycling is great cardio and if you find teachers who incorporate different drills, you can get HIIT and anerobic work in as well.
These are classes taught at fitness studios such as SoulCycle or Flywheel. The cost is steep (about $34 per class in NY) for a 45 minute ride. The instructors are often well-trained and very motivating; but some boutiques don’t crank the AC so you sweat profusely leading you to THINK you’ve gotten a better workout than you actually have. Be wary if the room does not feel cold when you walk in! Either the boutique is packing in classes too tightly so the room doesn’t get a chance to “breathe” (cool down between classes), or they are keeping the temp too warm. Also watch out for classes featuring choreography… moves like “push ups” and “tap backs” on a bike are at best ineffective and at worst can lead to injury.
I know it SEEMS like such an efficient way to workout; cardio and weights all in one! But the weights aren’t heavy (at most 5 lbs) and usually the classes only have you do one song worth of weights anyway. You are better off saving your weight work to do separately, when your feet are planted firmly on the ground! But, I will do my one song of 3lb weights in fly wheel or soul cycle class. It mixes up the class and gives me a breather before I start on the next hill.
Most boutique classes also don’t have consuls on their bikes, making it difficult to calculate your progress. Once you get familiar with the different metrics, you can track your watts, heart rate, calories and so forth.
CYCLING AT HOME:
These days companies like Fly Wheel & Peleton are selling stationary bikes with screens so you can do workouts with highly-trained instructors in the privacy of your own home, at times that are ultra-convenient for you.
Another option is to get a non-Peleton brand bike and do workouts off of apps like ZWIFT which allow you to ride with anyone in the world at any time of the day. Through your phone or tablet you will be placed into detailed, 3D landscapes with other cyclists from around the world. Zwift is the latest in online gaming, and as they like to say, “It’s the greatest innovation in cycling since the bicycle.” This helps add the “group fitness” element to cycling when you’re on your own. Something about being around other people always makes me work harder!
Here are a couple more tips if you are completely new to indoor cycling, or just haven’t done it in a really long time
When heading to your first class, ARRIVE EARLY. The instructor will have time to get you set up on the bike. You want to optimize your seat and handlebar height to ensure you don’t injure your knees or feel discomfort (although some soreness the first few times in your seat-area the next day is totally normal). My friend mentioned how difficult it is for the instructor when someone brand new arrives late. It takes away from getting the class started if the instructor has to be focused on you instead of warming up the group
Once you’ve cycled a few times, you might want to invest in some cycling shoes. These shoes clip in so you get a better workout. New Balance has some great cycling shoes that look cool and have a recessed clip so you don’t feel like you’re ice skating when walking around in them. Just make sure you buy the correct clips that correspond with the bikes you’ll be riding
Bring water!!! You’ll need it
TURN OFF YOUR PHONE. This actually applies to all workout classes. Firstly because it’s YOUR TIME to devote to yourself. When your phone is off you can give all your energy to getting the best workout possible. Secondly because it’s rude. I hate being in a class when someone is texting or doing who knows what on their phone. Kills the vibe for everyone. And it’s disrespectful to the instructor
Let me know if you try indoor cycling and how it went! I’m a big fan and I hope you’ll love it too.
ADIDAS SALE (click to scroll right)