Going nowhere fast is normally a bad thing, right? Not in an indoor cycling class.
Hitch a high energy ride on this latest fitness craze where you rock out to heart-pounding music as you pedal away an insane amount of calories in a grueling (but fun) 55-minute class. The low-impact, high-intensity workout lends itself to an accessible yet transformative exercise option.
Sold on the idea? Here are a few things to expect from your first indoor cycling class:
You need special footwear for this workout. Not to worry, you don’t need to splurge on a new pair. Most cycling studios provide a set for their clients. If you're a newbie, show up 15 minutes before class to get your pair of cycle shoes which allows you to clip onto the pedals of a stationary bike. “It’s actually easier this way,” says Coach Aya Gonzalez, an instructor of CycleHouse MNL. “If you wear a regular pair of rubber shoes, the tendency is, if you don’t wear the right ones, it will hurt. Or you can fall off, especially if the pedal straps are not tight enough.” When clipped in properly with the cycling shoes, your foot almost becomes part of the bike. Being tethered to the machine also allows you to more mobility than simply bearing down on the pedal. “It also helps you increase your load, therefore improving your overall workout,” says Coach Aya.
Your bike setup is essential to a great ride. Before mounting and clipping yourself to the bike (you’ll also get a walkthrough on this), your cycle coach will run down a basic how-to on adjusting its tension. Not having the bike fit specifically to you will cheat you out of a good workout and can even lead to injury. "Your saddle height should be in line with your hip so you can get proper knee extension. You don't want to be so high that you have to actually reach down to the pedals when your hips are moving in the saddle,” Coach Aya relates. For handlebars, the optimal distance from your saddle is the length of your forearm. “The handlebar should be at a comfortable height,” instructs Coach Aya. “Having them too high or too low can cause shoulder and back strain.”
The resistance knob is your best friend (or worst enemy, depending on your outlook). Once you’ve got your bike set up, you won’t touch anything for the rest of the class, except the resistance knob. Throughout the workout, the coach will ask you to rotate this knob to the left or right, adding or decreasing your pedaling resistance. “It’s basically a calorie burner,” laughs Coach Aya. “The more you turn to the right, the more you burn. The more difficult your resistance is, the better your workout becomes.” Since the entire class is choreographed to preset music, resistance is critical, essentially dictating the riding style of each song. You'll have fast songs where you have to furiously pedal in time to the beat and slower songs to pace the uphill climbs.
You need to learn your positions. Since indoor cycling entails a whole range of movements, your coach will brief you on the two types: Seat and handle bar positions. For seat positions, you are either sitting down or out-of-saddle, standing upright while attached to the pedal. Alternatively, for handlebar positions, you are either seated up right, while holding the nearer bar or leaning over, for the bar that is farther from the seat. Used extensively throughout the class, the movements sound complicated but are actually easy to do. It helps that you have auditory and visual aids. “I’m usually at the front of the class giving out instructions and doing the movements myself,” reassures Coach Aya.
[related: Hot Stuff: New Workout Places You Should Totally Visit]
Expect a really, really intense sweat sesh. While every coach brings something different to each of their classes, you're guaranteed to get a hardcore workout no matter what. Contrary to misconceptions that it only works out your legs, indoor cycling is a whole body workout. “Usually the class is comprised of runs, upper body movements, isolation of obliques, shoulders, and quads,” says Coach Aya. The pace of each session moves really fast. You'll swivel side to side, bounce up and down off the seat, perform swift push-ups to the beat of the music, and pump dumbbells with your arms extended for minutes at a time, all to the backdrop of rapid-fire music in a darkly lit room. “We work on your endurance and strength,” says Coach Aya. “The goal is to maximize your heart rate for the optimal calorie burn. But, how much can one burn in a single session? “Depends on how much effort you put in, the minimum is about 600 calories,” answers Coach Aya, “It can go up to 1,000 calories, depending on how hard you push.”
[related: Fitspiration: These 'It' Girls Prove That Working Out Can Be One Big Party]
Set your own pace. For all its bells and whistles, spinning is less intimidating than you may think. If you feel that you are not ready, you don’t have to crank up your speed or resistance simply because the coach gives those instructions. Take a water break when you need it and scale down the intensity by sitting down or going slower. "Always listen to your body, especially if you're just getting started. The coach is there to push you, but you know your own body better. You should be aware of your personal limitations,” says Coach Aya.
Riding with a pack is awesome. Apart from an amazing workout, many people simply go for the good vibes of an indoor cycling class. There's nothing like the sense of camaraderie between riders who finish a grueling session exhausted and accomplished. This fun community spirit fuels your motivation to push yourself harder and farther. Coach Aya says that riding together also gives you the opportunity to encourage others. “You can inspire those who have not yet reached your level of fitness,” reveals Coach Aya. “On the other hand, those who are stronger will you inspire you. Working together, everyone who rides can reach their goals.”
CycleHouse MNL is located at 8th Floor Padilla Building F. Ortigas Jr Rd (formerly Emerald), Pasig City. Contact +63916-6143888 for inquiries.
ALSO READ: Hot Stuff: A Throwback Photo Of Kathryn Uncannily Reminds Us Of Emma Stone's Oscars 2017 Look
Photographs from Cyclehouse