The Ride to Fitness

From coast to coast, folks are cycling indoors in group classes — and loving it!

By FamilyTime


Who would willingly sit on a stationary bike for nearly an hour listening to decibel crashing music while being admonished to “pedal, pedal, pedal, people!"?

You. That’s who.

Spinning is the new Zumba (well…almost!), with both men and women claiming a bike two, three, or four times a week to partake in the wildly popular exercise craze.

The question is: Is this for you?


When you spin, you get a good workout. Most classes last for 45 to 50 minutes and during that time, depending on how hard you push yourself, you will strengthen muscles, elevate your heart rate, and burn between 400 and 600 calories.

Indoor cycling classes are ideal for people with varying levels of fitness because you monitor yourself. If you are a beginner and find you have to slow down now and then, you won’t hold your neighbor back. How hard you work is completely up to you.


If you like a good workout and don’t have an overpowering aversion to stationary bikes, there aren’t too many negatives to indoor cycling.

Some folks don’t like the fact that they are not on a real bike. If they cycle, they reason, they’d rather do so outdoors with the sun shining and the terrain undulating.

Others find the classes monotonous after a few rides and don’t like the idea that you have to motivate yourself to work hard. The loud, pulsating music is tough for some people — and if the studio doesn’t play familiar tunes, it’s even worse!

The Cycling Mystic

If you decide to try cycling, whether at a certified spinning studio or someplace else (spinning is an official style of indoor cycling; other studios have sprung up across the nation that emulate it), there are a few things you should know.

  • If the cycling studio or gym you select cannot verify that the instructors are properly trained and even certified, skip the class and find another studio.
  • Most indoor cycling classes include interval training. This means part of the class is dedicated to upper body strengthening. You don’t dismount, but will stop pedaling and instead lift small weights. If this doesn’t appeal to you, see if the studio offers classes without weights.
  • Make sure your cycle is adjusted to your body. Ask an instructor to help you raise or lower the seat, adjust the distance between the seat and the handlebars, and position the handlebars at the best angle for you. This is important for your comfort and also to prevent injuries.
  • Wear comfortable workout clothes, preferably those that wick moisture from your skin. They should not be baggy and don’t need to be fancy. You might want to invest in bike shorts with a padded seat.
  • For most cycling studios, sturdy athletic shoes are all you need; some places insist on bike shoes that attach to the pedals to facilitate more efficient cycling.
  • Bring at least one water bottle with you to the class. You might need two! Hydrate before you get on the bike.
  • Not all studios supply towels. You will sweat a lot as the class progresses and so if necessary, bring a small one with you.
  • Many studios have online sign-up so that you can see how many cycles are available for a particular class — and then you can reserve one. Many beginners like to sit in the second or third row (often the back row). Most seasoned riders claim the front row, but don’t let that keep you from grabbing a front-row seat.
  • Some studios offer a mystical component to the ride, seeing the experience as a way to reach a psychic plane not always achievable.

Try it! You might find climbing on a stationary cycle is just what you need!