Let’s talk the science of spinning, or for you newbies, indoor cycling on a stationary bike. The bike is taller, more upright version of the stationary bike of the past. Studios blast music, and good ones get you pumped! Not to mention, this workout with literally kick your ass. That’s why I do it. It’s like a Brazilian butt lift from a bike!
But doesn’t cycling bulk up your legs? Yes it can, but it won’t if you do it right. There are two keys. The first is to add cycling into your workout rotation once, maybe twice a week, not every day. And two, the setting on your bike is important. Not only for your personal comfort, but also so that you elongate the leg rather than contract it. The seat adjusts, so you want it to be about as high as possible so you are ever so slightly reaching and stretching as you pump the pedals. All spin classes are not created equal. So when you are looking for a great spin class, experiment with instructors and locations until you find a class that will motivate you to the max.
As I write about in my book, The Everyday Supermodel I talk about my complete OB-SESSION with SoulCycle. I leave feeling alive, awake, passionate, capable, flush faced, and absolutely drenched in a sweat tsunami. I feel like I lose two pounds of fat and ten pounds of anxiety in every class. Even if you aren’t in a city that has a SoulCycle location, most gyms have a cycling class or a stationary bike to work with!
Here are some of the top basics and benefits of one of my favorite ways to burn calories:
- A spin bike has fancy features and no brakes (you don’t need them, it’s not actually going anywhere!) From a knob on the bike, you can control the spin resistance: you can increase resistance to mimic hill climbs, or lower it to simulate the flats.
- Some bikes have light weights attached for added arm exercises.
- You are the only focus. And I promise, you will not think for a second about your to-do list, work e-mails, or changing the cat litter.
- Special note: You do need specific spin shoes. Some studios include them in the class, and at others you have to rent them. If you fall in spin-love, invest in your own pair.
- According to the SoulCycle founders, you burn between 500 and 700 calories in 45 minutes of indoor cycling.
- Spin is a full-body workout so you can expect to see tighter abs, leaner arms, and legs, and overall toning, as well as increased cardiovascular health.
- Your biggest muscles (i.e the quads and glutes) are definitely activated in spin. When you work bigger muscles and more muscle groups, you burn more calories. And not just during the work out, but for days afterward.
- Spin works both in fast and slow twitch muscle fibers (as does cross-training or combined cardio/resistance training). Fast twitch are the muscles we use for explosive movements, like sprinting. Slow twitch are our endurance muscles, recruited in long distance running. In spin, you alternate quick sprints (cardio work), with slow, steep climbs (resistance).
Put on some tunes that get you juiced and get on that bike and ride. Alternate resistance; do climbs and fast straightaways. Let’s do this people!
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.