“You don’t always get what you wish for, but you get what you work for.”
It may first draw to mind the Tour de France, cycling legend Eddy Merckx, or Queen’s famous hit song “Bicycle Race”. It’s a sport that has been become increasingly popular over recent years, with trendy new businesses being built around the bike and the benefits its users reap when exercising. However, cycling itself has been around for quite some time. In fact, cycling was first introduced to the Olympic Games as early as 1896 Yet, you don’t need to be an Olympic athlete, or even training for a bike race, to gain the benefits of cycling. You can simply enjoy biking or want to explore the idea of how engaging in a cycling class can help you get in better shape. If you’ve been curious about this fitness method, many LA Fitness club locations offer Group Fitness cycle classes that are complimentary with LA Fitness memberships.
Before getting started, there are some things you should know:
- It’s OK to be nervous.
- Bring water, and plenty of it.
- Classes are open to all fitness and skill levels.
- You can easily cycle at your own pace.
- Spandex is not required (but always fun).
Trying anything new can sometimes bring with it a sense of nervousness. It’s alright to go into a class a little worried. However, that’s why the Group Fitness instructor is there. If it’s your first time, let the instructor know. Oftentimes, they will ask at the beginning of the class if it’s anyone’s first time. That way, they can help you adjust your seat height and pedal straps and answer any questions you may have before getting started.
Cycling can be a somewhat vigorous and high-paced class, lasting approximately 50 minutes, so ensure you have enough water to stay hydrated. It’s important to always have water with you when working out, no matter what exercise you choose. Most LA Fitness cycle bikes even have a convenient water bottle holder, so you have easy access to your hydration.
Whether you’re new to cycling or you’re an experienced rider, all skill levels are welcomed to class. Instructors will often give you a range to work between for gear level and RPM (revolutions per minute), so you can adjust it to your own personal preference/skill set. Don’t go in to your first class thinking you have to go at full capacity or stay for the entire class. Do what feels the most comfortable for you, and your body will slowly build up endurance.
Cycling shoes are preferred by some riders, but are not a requirement for an LA Fitness group cycle class. Clothing can be loose or tight fitting, depending on your personal preference. Bring along a small workout towel to help wipe away excess sweat and don’t forget the most important thing – have fun!
Cycling doesn’t have to be a race. Think of it as a fun and fresh way to stay in shape, all while pedaling your way to a slimmer waist.
We interviewed cycle enthusiast and Group Fitness cycle instructor, Gail T. who shared her views on why you should give cycling a chance.
Q: What do you think sets cycling apart from other Group Fitness classes?
Gail T.: Cycling classes are unique. They are an amazing cardio workout and can be done by everyone, as the workout can be tailored to personal needs or goals. Cycling is different than other classes as it’s relatively easy to follow the instructor and get a great workout, even on your first ride. Anyone of any age or fitness level can do a cycling class. You can modify it to accommodate your fitness level or build up your cardio endurance, or you can scale it back if you are recovering from injuries.
Q: Why choose cycle over other aerobic options?
GT: People often ask why cycling? To be honest, I think cardio wise, it’s the best bang for your buck in burning calories, getting fit, and being able to quickly be a part of a team. In cycling, we do it all. We do intervals, hills, sprints, and mountains, which make you stronger and healthier with every class. It’s a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class and it’s a lot of work, but also a lot of fun! Each member controls how easy or how hard the workout is by changing the gear on his or her bike.
“I don’t believe you have to be better than anybody else. I believe you have to be better than YOU ever thought you could be.”
Q: What does cycling mean to you?
GT: I’ve been teaching cycle classes for years and this year marks my 14th anniversary with LA Fitness. I was hooked with cycling classes from the very first class I ever took and being an instructor really pushed me out of my comfort zone. Over the years, I’ve tried to share my passion for fitness and cycling with everyone I meet. I’ve made countless friends over the years, and having new members join the team on a regular basis makes classes extra fun. No ride is ever the same and it’s amazing how quickly you’ll progress from being a first time rider who is unsure of what to do, to becoming a rockstar, full of energy and power!
Q: If you could give one piece of fitness advice to our readers, what would it be?
GT: Just try a class. The first class is often your worst class, but if you kind of like it, it will only get better. You will notice that the more you do it, the better you get and we all like doing what we are good at. So, take a chance and embrace the opportunity to focus on YOU for an hour. I feel strongly that each person is entitled to some you time and you’ll never regret a great workout!