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If you can’t survive the winter months without your bike but aren’t a fan of the cold, you should try spinning. You can train under consistent conditions in a group or by yourself and work on your stamina for the coming spring.

What is indoor cycling?

Spinning is a highly-intensive indoor cycling session on special stationary bikes. A session usually takes between 45 and 60 minutes. You train in a group with an instructor who gives commands like “stand flat” (more upright body, centre of gravity over the crank) or “jump” (combination of sitting and standing) etc. Every participant can choose the intensity of his or her own training when getting on the bike. Naturally, you can also do spinning on your own without an instructor.

What is the biggest difference to outdoor training?

Your pulse skyrockets quickly during spinning, especially when training in a group, making you sweat. Thus, it makes for a more intensive training than cycling outside where you sometimes coast for a little while or have to stop at traffic lights. The short yet intensive training sessions are ideal to build up stamina and steadfastness.

Tip: Intensive training sessions should never be the main component of your training. A stable basic endurance is necessary to prevent injuries and keep fit in the long run. Hence, the relation between endurance training (long, extensive sessions) and intensive trainings (spinning) should remain at 4:1 at all times. 

The right appeal

The group dynamics of spinning make you test your limits very fast. You’re in the zone, the music motivates you and you don’t want to look weak in front of your instructor. It is best to start at a lower intensity especially at the beginning. Your lactate values can rise quickly which renders your training ineffective, even if a session only lasts for 45 minutes.

Tip: Bring your heart rate monitor if you know your heart rate thresholds and check the duration of your anaerobic condition. If you are anaerobic for too long, your body produces more lactate than it disintegrates.  

5 Tips for beginners 

  • Rehydrate! You’ll be sweating a lot due to the highly intense phases and lack of airstream. Make sure to rehydrate by drinking isotonic beverages.
  • Don’t forget to bring a towel and sweatband! As mentioned above, you’re going to sweat heavily, thus it’s advisable to bring a towel to wipe your face with.
  • You’ll need warm clothes after your training session. Make sure to bring sufficiently warm clothes to wear after your training session as you cool down quickly especially during winter. Your immune system is at a low point after an intensive session.
  • Watch your diet. The intense training strongly affects your muscles which have to be supplied with proteins after the training.
  • Consider getting your health checked before your first session. Make sure you have a clean bill of health and let your doctor clear you for this intense training. Spinning when you have a cold or even the flu is strictly off-limits!

How do you keep fit for the upcoming cycling season?

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