Basically, since the first snow hit in the winter, I have been on a hiatus from biking of any sort. Actually, I pedaled for a bit on one of the stationary bikes in the upper gym at Hart House once or twice… Honestly I found it pretty boring, so I’ve been keeping myself busy with the drop-in classes and circuit training instead.
However, over the months I have heard a lot of talk about spin-classes, sometimes also referred to as cycle fit. I had never tried one of these classes before, mostly because I was already biking outside a lot while the roads were clear. Well, and also because of my bias against stationary bikes that I mentioned above. But one of the student life dons at my college is a cycle fit instructor, so I decided to hit up one of her classes in the Cycle Fit Room at Hart House a few weeks ago to see what it’s all about.
So there I was starting the class thinking it would be a breeze cuz I’ve been going to the gym all winter. Well, I can assure you that the class wasn’t easy, but it was well worth it. How it sort of works is that the instructor describes a kind of imaginary “route” that you will be biking for the session. In our case, we did some sprint intervals on “flat land” and in between those sets we climbed some “hills.” Basically, you adjust the resistance to create different conditions – so on a “hill” we’d crank up the resistance until our revolutions per minute (RPM) slowed as if we were actually going up a hill.
So with music blasting in the background, the instructor guided us on our “journey” and told us when to sprint, pedal out of the saddle, and crank up that resistance. She also motivated us the whole way through, encouraging us to push through the burn and give it our all. Motivation is such a huge factor for me – when someone’s there telling me that I’m strong, that I can push it through to the finish, I’m much more likely to keep going than not. That, as well as the variability in the routine, is what I found makes cycle fit different from just using a stationary bike on your own. It’s much more engaging than just sitting there and pedaling at the same speed and resistance for half an hour.
Although I left the class with my quads on fire, I’m glad I finally tried it out. I’m thinking that I’ll keep cycle fit in mind for next winter to help keep my legs in tip-top cycling shape. Both Hart House and the Athletic Centre offer registered classes throughout the year, so you can even pick whichever place works best for ya!