Spinning Classes: Are they right for you?

So you’ve heard about spinning classes and why they’re such a good workout. But if you think it’s a surefire way to lose weight, think again. Just like running and cycling, it has its own pros and cons. Here are some things to consider before joining a spinning class.

Spinning classes are a popular alternative to cycling and running. The advantages are obvious—you can do it anytime, no need to wait for fair weather, and you’re usually working with professional trainers. But like any other exercise, they’re not made for everyone. In fact, spinning can be far from ideal for some people.

So how do you know if spinning classes are your thing? It mostly depends on your needs and preferences. Here are some key reasons why spinning may work for you, and why they may not.

Pros

You don’t need roads. If you live in an urban area, you’ll have trouble finding a good cycling trail amidst the busy highways. Spinning eliminates the need for smooth, safe roads and clean air, so there’s no need to wait for the skies to clear. You can also cycle as long as you want without worrying about going off track.

You set the intensity. There’s a limit to how hard you can cycle on the road. Go too fast and you’ll risk running into something, pedal too hard and you’ll risk tipping over. With a spinning class, all you have to do is adjust the tension and you’ve got a more intense workout.

You can work on specific areas. Spinning allows you to work just one leg at a time, perfect for those who have specific problem areas or are recovering from injuries. Since the base is fixed, you can rest your weight anywhere on the bike and move on only one side.

You can cycle anytime. If you have a strict workout plan, the last thing you need is to cancel your session because of bad weather. There’s none of that risk with spinning classes, since they’re located indoors and all you have to worry about is driving to the gym.

You’re working with professionals. Spinning classes are given by professional trainers, so you know you’re getting a serious workout. While you can get fit on a self-designed program, working with a trainer ensures that you’re always on track.

Cons

It’s expensive. Spinning bikes cost a lot more than ordinary bikes. And even if you could afford one, you certainly can’t lug it over to the gym every class. Gyms take advantage of this fact by overpricing on classes, or pulling up the fees for using their bikes. The equipment may be more advanced, but they’re seldom worth the extra fees.

It takes some getting used to. First-time spinners often complain of chafing and hip discomfort after their first few sessions. This is because they’re not used to the friction and prolonged exertion on their upper legs. This may be alleviated a bit with gel padded seats, but it generally takes a while to adapt to the routine.

It only works your lower body. Spinning is a great form of cardio, but it does very little work on your upper body. If you’re looking to tone your shoulders or slim down your arms, you might want to consider weight training instead.

It can get boring. Spinning classes often have you doing the same routine for several sessions before moving on to more intense work. If you’re the type to get bored easily, the monotony can be hard to put up with. They may play some music to keep up the beat, but it won’t appeal to everyone in the class.

The bikes may not be comfortable. You can’t choose your bike in a spinning class, so you’ll have to put up with whatever the gym has in stock. Most bikes will have a few adjustments, but people on the extremes (too short and too tall) may have difficulty finding a comfortable position.

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