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Indoor Cycling 101

By: Luisa MamaradloIndoor Cycling 101

A new year marks the perfect opportunity to evaluate oneself. It is that time of the year where you take a moment to pause, retrospect, and list down the short and long-term goals you want to achieve in the next 365 days or more. Eating healthier food or keeping normal numbers in your body stats are common New Year’s resolutions to get in shape. These goals may sound simple, but it is not easy to begin.

Fitness has become a mainstream lifestyle over the past few years. Exercise routines have been created to address the issues that keep you from going to the gym. Thanks to social media, fitness has become a trend that people are on the lookout for the next routine or activity to try that will help them achieve that fit body.

Indoor cycling, popularly known as spinning until it was trademarked by an athletics company, is a fitness phenomenon that has taken the world by storm. According to LifeSpan, it is a group fitness exercise which uses a specially-designed stationary bike, offering a similar experience to that of a road bike. A typical 30 to 45-minute class focuses on endurance, interval, strength, and high-intensity training that burns 600-800 calories. The American Council of Exercise (ACE) promotes indoor cycling as a good cardiovascular exercise and describes this workout as challenging but a whole lot of fun.

"If you are looking for a cardiovascular workout that offers a large expenditure of energy with minimal impact on your hips, knees, and ankles, indoor cycling is an excellent option in those areas. With a little bit of knowledge, you can ensure that an indoor cycling class is the most challenging workout of your week and also a lot of fun," according to the American Council of Exercise.

Initially intended for those who participate in duathlons or triathlons, this high-energy exercise was first introduced in the 1990s. It has circled its way back to the fitness mainstream, thanks to Hollywood celebrities such as Victoria Beckham and Hugh Jackman who swear by this exercise routine and have shared this on their respective Instagram accounts.

If you are a beginner or have tried all the tricks of the trade in terms of exercise but have not yet found the perfect workout for you, then indoor cycling might just be your jam. This exercise is reportedly one of the best cardio activities offered in gyms today. Indoor cycling studios have cropped up in the Philippines since 2015 and gym franchises offer these classes as well.

Here are a few pointers to guide you on your first indoor cycling class:

Control your ride. Pick and reserve a seat in advance. Most studios or gyms allow reservations or booking classes online. Find a spot where you are most comfortable sitting and gives you a better view of your instructor. It is advisable you browse your studio’s website to have an idea of what to do and expect. For example, avoid heavy meals 1-2 hours prior and condition your body by drinking lots of water and some stretching before a workout. Moreover, you may speak to the studio personnel or your instructor and inform them beforehand that it is your first time and that their assistance, especially during class, will be very much appreciated. 

Dress comfortably. It is advisable you wear moisture-wicking or sweat-proof clothing because indoor cycling will make you sweat a lot.

Be early. It is best to arrive at the gym at least 15 minutes before your class to prepare. Keep in mind that your bike needs to be set up depending on your body to avoid injury. In addition, most studios have cycling-specific shoes for you to borrow. These shoes have cleats that clip into the pedal for a smoother experience.

And last but not the least, do not freak out. This exercise is designed to be fun. Keep your eye on your instructor and follow his/her lead. The instructor will use terms you may not be familiar with since cycling has its own set of jargons. Multisport.ph listed some of the most common terms used during class:

  • RPM – Pedal stroke revolutions per minute
  • Sprints – 100-130 RPM off the saddle
  • Jumps – Sprints with intervals on and off the saddle (“Maybe 2/4/8 counts each,” says instructor Kamae de Jesus.)
  • Tap backs – Push-ups off the saddle before sliding back and tapping your butt on the saddle
  • Resistance – When you add ‘stickiness’ to a bike, mimicking that of an uphill ride

Expect sore muscles after your workout and despite the pain, keep your active pace so as not to waste the effort in burning the calories and increasing your metabolism. According to indoor cycling instructors, like any other workout, your first time will be the sorest and uncomfortable. Results in your body will only be noticed after constant workout and of course, proper diet.

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