Oct 28 2016

Indoor Cycling Sucks

Studio cycling (SC), or Spinning is all the rage in The City.  It’s a workout where you can sweat, listen to music whilst someone else plans your journey.  Indeed years ago when I trained for my maroon beret, I would religiously attend my local Fitness First’s Friday lunchtime spin classes,…

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Studio cycling (SC), or Spinning is all the rage in The City.  It’s a workout where you can sweat, listen to music whilst someone else plans your journey.  Indeed years ago when I trained for my maroon beret, I would religiously attend my local Fitness First’s Friday lunchtime spin classes, (and it didn’t hurt that my instructor was easy on the eye!)  So I’m not immune to the joys of thrashing yourself in the dark, surrounded by sweaty strangers.  But as many of my decisions in my 20’s it wasn’t the best thought out.  If you’re goal is simple  – calorie burn – then spin is a useful tool. For anything else,  it’s a waste of time.

frustrated

My first gripe is, it stops you from lifting and putting on valuable muscle.  As I wrote last week, everything in your life will be improved by lifting weights! [Why You Should Be Weight Training]  This is especially the case when it comes to squatting; and spin saps your recovery so you don’t have enough energy to put into anything else.

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If you have enough energy to be attending studio cycling numerous times per week, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough in the gym.   The studies prove the best gains you’ll get in the gym are from squatting at least twice per week, and I bet you’re not doing that.  The science proves that those who squat (properly) have a stronger core, legs, hips, better balance & flexibility, healthier bones, excel in their sport, are leaner, have more muscle and are all round better people!

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I hear you shout, “it makes me fit, and I’ve lost loads of fat!”.  But did it?  Look left and right in your next class, are you surrounded by Adonis’?  There may be a few, but is spin the only thing they do?  I’ll give you that spin produces a high calorie burn and you’re definitely fitter than the guy that does nothing, but it does so in an inefficient way.

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Now this is basic physiology 1-0-1, but when attending a class your instructor will forget this.  They’ll never train you in each energy system accurately for the best results, they’ll simply beast you – it’s far more fun.  For example, sprint for the next 30 seconds, the songs chorus, or simply when the instructor thinks you’ve suffered enough.  This feels hard but in reality you can only truly sprint for less than 10 second (ATP-CP).  The majority of you’re work is done in the glycolytic zone.

If you’re goal is to get faster you want to spend time in zones 1,2.  Or for endurance (which I could argue is the most important when it comes to general health), you want 4.  If your goal is to burn fat, then you want to spend more of you’re time in zone 4.

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Now for some of you reading this article you’re thinking “screw you Sal, I love spin!”  Well all power to you, any exercise that you enjoy and keeps you active gets a thumbs up… I’m all about efficiency & longevity.  I presume most people go to spin as it’s a ‘quick’ high intensity workout.  Well it gets you to sweat quick, but results… they’re going to take a lot longer to come around.

Sal

Follow me @silverbackSal

Author

Salman