Spinning: Cycling Rain or Shine

I took my first “spin” (or cycling) class a few years ago, and I loved it. I quickly learned that the teacher and the music can make or break the class, but you can do it at your own level so it’s a great exercise for anyone. It’s also a great cross-training exercise as well. I am so excited to share this interview on spinning-how to’s with one of my favorite instructors, Josh Beck. Josh is the true definition of athlete inspiration. Since getting involved in endurance sports in 1999, he has completed 8 ironmans, 22 marathons and currently holds the East-West state record for cycling across Alabama. When it comes to cycling, he knows the drill. Check out our interview below:

1. Why did you start teaching spin classes?  I had always utilized spin classes to stay in cycling shape throughout the winter.  So, I figured if I taught the class, I could share a couple of interval, high intensity workouts with others.

2. Why do you recommend trying a spin class? What are the benefits?  Cycling in general is just great cardiovascular work without too much wear and tear on your joints. Other than swimming, it’s hard to find a better low-impact cardio workout.

3. Why do you think indoor cycling has become so popular?  People come for so many different reasons.  The main factor is:  it’s more fun to exercise with a group (camaraderie factor).

4. Why should people incorporate spinning in their cross-training?  The main reason is injury prevention.  Running, in particular, 4 to 6 days per week can really take a toll on your joints and ligaments. No matter what your main sport, cycling is a good way to mix it up from a physiological and mental standpoint.  If you put forth 100% effort on the intervals during a spinning class, you can’t help but gain some cardio fitness (increased ability to process oxygen).  This will transfer over to your other sports.

5. How many calories can you burn in an hour spin class?  It really depends on the instructor.  My classes have high intensity intervals sprinkled throughout the hour.  If a rider does the workout like I have it laid out, a male will burn around 1,000 and female around 800 calories.

6. How important is the music to the class?  Very important.  Climbing songs need a steady, consistent beat.  Fast, interval songs need a fast beat and to be high energy.  The music needs to match the segment of the workout you are doing.  If the music is bad, well, so is the class.

7. Do you have any tips for beginners?  Your first move should be to have the instructor help you set up the bike so that it fits properly.  It is like any other type of exercise; it takes a few times to build up your conditioning to where you can really push yourself for the entire hour.  Just do the best you can during the first several classes.  Another factor is saddle comfort.  If you are going to spend time on a bike seat, you need to get some cycling shorts that have a chamois built in.  Lastly, you should try each of the instructors’ classes at least once to find the class that fits you the best.