6 Reasons To Try A Cycle Class
With acronyms like LISS, TRX and HIIT stealing 2014's fitness trend spotlight, you'd be forgiven for forgetting about the good ol' faithful cycle class.Rising to fame in the early '90s, when Rolling Stone magazine named it the hottest new exercise, indoor cycle or "spin" has cemented its spot at the top of many a group fitness timetable in gyms around the world.
And for good reason - cycle classes will burn more calories and increase your fitness level faster than nearly any other class on offer.
Forget Lycra and padded bike shorts, all you need is a towel and a water bottle, and a spare 30-60 minutes. And if the concept of sweating it out in the dark, on a two-wheeler that's going nowhere fast, totally bamboozles you, we've rounded up 6 good reasons to get on your stationary bike, stat!
1. Calories (read: fat) be gone!
Cycle class pioneered interval training before it was cool! A single session consists of different music tracks and terrain that change up the speed, resistance and your body position, which spikes the heart rate, followed by brief periods of rest for maximum calorie crushing - up to 400-600 in a 45-minute workout. If you push the pedals regularly you'll also benefit from increased muscular endurance and lung capacity.
2. Low impact
Cycling might burn a heap of calories, but it's actually one of the easiest classes you can take. It's low-impact, which means it's gentle on your joints including those prone-to-niggles knees, hips and ankles. If you have an upper-body injury, or issues with weight-bearing moves like running or aerobics, then cycle is right up your alley. Make sure you ride with a healthy amount of resistance on the bike, even during time trials and race tracks, so you're always in control of the pedals (and to prevent your knees from locking out).
3. You only get out what you put in
The best thing about cycle? You don't have to be a Lycra-wearing, yellow jersey-winning, Tour De France-loving cycle enthusiast to get a good workout. In fact, you control exactly how hard and fast you work by adjusting the resistance dial and choosing a level that's suited to your fitness. Don't stress if you can't keep up with the instructor or the riders next to you, as long as you're challenging yourself, you'll see results.
4. Smells like team spirit
It's the high-energy atmosphere, heart-pumping playlist and more encouragement than an episode of Dr Phil that keeps people coming back for more, plus working out alongside other people means you're less likely to slack off. There's nothing like a bit of friendly competition to motivate you to work harder and get better results.
5. Get long and lean, not big and bulky
It gets a bad rap for building bulky legs, but it's actually a myth that cycle class quadruples your quads. In fact, if you set your bike up correctly you can transform yourself into a lean-legged cycle machine. It's less about the resistance on the wheel and more to do with the height of your seat. When setting up your bike, raise the saddle in line with your hip. Then hop on and see how much your knee bends. You need to make sure your leg is only slightly bent, not creating any less than a 170 degree angle when fully extended.
6. A different kind of happy hour
Elle Woods (Legally Blonde) put it best when she said "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't kill their husbands!" Okay, we might be kidding about the husband killing part, but it's true that cycle class gets the happy hormones flowing. Add awesome music, words of encouragement from the instructor and positive energy from your fellow riders and there's no way you can walk out of the room without a smile on your sweaty, red, hot face!