Spinning classes are music-driven, instructor-led workouts designed to simulate outdoor cycling. Sometimes meditative but typically hard-charged, you can log between 22 and 30 miles and burn approximately 500 to 700 calories in a 60-minute Spinning class. The exact number of miles you travel depends on how quickly you turn your pedals. Known as "revolutions per minute" or "rpm," the more revolutions your pedals make, the more miles you will ride. Racking up the revolutions is easier or harder depending on your instructor's cues and class format. Some movements allow you to get more revolutions per minute, leading to more total miles at the end of 60 minutes. Other movements require you to move more slowly.
In a Spinning class, a flat is a move that allows you to ride your bike as though you were riding on a flat road outdoors. Add light to moderate resistance and maintain a steady pace to execute this move. You can perform flats by remaining in a seated position or by standing up so that your body is centered over the pedals with your hips positioned behind your shoulders. On average, a class that consists primarily of flats results in a higher number of traveled miles.
During a climb, add resistance to your bike by turning a knob called the tension wheel or resistance knob. Add more resistance by turning the knob to the right and decrease the resistance by turning the knob to the left. The more resistance you add, the more challenging it will be to push your pedals. This means that you will total less revolutions per minute and travel less miles by the end of the class. Like flats, you can climb in a standing or seated position. When performing a standing climb, keep your head up and move your hands to the front of the handlebars to assume a proper position.
At some point during your indoor cycling class, your instructor might ask you and your classmates to add some resistance and turn your pedals quickly until he cues you to slow down. This move is called a sprint. You perform sprints at a clip of 80 to 110 rpms, which means you'll travel more miles faster. While seated sprints are challenging, sprints on a hill are even more demanding as they are performed in the same position as a standing climb. Although it might be tempting to sprint with little or no resistance and log even more miles, riding at a high rpm without resistance increases your risk of injury.
When you're prepared for a Spinning class, you'll ride each mile safely and comfortably. Bring a towel and water bottle to every class. Arrive early so your instructor has time to make sure your bike is properly adjusted for your body. Wear a fitted moisture-wicking shirt and cycling shorts that have a pad for comfort. Consider investing in a pair of cycling shoes that easily clip into your bike's pedals and allow you to move the pedals with more force and efficiency. A heart rate monitor and a gel seat pad might also make your mile-logging rides more effective and comfortable.
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