Colder, darker winter weather will soon be upon us and this could mean a set back in your training which we certainly don't want happening. For some of you (whether you admit it or not) the thought of running or cycling outside in the dark, gloomy winter weather is not ideal and you might reduce your training as a result of this. Maybe the thought of joining your local gym and exercising on the treadmill or bikes doesn't interest you either and therefore you may feel as though you don't have a choice in continuing with your training. Here is the solution, have you thought about participating in a spinning class? How many of you are aware of a spinning class? For some of you, you may already know and in answer to the question in the title, you might hate them!! I am a qualified freestyle spin instructor and here are some great benefits why taking part in this class will help with your training, goals and keep you on track ready for Spring.
What is Spinning?
So to begin with, what is a spinning class? This is usually a 45 minute cycle based class that is going to work you to your maximum. You will exercise in a group and have an instructor at the front of the class pushing you the whole time. This class is for everyone and it doesn't matter if this is your first class or your 100th, you will certainly give your body the workout it needs. The class focuses on different riding techniques that will have you seated, standing, climbing and sprinting. The class pushes you physically but also mentally and you will be amazed at the amount you can do. If some of you are reading this already and thinking to yourself that you have tried a spin class before and it literally nearly killed you, please stick with it.
Two Aspects of Training
In my opinion spinning is great for two aspects of training, Fat Loss and Building Muscle. Let's start with fat loss and how a 45 minute intense spinning class will help you burn more fat than you've ever thought it would. Let me hit you with this fact, spinning will burn around 500 calories per class, which is huge!! But this won't come easy, as spinning is sought to be one of the hardest classes out there. Spinning is more of a HIIT based style of training and this means it will work your body at different intensities at a high level. This means at one point in the class you will be riding at one speed then changing to a quicker one or more intense speed. The level at which you push yourself will change often throughout the class also. What this means for your body is that you will increase the rate at which your body burns fat and raise your metabolism for hours after the class. When your metabolism raises it then means you will continue to burn calories hours after your class, so you could find yourself feeling hungrier than usual but this is ok!! This shows it is working and that your body is adapting to the training, make sure you feed it when it is hungry.
So fat loss is evident when taking part in a spin class and now lets look at how this class will build muscle. Cycling is one of the best ways to tone and build muscle within your legs and bum muscles, you only need to look at Sir Chris Hoy to seek clarification on this one. But why is it so good? Well, when you cycle you are working your lower body muscles much harder than other aerobic based exercises such as running. The amount of blood flow that is pumped into your legs and bum muscles whilst in the spin class will leave you feeling a little 'tight' so to speak when you get off the bike. Don't let this put you off though as this will show the tremendous effort you have put in. A spin class will put a lot of demand onto your leg muscles and as such they will receive a fantastic workout, but won't grow or get stronger unless you feed them with the right nutrients after the session.
What You Need To Do
Preparation is key for a spinning class, remember you are going to WORK HARD and first things first, staying hydrated is key! Make sure you have a bottle of water to take with you. It probably doesn't come as a surprise but during this class you are going to SWEAT and when you do so you will lose valuable salts from your body. So within your water it is a good idea to have an electrolyte based tablet that you can pop inside and will dissolve. This will help keep you from reaching fatigue and keep your hydrated so later on after the session you won't feel dizzy or sick. Be sure to take regular sips of this during your workout too so that you are keeping your muscles energised. Next up, make sure you have eaten well leading up to the class, some good carbohydrates and protein is essential to keep your physical performance optimal. Something like sweet potato, brown rice and chicken 2 hours before is a great choice.
After Your Session
Before and during your training is set up for you but what about after your session? Well, as soon as you finish your session re-fuel your muscles with their favourite type of food, PROTEIN! Remember during this session your muscles will break down and it is important you re build them correctly. The easiest way to do this after your spin class is to use a whey protein shake. It's quick and easy and will get into your system within 10 minutes of drinking it. Additionally you might want to think about recovering with branched chain amino acids as these have also been scientifically proven to aid quicker recovery and build toned, strong and more effective muscles within the body. Don't forget to consume water and stay hydrated after your session as you will have undertaken some serious exercise and it is essential you keep the body in a positive state. Approximately within an hour of finishing your spin class it is important to eat a balanced meal consisting of carbohydrates (rice, sweet potatoes, pasta,) protein (fish, turkey, chicken, beef) and vegetables to keep your energy levels high. Remember earlier I mentioned that spinning will help raise your metabolism immensely which is great news for all you late night gym lovers. It means even if you sitting down to this type of meal at 9pm it isn't going to be detrimental to your fitness goals as your body will be burning these calories!! Great news right?!
I wanted to re iterate the fact that this class is suitable for virtually anyone and is not an expert only class. Newbies are always welcome and if you are just starting out this class will work you very hard so be patient and train well. This is also a great opportunity to make new friends as the spinning class community is friendly and extremely helpful. Remember this is a great substitute for you so that you don't have to be out in horrible weather and not exercise. Enjoy it and please feel free to leave a comment to let me know how you get on :).