Don’t. Stop. Moving. (Photo: Riccardo Tinelli)
With summer and beach days mere months away, we’re all about getting our bodies into tip-top shape right now. Cycling is big business, and one of the globe’s most popular ways to get fit and stay that way. We’ve all taken a spin class somewhere at this point, but do you how to get the maximum benefits out of your time on the bike? We tapped the expert advice of some of the country’s top spin-studio pros.
Don’t stop moving.
A transition between songs seems like the right moment to take a break in the saddle, but it’s actually the time when keeping your body moving is the most important. “As you hear one song end and the next begin, resist the urge to sit down in the saddle or let your heart rate slow down,” says SoulCycle Instructor Lily Miesmer. “Transitions are a great time to keep your cardiovascular system working.”
Turn up the heat.
We’re going to sweat while we workout anyway, so why not turn the temperature up a bit and really get it going? “Riding in a heated room torches calories,” says The Sweat Shoppe co-owner Mimi Benz. “You can burn up to 1,000 calories in 55 minutes.”
Make sure you have enough resistance.
“Increase your resistance by 10 percent for all hills, jogs, and sprints: you’ll burn 10 percent more calories that way,” says chief ride officer at Cycle House, Nichelle Hines. Stephanie Horowitz of Ocean Ride Cycling Studio reminds us that, “Riding without resistance will take you nowhere.” You want to feel the burn—that’s the whole point, right?
“Test your limits—this isn’t the time to shy away from the hardest part of the workout,” says Horowitz. Miesmer agrees: “You should feel like you almost can’t do [the hard parts]—that’s how you know they’re working. So crank up that resistance and commit to the slow grueling push instead of being tempted to use less resistance and pedal faster. It will pay off in the end.”
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Remove the bounce.
“Bouncing stresses our joints and actually takes away from the calorie burn,” says Flywheel cofounder and creative director Ruth Zukerman. “When riding out of the saddle, hovering closer to the saddle relies on the use of your muscles more, resulting in more calories burned.”
Prep your body before class.
Hines loves getting your body in motion by walking or jogging to class, while Miesmer jump-starts her system with a little natural sugar courtesy of coconut water. “Dehydration will leave you feeling sluggish and burnt out and will kill your performance,” adds Benz. Also important: solid food. Riding on an empty stomach is also not the way to go. Zukerman recommends “Eating something small, like a bar or fruit, at least an hour before class. This provides you with more energy and boosts calorie burn.”
By Faith Cummings
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