Four Reasons to Do Indoor Cycle Classes for Your Workouts
- Community. It’s easier to suffer in a group.
- Interval work. Typically instructors build in some kind of HIIT work.
- Convenience. You don’t have to pump up tires, get dressed up with a helmet. You just show up.
- Safety. You can avoid stupid drivers in the unecessarily big vehicles as well as avoid crashes.
Indoor cycle classes at your local gym can be a viable alternative to workouts at home.
With the growth of platforms like Peloton and Soul Cycle, indoor cycle classes have taken on a new relevance.
And with a good instructor who has a specific purpose for a class, you can get in a solid, no-impact workout in a short period.
Online cycling classes are often done in solitude at home
Many of the new online cycle class options leave you working out at home.
I am often riding on Zwift, for example, which has become a great alternative to fighting winter weather.
But indoor cycle classes at a gym or studio can be a good alternative because of the community, loud thumping music, and the convenience of just showing up and not preparing a bike.
Community is a great reason for indoor cycle classes
Once you start joining an established indoor cycle class, you’ll start to meet some of the regulars.
And you might find an instructor who does the kind of workouts that you need.
For example, prior to COVID, I was teaching two classes a week that were entirely HIIT (high-intensity interval training).
We did 40-20s, 30/15s, etc., and I had a small following of people who wanted that kind of simple, yet highly effective workout.
We could joke with each other, support each other during the workout, and chat after.
The community of fellow sufferers was a great motivator.
Plus we can sing along to Prince and Bon Jovi and other popular songs.
And when you were done, you could head out to the gym floor to do some strength work.
You won’t be able to lift as much, but you’ll be warmed up and ready to go.
Interval work can be an effective tool to build fitness
Any workout session where you are building up a lot of cardiovascular fitness is great for your overall cycling fitness.
You are essentially working to build your VO2max, which will help you build a higher speed at a lower heart rate.
Be careful, though, of instructors who do too much with their classes.
(I once tried to teach a cyclocross-based class where we jumped off the bike and did some high stepping. It was a good idea but really not practical!)
If you get an instructor who focuses on HIIT, some climbing work, and mixes up efforts that kick up your heart rate, you’re on the right track.
Indoor cycle classes keep you off the road and warm
More people do indoor cycle classes in the winter to supplement their winter training.
It’s more of a challenge as I get colder to dress up for the cold in a way where I won’t overheat and will still prevent frostbite.
About 20 to 25 degrees is pretty much my limit for training rides outside.
But indoors I don’t have to deal with the weather.
Nor do I have to pump up tires, make sure I’m wearing the right clothing, grab a helmet, etc.
I just show up in shorts and a t-shirt along with my cycling shoes, a towel and water, and I’m good to go.
It’s not so safe on the roads for cyclists
At an indoor class, I don’t have to deal with bad drivers in unnecessarily large vehicles clogging up the roads.
True, I may have driven to the gym, but we can still be kind to cyclists on the road.
I’m more and more dismayed at how many drivers don’t think we can all share the roads.
And having been hit by vehicles several times, once that almost killed me, I’m less excited about riding on city street.
An indoor cycle class may not let me smell the roses and fresh air, but I know I’m going to be safe.
Indoor cycle classes are not the final answer
I could never do a six-hour ride on an indoor cycle.
Nor could I do an indoor cycle class multiple times a week.
But if my goal is improve my VO2max and build fitness, the indoor class led by a good instructor is a great way to get faster while rocking out to thumping beats.
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