Spinning—in the gym or fitness studio setting—refers to an indoor bicycling class that is typically led by an instructor. Spinning classes usually involve music and lights for motivation and a fun atmosphere. There are many benefits of spinning, no matter what your preferred style of training is.
#1 – Strength in Numbers
A lot of time spent in the gym is solitary. Lifting, cardio, and stretching are all things you do alone. Spinning, however, is the opposite. When you’re in a spinning class, it’s hard not to get excited, because everyone else probably is. Exercise isn’t always fun, but the enthusiasm in a spinning class tends to be contagious. As a bonus, if you have a competitive streak, you can always try to outdo your classmates. Sometimes the social aspect is one of the biggest benefits of spinning.
#2 – Burn More Calories in Less Time
Cycling is challenging to the cardiovascular system, and spinning classes take it up another notice. Spinning usually involves variations of high intensity interval training (HIIT), which comprise bursts of all-out effort followed by a back off period. For instance, a spinning instructor might tell everyone to pedal as fast as they can for twenty seconds, and then slow down for twenty, before going again.
HIIT turns spinning into a killer workout that allows you to burn more calories in less time. This leads to accelerated fat loss, and a thermic effect that will follow you through the day long after your class is over. It will make your heart pound, turn your legs to jelly, lean your entire body out, and energize you for the rest of the day.
#3 – Defining Your Legs
It is a common misconception that spinning will bulk up your legs to an undesirable degree. This is a myth. Even professional cyclists are more likely to sport crazy calf definition than massive thighs and hamstrings. The interval training discussed above lends itself to leaning and toning, not to size. If sleek, defined legs are something you’d like to have, spinning can get you there, without worrying about growing too muscular.
#4 – Variety
Sometimes you can burn out on doing the same routine all the time. The key to a lifetime of training is being able to look forward to your workouts, and it’s not always possible if you never shift gears. One of the benefits of spinning is that you’re probably not doing anything else like it. It can be a great way to shake up your schedule and do something different, even if it’s only for an hour here and there.
#5 – Spinning Is Scalable
Even though you’ll be led by an instructor, spinning can be scaled to the ability and endurance of anyone who can get on a bike. You can set your own pace. This will allow you to constantly challenge (and expand) your own limits, but you will never be expected or cajoled into doing more than you are physically capable of.
As spinning classes grow in popularity, the benefits of spinning become more popular. In a 2016 issue of People, Jessica Alba, sporting one of the fittest physiques out there, swore by spinning as her secret weapon. Whether or not spinning becomes your focus, it can always serve as a fun, challenging change of pace to jumpstart your motivation and give you a break from your routine.