There is a little more than a month before the spring season kicks off. That is about four weeks to start focusing on your body and hit up a spin class.
The growing popularity of indoor cycling has lead to an abundance of boutique gyms throughout the country offering everything from disco to race training. (Learn something new today: the terms “spin” and “spinning” are trademarked by a California company and technically can’t be used unless referring to them or clubs they have certified. Who knew?)
Even for seasoned road cyclists hitting the gym can be as intimidating as it is for a rookie. And fair enough, a class where participants are particular about where they workout, with whom they do it and can reserve spots makes walking into the room for the first time very tough.
But once you are there indoor cycling can be your – not so – secret weapon to taking this cycling season up a notch.
Most classes are open to anyone at any level. Most will vary the ride position throughout, cadence (pedal speed) and resistance. Instructors will guide you through all changes to make the ride challenging and interesting. Some gyms also incorporate upper body workouts – you either love it or hate it.
So grab a towel, your shoes and choose the class for you. In Vancouver, check out these gyms popular with road cyclists.
Cadence describes its style of training as “unique, rhythm-based indoor cycling.” It is high-intensity cardio in an inclusive atmosphere. They emphasize music to inspire performance. Located in Kitsilano, Cadence even has its own Spotify channel for you to check out their tunes.
Cyklus Vancouver offers popular classes – some swear by their Groove Ride – focusing on some niche training goals, like fondos, core strength and classes offering both cycling and TRX training. Cyclus links their bikes to a metrics system account so you can monitor your results. Located in Yaletown, this studio is popular with people commuting to the downtown core.
Method has the reputation for working you hard and working you fun. It takes well known local riders like Vicki Greenwood and Andrea McDonald off the streets and into the gym. With driving music and encouragement to smash the pedals, Method will have you coming back to its West Vancouver and Kitsilano studios.
Take the experience of Olympians Lesley Tomlinson and Gina Grain and use it to improve your cycling. With three studios Vancouver, North Vancouver and Whistler, TaG first accesses your Maximum Aerobic Power (MAP) and helps tailor each workout to how you want to progress. This style of training relies on watching numbers not just perceiving your effort – no excuses when looking at the numbers.
5 tips to get the most out of your class
Keep your hands soft – don’t waste energy white knuckling. Focus on tightening your core and take pressure off your hands and wrists.
Keep your shoulders out of your ears – this is common on the road and in the gym. Your shoulders will thank you tomorrow.
When your instructors says turn another turn of resistance – do it. You may be exhausted but they have a plan and the only one you are quitting on is yourself.
Use your full range of leg motion to push and pull. This will remove the pause at the bottom of the stroke and will give your hamstrings a better work out.
Follow the leader
You have chosen a class, if you aren’t feeling it you still need to follow along. Take advantage of the thought and planning that went into the class to make the most of the training time and don’t annoy your instructor or classmates by suddenly standing while the rest of the class is going low.
Give your body good stretch – focus on hip flexors and shoulders if you just have a bit of time. Do a longer session with your quads, hamstrings and glutes if you don’t want your body complaining tomorrow.