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Indoor Cycling — Spinning

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Two years ago, I decided I wanted to try indoor cycling or spinning. I had friends who did it, I had been reading about it in fitness magazines and I was bored with treadmills (aka dreadmills) and elliptical workouts. I never thought I would find something i enjoyed enough to wake at 4:45am to do!

I belonged to a gym that offered cycling classes so I asked at the front desk who would be a good instructor for a first-timer. I showed up fifteen minutes early to my first class in baggy sweatpants (I don’t recommend, the legs will tangle with the pedal) to get setup on my bike. She told me before I decided I loved or hated it, to attend three classes and keep in mind all instructors are different. After two years, countless instructors at my regular gym and a couple more smaller places she is completely right!

[Previously: Why I Like Spinning]

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Each instructor has his/her own style for teaching and own way of motivating and coaching students through a class, not to mention music. For me music is a big part of the class. I prefer the instructors that make a playlist to last the whole class and don’t fiddle with the CD or iPod to jump around to songs. I don’t like a lot of chatter, I just want to know what move is immediate not five minutes from now. I prefer a voice that is not screechy over the microphone because there’s a difference between conveying energy and uncomfortably yelling at students.

Also, I’m the student who will WOO! When the instructor asks how we doing? Although others may find my singing or wooing annoying, I do it because it is a breath check, it makes you take a deeper breath and refresh your lungs. You can roll your eyes all you want, it doesn’t stop me.

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I go to LA Fitness formerly Urban Active and the location depends on the type of bike. Most locations have the Keiser bikes as shown in the top two photos. These bikes have the flywheel in the back, the resistance is a lever, some have a monitor on the bike, which gives RPMs, watts and sync with the Polar heart rate monitor.

The other locations of LA Fitness and other cycling studios around Cincinnati have the Spinner bikes (I think that’s the name), which are pictured below. They have the flywheel on the front and the resistance knob is red or black.

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No matter which type of bike you ride, you want to make sure you adjust the bike properly in three places: handle bar height, seat height and seat placement. My numbers for each type of bike are different and because classes are usually 45 minutes or longer and you don’t want to risk injury to your knees or back just because your too timid to ask for help.

[Previously: Cycling Shoes]

I’ve been to several of LA Fitness’ locations and find the evening instructors are a little more challenging than the early morning ones, but it might be that it takes about 35 minutes for me to feel really warmed up and into the class and morning ones are only 45minutes. I aim for 100 calories exerted per 10 minutes of class.

I’ve also been to Revolution Fitness and Eastside Wellness Connections and would recommend them if you’re looking for a drop-in class option. Don’t forget to check Tapfit for studios offering cycling!

If you want a cardio challenge that doesn’t involve jumping around to choreographed moves and have enjoyed machines like a treadmill, you might like indoor cycling.

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