As I mentioned in my post yesterday, this week I have spent a lot of time catching up at Flywheel Charlotte. Since I was out of town for so long, I had to find subs for my regular class times. Thankfully, I work with a great group of instructors that are happy to cover when they are available. With that said, I am returning the favor this week. I had the chance to teach several evening classes. The after work crowd is great. Through teaching at various times that I am not as accustomed to, I have been exposed to several different types of riders. I figured this would be as good a time as any to hit on the benefits of indoor cycling.
Let me give you a brief introduction to how I started including indoor cycling into my regular exercise routine. If you have read the “about” section of my blog, you probably already know that I was a runner (really more of a sprinter) in college. After competing at the Division I level in the pole vault for five years, I transitioned into longer cardio sessions when I got into the work force (I was tired of all of the power lifting and sprinting). I trained and completed my first marathon. It was during this time that I started to develop several different leg and foot injuries (Plantar Fasciistis, Runner’s Knee, Shin Splints, you name it). The one consistent fall back cardio exercise for me during these aggravating times was indoor cycling. In fact, it is the reason that I started riding at Flywheel.
One of the biggest benefits of starting indoor cycling is that it is the least discriminatory class that you will find at a gym. Since riding the bike is a non-impact, it can be utilized as an effective training method for all different age ranges and abilities. Unlike running, cycling requires much less impact on your knees (which is a big problem area for many people). Picture this. At Flywheel, I have seen teenagers, senior citizens, and individuals coming off injuries. I myself also rode the bike until I was 38 weeks pregnant (I stopped running around six months).
Although there is an instructor in these classes, you can really go at the pace that your body feels it can handle on a given day (without worrying about getting stuck out on the road somewhere). I like to tell my riders that at Flywheel we never “drop” anybody. Even though some individuals will have higher power numbers than others, we are all doing the same thing simultaneously. This gives us the feeling that we are part of a group.
One of the reasons that I did use indoor cycling as a cross training mechanism for running is because of the cardio benefit from it. After several months of not running due to injury, I was able to transition back to the road in great cardio shape through taking classes at Flywheel. For someone that doesn’t have a lot of time, these 45 minute cardio bursts are just what I need. That’s probably why I see so many “Type A” people in the studio. Time is everything in our society, so if you can give me a workout that is effective and quick, I am open to trying it.
As an instructor, it is amazing to see the physical and/or mental transformation that riders can obtain through shutting everything down and getting a good cardio session in. It is worth checking out a cycle class or two. Especially if you continue to struggle to find an effective way to fit cardio in. This morning’s ride was special for me. My good friend Ali, who relocated to Richmond, VA for work, was in town and rode. I truly appreciate her support. She was one of only a few people who rode in my late night preview ride as I was just getting started at Flywheel.