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What is spinning? The benefits of joining a spin class

September 07 2023 6 min read

Exercise is a great thing, but trying new activities can be scary. With feelings of excitement mixed with trepidation, it can sometimes be a little overwhelming to take on a workout in a dark room with music pumping.

But if you’re looking for a new exercise to incorporate into your routine, spin could be the answer.

Whether you’re looking to get your sweat on and work toward a weight loss goal or simply want to shake up your routine, spin is a tried and true method. But what are the health benefits of spinning? We’ve got all the answers in this Fitness First guide.

What is spinning?

Spinning — also known as indoor cycling — is a group indoor cycling class that focuses on strength, speed and endurance. 

Combining pedal power with pulsating beats, you’ll ride a stationary bike to music with an instructor coaching you through the session. Taking you through different speeds and resistances that simulate various terrains and intensity levels, spin classes will put you through your paces!

Do you need to be an experienced cyclist to try spinning?

No, spin classes are suitable for people of all fitness levels, from beginners to experienced professionals! 

Your instructor will guide you through the workout, and you can adjust the bike's resistance to match your comfort level so you can take the class at a pace that suits you.

What are the benefits of spinning?

Spinning offers a wide range of benefits, from its stress-reducing abilities to the impressive amount of calories you can burn. 

1. It’s easy on the joints

Spinning involves pedalling a stationary bike, which reduces the impact on weight-bearing joints like the knees and ankles. This is particularly beneficial for people looking to exercise without the potential strain on their joints resulting from activities like jogging. 

Compared to high-impact activities like running, spinning is a low-impact workout that still packs a punch. 

2. It’s great for lower body strength

Cycling engages major muscle groups in the lower body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes. The repetitive motion of pedalling against resistance helps build and tone these muscles over time. 

Regular participation in spin classes can lead to improved lower body strength, making everyday activities more manageable and enhancing athletic performance.

3. Improved core engagement

Maintaining proper posture and form during spin classes requires core engagement. Holding yourself upright and stable while pedalling strengthens your core muscles over time. This enhanced core strength not only supports your spine and posture but also improves your overall functional strength.

4. It’s social

No matter how many times you go a week, participating in spin classes allows you to interact with and be a part of a community! 

Connecting with fellow cyclers and sharing the energy of the class can be highly motivating and enjoyable. This camaraderie can make your workout experience more enjoyable and encourage consistent attendance.

5. There’s lots of variety and challenges

At Fitness First, our spin class instructors vary the class structure to include different riding positions, intervals, and challenges!

This variety keeps the workout interesting and prevents plateaus in your fitness progress. The changing routines also engage different muscle groups and energy systems, contributing to a well-rounded workout that burns a lot of calories. 

6. It can help with your mental health

Spin classes can be challenging, pushing you mentally to keep up with your instructor and the people around you.  

The release of  neurotransmitters like endorphins and dopamine — the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals — when exercising can help with  mood enhancement, and improved self-esteem. This fosters a positive mindset and promotes good mental health. The meditative and mindful aspects of spinning, along with the social interaction in group classes, also contribute to stress and anxiety relief. 

7. It can burn a lot of calories

Spin classes are renowned for their high-intensity nature, which translates to significant calorie burning. This makes them an excellent choice for people aiming to lose weight or manage their weight. The combination of intense bursts of effort, followed by recovery periods, creates an effective calorie-burning environment that can contribute to shedding excess pounds.

Is spinning good for beginners?

Spinning is great for beginners as there isn’t too much to wrap your head around when getting on a bike. 

If you are new to spinning, it’s best to let your instructor know before the session, as they can help walk you through the bike set-up and explain any new terminology or phrases they might use during their workouts. They’ll also show you how to increase and lower your resistance, making the pedals feel harder or smoother.

How long is a spin class?

At Fitness First, our spin classes last between 30-45 minutes, where you’ll get fitter, stronger and leaner. 

How many calories can you burn in a spin class?

“While it’s important not to fixate on calorie counting and burning,” explains Tim Andrews at Fitness First, “spinning is one of the highest calorie-burning workouts you can do.”

“On average, you can burn anywhere between 350-600 calories, depending on things like your current weight, how long the class is and the level of resistance you have your bike set to.”

If you do find yourself becoming obsessed with calorie counting, speak to your doctor about the necessary steps you can take to help.

How many spin classes should you do in a week?

According to the NHS, adults should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity a week. 

However, in terms of how many spin classes you should aim for each week, it all depends on your goals. If you’re trying to lose weight, you’d likely do more spin classes compared to someone trying to build muscle. 

On average, 2 classes a week is ideal as you’ll roughly hit the 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity. 

What’s the difference between a flat road and a hill climb in a spin class?

When you take on a spin class, you’ll usually hear two different terms being thrown around: float road and hill climb.

During the flat road portion of a spin class, the instructor often instructs participants to simulate riding on a level surface. This mimics the sensation of cycling on a flat road or an open stretch where the terrain is not inclined. In this segment, you maintain consistent and moderate resistance on the bike while focusing on maintaining a steady cadence (pedal speed).

In contrast, a hill climb segment in a spin class simulates the experience of cycling uphill. During this portion, you'll increase the resistance on the bike, making it harder to pedal. The goal is to engage different muscle groups and challenge your body with a higher workload.

Get your spin session started with Fitness First

Our spinning classes consist of steady-paced cycling intervals mixed with high-intensity incline stints, which really raise your heart rate and make you sweat. Though our spin sessions are fast-paced, don’t be put off. If you’re new to spinning and are concerned about keeping up, don’t be – our instructors are nothing but friendly, so will encourage you to do what feels right for you. That said, there’s a strong sense of team spirit, which will have you wanting to push your limits and really challenge yourself – trust us!

With a soundtrack of party tunes, a spin class will benefit your mind as well as your body. The upbeat music will instantly lift your mood, while the release of feel-good endorphins as you cycle will help relieve stress and anxiety.

You can find spinning classes at most Fitness First gyms, where all of the sessions are taught by highly-trained instructors. For more inspiration, check our blog to read up on the latest fitness and nutrition advice from the specialist personal trainers at Fitness First.