If you’re a serious cyclist, nothing comes close to the thrill of a ride outside for a tough challenge and incredible scenery. But if the only view you care about improving is the one you get when you look at your waistline, you should start to cycle more indoors because joining a spinning class could be a shortcut to fat loss and better heart health.
A study from the University of Wisconsin found that during a spin class participants regularly exceeded their maximum aerobic capacity for short periods, indicating they were pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone, making spinning one of the best forms of high-intensity interval session for burning body fat and improving cardiovascular fitness. Men who cycle intensively live 5.3 years longer than those who cycle at a low intensity, according to the European Society of Cardiology.
RECOMMENDED: Chris Hoy’s Reasons to Try Spinning
Read these tips on how you can spin smarter from the experts at our sister brand Men's Fitness.
Four Tips For A Fat-Torching Spinning Class
Make Sure You Prepare
Spin classes aren’t easy, which is why you need to make sure you are fully set before saddling up. “Ensure you have eaten enough so you don’t run out of energy during the class but give yourself enough time to digest it so that you don’t feel sick,” says cycling coach Paul Butler (pbcyclecoaching.co.uk (opens in new tab)). “I suggest you eat a meal three hours before and a piece of fruit an hour before, then sip water throughout the class.”
Warm Up Effectively
Most spin classes will include a warm-up at the start of the session, but some extra pre-class warm-up drills can help you get off to a flying start. “It’s important that you do some dynamic stretching, which is when you move your muscles quickly through a full range of motion, and not static holding, which is where you stretch a muscle and hold it,” says Butler. “This reduces maximum power output so your performance will suffer.”
Once the class is in full flight you need to keep well hydrated and ensure that you are pushing yourself to the absolute limit when asked to so you get the full performance and physique benefits spinning can provide. “Keep your cadence high, even during the light-resistance rounds, to keep your muscles working and keep blood pumping to them,” says Butler. “The ideal range is between 90 and 100rpm.”
Aid Your Recovery
As with any session that pushes your heart rate sky-high and makes your muscles work overtime, it’s essential you spend enough time warming down to allow your body to transition back to a resting state from an active one. “Always complete the class warm-down – you need to flush the build-up of waste products from your muscles to speed up recovery,” says Butler. “Then do static stretching to improve flexibility.”
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