Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Indoor Cycling (AKA Spinning) and why you should be doing it!

Contributed by Andrew Blair
Certifications:  Schwinn Cycling Instructor, Can-Fit PTS, & TRX Suspension Training Instructor.
Indoor Cycling Instructor at: 
Lifetime Athletic (Tuesday 6:30pm)
Gears Bike Shop (Port Credit, Monday 6pm and 7:30pm)
& Clay Canada (Classes TBD)

First, let’s clear up an old myth about indoor cycling being like a cruel form of torture!  The truth is that indoor cycling is probably one of the most inclusive forms of group exercise, for all ages and fitness levels.  When you take part in an indoor cycling class you are in charge of your resistance knob and the instructor is only there as a form of motivation.  As a result, unlike other forms of group exercise, you can take it at your own pace, listen to your body and make adjustments to the routine based on your fitness level, without any of the other participants being any the wiser.  This is why indoor cycling is such a great form of group exercise; the playing field is level, as each participant takes away exactly what he or she puts into the class.

People always ask the question “how is indoor cycling going to benefit me?”  The answer to that is simple.  Indoor cycling helps to develop a strong cardiovascular system, improved aerobic base, with gains in muscular endurance and strength, as well as anaerobic capacity and threshold output.  But how exactly do participants achieve all these great benefits?  It’s simple, they just have to follow the instructors’ cues and use the resistance knob accordingly on the bike!

This is why; out of all the types of cardiovascular equipment, instructors are needed to guide these types of classes.  It has a lot to do with coaching your participants to strive to achieve their total health objectives.  Without the cues from an instructor to add more resistance, thereby producing a higher power output, participants could spin for an hour with little to no resistance and get minimal benefits for their efforts.  

As an indoor cycling instructor, for 10 years now, my job is pretty clear, motivate people to achieve their fitness goals and do so at their own pace and ability.  You can have a class with a wide range of ages and abilities.  The key to individual success is the resistance knob on the bike.  It allows all the participants to work at their own fitness levels, while heading towards the same goal; improved health.  

The challenge faced by instructors is to coach the participants to work within their individual fitness levels, while cuing them to increase their power output.  The real benefit of indoor cycling will only come when the participants begin to work at a higher output of power.  Power, in the end, is what translates directly to calories burned, with increases in all the benefits stated above. 

Indoor cycling is also a great option for people looking to cross train.  It is a non-impactful form of exercise where participants can get a hard session in with minimal wear and tear on the body.  Indoor cycling provides the athlete with an alternative method to achieve results, while producing greater average workout intensity, then if they continued to only do sport specific training.   They can produce more beneficial training gains by adding in this non-impactful exercise, while reducing the chance of any overuse injuries so commonly seen with people who don’t cross-train.

With everything stated above I hope it is obvious that indoor cycling is a great choice of cardiovascular exercise.  It is inclusive, FUN, addictive and has many benefits for its participants.  But I would have to say that the biggest plus of indoor cycling is that it creates a sense of community.  Everyone who participates in indoor cycling classes is working towards a common goal, improved health.  I challenge all of you regardless of your fitness level or ability, to try out an indoor cycling session.  It changed my life; maybe it can change yours too.  

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