Why should you take up spinning?

Indoor cycling can sometimes seem a bit intimidating, but, trust us once you’ve sweated through your first, you’ll soon catch the bug. Spin class is a common feature to lots of people’s workout week, ranging from a 30-minute hard burst on the bike to 90 minutes of technical riding in the confines of a studio. 

Our top 5 London spin classes

Whether you’re more of a beats on the bike, dance type Soul Cycle spin goer or really more keen on the ‘real riding’ Digme experience, there’s a class for everyone, making it accessible to all. We’ve tried and tested classes across the capital some of our favourites are:

Benefits of spinning

There are numerous benefits of spin, first and foremost it’s a full-body workout, benefiting cardiovascular health. Plus, it’s a great mood booster, with party vibes and high-energy routines to give you that endorphin kick before a day at the desk.

Top tips from a pro

We’ve teamed up with leading spin instructor Carl Van Heerdan to see why he thinks a spin class is the way to get your fitness wheels in motion.   

What attracted you to spin? 

It was a total chance. I was never actually a fan of indoor cycling. But in 2015 I went to a friends audition and got coaxed into jumping on the instructor bike myself…  and there discovered I loved it. That was the start of my spin career. I would teach classes in the morning before heading to my day job in the city. I soon learned that spin was one of the best workouts, strongest endorphin kicks and the perfect way to start my day.

What’s the best thing about being a spin instructor?

Ready for a cliche? The people. 

I’ve met some fantastic individuals over the past 5 years teaching spin all over the world, some of who are now close friends. Best of all, I met my wife in a spin class. 

I love that as a group we can push each other, motivate each other and reach new goals together. There’s a real sense of community, even though at 6am nobody really wants to talk – it’s just the fact that we got up and will get it done together. 

How many total kms do you think you’ve done on a spin bike to date?

I average about 24km in a class, teach 5 classes per week and have done so for 5 years. So if my maths is correct, that’s 31,200km of teaching time on a spin bike. 

Do you ever take your spin skills outside the studio and do road races?

Absolutely. My classes are based on how you would ride on the road (I don’t do too many tap-backs or choreography). Over the summer I was working on longer climbs and increasing everyone’s average watt output during the ride. This massively paid off during the recent “Ride London 100” cycling event where I was able to maintain 220 watts and 32 km/h over the course. 

What are the max calories you’ve burnt in a spin class?  

I once did a 1,000 calorie ride. I was a bit broken afterward. On average I burn about 600-700 calories in a class.

What physical and mental benefits can you expect from spin classes?

The physical is easy – massive calorie burn! Plus it stimulates your cardiovascular system – the heart and lungs primarily. The greater cardio fitness you have the more physical benefits that you’ll experience. It’s also great for increasing muscle definition in your legs and core.

The mental benefits are even better. Exercise produces endorphins which trigger positive feelings (endorphins = the feel good hormone). So even though you walk out of a spin class physically exhausted, mentally you’ll be on a high. You also get a big hit of dopamine which elicits a feeling of motivation, accomplishment, and progress and is released when you set a goal and achieve it. Which is why each of my rides has an overall goal, with a few fun challenges during the ride.  Many people find that spin becomes addictive as it helps people realise how strong they are and how hard they can push. 

To feel the real benefits of spin how regularly do you need to go to a class?

This will vary based on your individual goals. I think even when you’ve found your spinning legs, daily sessions are a bit of an overkill. I always advise my clients to keep their routines varied. But if you’re looking for a high-intensity workout a few days a week—and especially if running or other forms of weight-bearing exercise hurts your joints—spinning is the ideal way to keep your heart and body in shape. 

Do you need a base level of fitness before joining a spin class?

No. You don’t get fit to do spin. You get fit doing spin. 

The first class is the hardest, simply because it’s new. If you’re planning on trying a class for the first time maybe go with a friend and definitely introduce yourself to the instructor.  They should coach you through it and get you out the other side feeling awesome. 

 Is spin for everyone? Are all classes alike?

My best advice? Stop overthinking it, just try it. 

Not all spin classes are alike. Some are literally a dance party on a bike whilst other simulate real road riding. Try a few studios. Each studio will have a different vibe and each instructor will be different. There’s bound to be one or two you love.

Author: Carl Vanheerdan – spin instructor at Core Collective

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