Indoor Cycling 2.0 - How To Get The Most Out Of It

January 15, 2021

Indoor Cycling 2.0 - How To Get The Most Out Of It

In this article:

  • Indoor cycling as one of the best workout-from-home options
  • How to make the most out of your spinning class at home
  • Best cycling apps for your lifestyle & personality

How Indoor Cycling Dominated my WFH (Workout From Home) Routine

Remember the Peloton Christmas commercial that went viral a few years ago? I laughed in concert with the rest of the world at the ridiculous notion of an at-home spin bike as a gift. Then, as restlessness set in at the beginning of the pandemic, that funny little spin bike was being scheduled for delivery to my home. I bought it in secret without telling any of my teammates because I didn’t want to admit that I’d succumbed to the weightlifting cardinal sin. I just wanted to sweat, and move, and remember what it was like to be physically exhausted after a full body workout! There was only so much bodyweight exercising I could do - so I caved to the Peloton bike I was just laughing at a few weeks ago. Here’s why I chose to pick up cycling even though it departs from my primary sport.

For starters, I wanted to move in a way that didn’t require too much thought or technique work. Weight training whether for bulking, conditioning, or toning, takes a bit of planning and thought around each movement. Spinning on the other hand, is good for all levels, and most goals, so the barrier to entry is much lower; get on, pedal, get off. Then, if I’m going to participate in cardiovascular activities, it’d better be fun! I bore easily of rigid home workouts but the Peloton, which offers a lot of variety and forms of interest with its live classes and challenges, has yet to lose my attention. The variety of spin classes and the diversity of instructors blew me away immediately.

We all know that the music an instructor uses during any exercise class will either make or break the experience. Being able to control that specific element by picking classes by music genre, length of time, and the instructor really went a long way in impressing me and making me feel more like I was at the studio. Sure, there are standard benefits of spinning, like promoting weight loss, lowering high blood pressure, getting your heart rate up, your endorphins pumping, and offering high-intensity interval training (HIIT) while being low impact on the joints. But beyond the health benefits for me and my wallet, I want to enjoy what I’m doing and have the healthy aspects serve as an added bonus.

Speaking of bonuses, if spinning isn’t your thing, the Peloton app and others like it have a bunch of other classes that might be. Yoga, strength training, dance classes, indoor and outdoor running classes, bootcamp, barre, and more are all available to you with the Peloton app. Personally, I think this helps to keep me on my toes and motivated to stick to my fitness goals, both on and off the bike. So when people mention the price tag of the exercise bike or the monthly membership fee, I tell them they’re right, the price is considerable. But find me an affordable gym membership that offers a variety of classes with engaging cycling instructors who play the kinds of music I like and can accommodate my schedule, and then we’ll talk. Having all of that in my own home and timing the classes to my own schedule continues to pay dividends to my fitness goals. I’m so much more entertained than I ever was at a global gym and I’m way more likely to be consistent with things I enjoy doing so I can save discipline for the things that require it. The mental, emotional, and physical benefits of spinning and exercising at home far outweighs the financial cost to me.

How to make the most of your spinning class at home

Choosing the right indoor cycling bike was not a purchase I took lightly! There are so many different features in each bike and it can be hard to pick the right one. As you start out on your hunt for the perfect bike, there are a couple things you'll want to ask yourself:

  1. What prevents me from sticking to my fitness goals?/Do I need variety?
  2. What are my pains (physically and mentally) when it comes to exercise?
  3. What can I afford to spend on a bike and on cycling instructions?

For instance, if you know that you typically stick to your exercise routines when you have a partner, shop for a bike that can sync to live classes. If you tend to get sudden bursts of energy and have trouble sticking to a routine, look for on-demand class subscriptions. If your lower back restricts your mobility, you can opt for a recumbent bike with a backrest for a more ergonomic ride. Collagen supplements can also help to manage joint pain, build lean muscle mass, and help you to power through cardio workouts so you feel better while on and off the bike.

When shopping for a stationary bike, keep an eye out for any that require you to join their virtual instruction subscriptions to follow along (like my Peloton for instance). No matter which one you choose, in terms of basic functionality it should have adjustable handlebars, an adjustable seat, a heart rate monitor, and a way to increase and decrease the resistance. The water bottle holder, iPad dock, and fancy magnetic resistance buttons are just the frosting on top.

For those of you who are used to hitting the cycling studio, doing a cycling class from home can feel a little off. You can help to set the scene for your home workout by choosing a secluded room, playing with the lighting (hello blacklight SoulCycle fanatics), grabbing a pair of noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones, and even getting your fellow studio cyclists to join you for a live ride! I've found that I need a bit of a home "transformation" to signal to my brain that my living room is used for working out too, not just watching movies. Remember that it might take a few weeks to really feel in the groove again, and that's okay! Just start pedaling!

Best cycling apps for home spinning sessions

There are so many different cycling apps out there! Just like choosing the right spinning bike, finding a virtual indoor cycling class can be tricky. Here are a few worth checking out:

  1. Peloton: You know this one is at the top of my list! Peloton is one of the best live cycling programs out there. Their app is more than just a virtual spin class, it's a complete home gym!
  2. Variis: This one is for the SoulCyclers that need to get their fix! Variis, like Peloton, is a specific bike that is paired with access to exclusive SoulCycle classes. It delivers the same SoulCycle community right to your living room.
  3. CycleCast: With CycleCast, all you need is an exercise bike, a phone, and a pair of headphones. Instructions for a variety of exercise programs, from cycling to yoga, are delivered strictly with audio to help you tune in and focus on your body and leave everything else behind. If you're a stickler for your workout playlist like I am, CycleCast lets you choose the instructor and the music genre that works for you.
  4. Zwift: If the at-home cycling studio isn't working for you, Zwift just might. Zwift is a fully immersive biking experience that takes you through virtual rides through New York City, London, and mountain ranges by pairing your bike to a smartphone or TV. It's like you're an avatar in a video game!
  5. CycleBar Go: CycleBar Go is there when you need it. It offers a variety of strength, endurance, challenges, hills, and drills all on-demand so they're ready when you are. If you really want to dig deeper into cycling, they can take you there!

The truth is, there’s no such thing as a one size fits all approach to wellness or fitness. I would’ve never believed that me, a weightlifter, would be setting up a cycling studio in my living room and enjoying it. The fact that cycling is an activity that accommodates all experience levels made it appealing to me because I wouldn’t have to learn a new technique, I could just clip in and take off for a ride. I think we all needed new ways of finding fun in a pandemic, and challenging myself with a spin workout has been one of those outlets for me.

If you want to elevate your ride, feel free to reach out to the team at Amandean to learn how collagen supplementation can make your rides smoother by helping to manage joint pain, recover from injuries, and help you to overcome some of the biggest barriers to your fitness goals.

Summary Points

  • Peloton offers a lot of variety with its live classes and challenges, and has been successful for inviting a sense of community as well.
  • There are standard benefits of spinning, like promoting weight loss, lowering high blood pressure, getting your heart rate up, your endorphins pumping, and offering high-intensity interval training (HIIT) while being low impact on the joints
  • Online spin classes have a lot of appeal as it is difficult to find a gym membership that offers a variety of classes with engaging cycling instructors
  • If you tend to get sudden bursts of energy and have trouble sticking to a routine, look for on-demand class subscriptions
  • You can help to set the scene for your home workout by choosing a secluded room, playing with the lighting, grabbing a pair of noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones, and even getting your fellow studio cyclists to join you for a live ride




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