Spinning classes seem to always be among the top fitness trends at any local gym, although they’ve been around for quite some time now. But even with all their infinite amounts of popularity, one can’t help but wonder: are they any good? Can you actually lose a considerable amount of weight via stationary bike only? Let’s find out.
Indoor vs. Outdoor
Whenever discussing the weight loss potential of a certain physical activity, its calorie burning capacities are one of the most important aspects to consider. For the longest time, the medical community has supported that idea that indoor cycling isn’t nearly as effective as its outdoor counterpart. And when you take a look at the numbers on paper, this seems true.
According to trials performed at Harvard Medical School, a 155-pound participant burned off 372 calories in 30 minutes of traditional biking at average speed. When this factor was increased to 19 mph, the results were even better considering they dropped 446 calories in total. However, in the case of spinning, the same person achieved different results.
A 30-minute session at a moderate pace rid them of just 260 calories, and when the intensity was increased merely 391 calories were lost in the process. When pairing these results with the many other advantages of outdoor cycling, such as terrain variation, scenery, and health-boosting fresh air, you might think that there’s no point in spinning.
Furthermore, a 2014 study conducted at the University of Nebraska in Omaha on 12 active participants has demonstrated that riding your bike outside is a higher intensity workout than using a stationary bike. However, there’s no need to feel disheartened just yet, because huge and essential aspect was left out.
The main drawback in this particular line of research is the predetermined condition that riders need to put in the same amount of perceived effort when pedaling both inside and out. This ensues from a flawed argument, namely the assumption that the two activities are identical when it is more than clear that they are not.
In fact, the very same Omaha study proposes a simple solution to this difference: exerting higher effort levels when spinning. While this can be tricky at first, constant training makes it entirely possible in the long run. Thus, losing weight effectively is achievable with spinning as well, not just traditional pedaling in the city or great outdoors.
How to Lose Weight
If approached correctly, indoor cycling can be just as pleasant and beneficial as its outdoor counterpart.
Although it is true that you won’t be able to enjoy diverse landscapes, being in the comfort of your own home has its perks too. All you need is the right method. Thus, here are three tips to help you burn fat efficiently while spinning.
1. Use a Good Bike
If you choose to pursue this workout at home rather than by joining a class, then you will need to use a high-quality machine. While it’s true that the best spin bikes aren’t exactly cheap, the investment you make on this occasion will be one for your future. Not only are you getting something that is top of the line, but the entire experience will also be more enjoyable.
2. Train in Intervals
According to Keoni Hudoba, a renowned fitness instructor from New York City, training in intervals is the best approach to spinning if you also want to lose weight, and not only build endurance. Its effectiveness lies in the Tabata-like approach, which stimulates and regulates one’s metabolism, thus burning fat at a faster rate than regular sprinting techniques.
To do this, all you have to do is alternate the resistance and pace in one single 30-minute session. For one 20-second round of rapid pedaling, do another 40 on moderate to slow. Keep this up for at least ten minutes, then relax for a bit and repeat. You will need some time and patience to get used to this method, but the outcome will be worth it.
3. Engage Your Core
Last, but certainly not least, you need to remember that your core needs to be engaged as much as possible during any session so that visible results are achieved. Spinning will put your hamstrings to work no matter what, but the rest is up to you. The best way to go about this isn’t clenching your abdomen, but the opposite actually.
Let your tummy relax because this allows it to engage in the exercise at its own pace. And remember to always maintain proper posture to help your back muscles get the proper training they deserve as well. Try not to lean forward too much. Instead, allow your spine to align naturally with the seat.
When it comes to calorie burning, endurance building, and all the other benefits that cycling is known for, there isn’t any doubt that the traditional, outdoors version of it will always help you shed weight faster. But with the right method, spinning on a stationary bike also leads to similar results. All you need is a bit of ambition to pursue your fitness goals.