Always looking for new a bandwagon diet or ‘too-good-to-be-true’ weightless programme, the glossy magazine industry has recently renamed the humble static fitness cycle. Using this longstanding and familiar machine is no longer simply called ‘bike training’. Instead, since HEAT magazine column-fodder Tracey Anderson spoke about its health benefits, doing bike sessions at the gym is now known as ‘Spinning’.

Spinning has become the new big thing in gymnasia all over the country, but what’s so good about it?

Deceptive Effort
Spin classes are high-intensity interval workouts, where trainers maintain a high cadence on a high resistance for short bursts, with rests on lower cadences and resistances in between. (Cadence info can be found here.) Essentially this means that for a lot of the time you are simply peddling along at a comfortable, strolling pace, with your motor-muscles in relative oxidative bliss, while your cardio-vascular (and therefore involuntary) muscles are going overtime to pay off your oxygen debt. But because these muscles are involuntary, it really doesn’t feel like psychological ‘effort’; that is to say, you are working out harder than you feel you are.
This makes what is a high-energy workout seem much easier than it is. But there’s more. You also have to factor in the concept that throughout the whole class you’re sitting down to understand the true appeal of the spin class. You’re working out – and doing cardio at that – but you’re sitting down. Nothing strenuous happens sitting down, so spin classes have lazybones appeal.

Get involved Yourself
Maybe you’d like to get involved with the spinning craze. Most gyms will have classes, so I won’t list any information here. However, if you’d like to train alone, or have been thinking about getting a fitness bike for a while, there are a lot of good reasons to go through with it, and a lot of cycle-styles to choose from. Here’s all the info you need.

There are a few models of bike, but the best for spinning is the upright, road-cycle styled bikes. There’s a good selection at Fitness Warehouse. I’d recommend upright cycles because these suit the anatomy of the body better for the high intensity of the spinning sessions.

The interval nature of spin classes makes them much more fun than simply burning the same amount of calories at a constant, monotonous pace. Short bursts of high intensity workout break up the session so that 45 minutes can fly by. Furthermore, as is well documented in physiology, intervals keep your heart rate in a higher zone for longer, increasing your fitness faster without running yourself lame.

If you usually run on the roads or even the treadmill, switching to the bike can save you a lot of injuries and joint strain. People love to quote the factoid that when you run, three times your body weight goes through your knee-joint with each stride. Run for a couple of miles and you see how the total pressure per square inch on your cartilage soon adds up. Run a few times a week and you start browsing arthritis treatment options. Spinning is much easier on the joints due to the lack of impact with the cold hard ground.