I can’t tell you how many people say to me, “I’d love to try cycling, but it just seems too hard.” And, what do I say to that? Actually, it’s probably one of the easiest group fitness classes because you probably already know how to ride a bike! There is no fancy footwork to learn like you would do in BodyStep or BodyCombat and no twisting into a pretzel or trying to balance on your hands like we do in yoga or BodyFlow. If you have ever ridden a bike (or would like to), you can cycle!
Whether it’s called group cycle, Spinning, RPM, Soul Cycle or Moi cycle, the concept is the same: an instructor leads you through an awesome workout on a stationary bike set to music that will inspire you to work out to your ultimate potential. While the format and length of the class may vary based upon each program and instructor, the basic moves are all the same. The most basic move that we are all familiar with is simply sitting on the bike and pedaling. Another move you will see is running or jumping; all that means is that you are standing in an upright position and pedaling the bike almost like you are running. Jumps move you from the seated position to the running position and back down again. A third move that is quite common is the standing climb. Often when we sit on a bike, we turn up the resistance on the bike (as simple as turning a dial) and mimic a hill. When the imaginary hill gets big enough, we will then get up out of the saddle and allow our legs to help keep the pedals moving. Again, if you have ever ridden a bike, you have inevitably come across a few hills in which you found it easier to lift your butt and use the momentum of your feet to help you get up the hill faster! But, here’s the best part. When you come across a hill out on the road, you climb it no matter how giant it is. In cycle class, you get to control the resistance. In other words, instead of turning the dial to really increase the resistance, you can leave it right where it is at and pretend you are going up a small hill. Some people may call this “cheating.” For those new to cycle, I call it a good smart start!
Bottom Line: anyone, no matter what their background, can take a cycle class. And, since you are in control of the bike and the resistance, anyone, no matter what their fitness level, will be able to participate in a cycle class and reap the rewards. It works the cardiovascular system and builds strong muscles in the legs which will help you increase your metabolism and burn calories. According to Les Mills, an RPM class can burn up to 675 calories in 45 minutes!
What you need for a cycle class:
1) A towel (you will sweat)
2) Bottle of water (note the comment above – you will sweat)
3) Comfortable clothing, such as a t-shirt and longer length shorts (to prevent your legs from rubbing on the seat) or capri pants/crops. While bike shorts will keep your butt from getting sore quickly, they are not necessary if you just want to try out the class.
4) Your favorite workout shoes. While it’s nice to have cycle shoes that clip onto the pedals (and make the workout more effective), most cycle classes allow you to wear your regular running or cross training shoes that you can place into the baskets connected to the pedals. It’s a great option for beginners or those on a budget.
5) An open mind, and maybe even a smile. It can be scary coming into a new class, so just be open to the experience, talk to the others around you, and ask questions!
I hope this took away some of the fear that was stopping you from trying a cycle class. I would love to see you in one of the classes I teach at Gold’s Gym in Fitchburg, Wisconsin every Wednesday morning at 8am and Saturday morning at 8:10 am. Before your first class, come a few minute early and let me know you are new – I can help you set up the bike to fit you and help you out with any questions you might have!
See you soon!