It’s no secret that when starting a workout or exercise routine, you need to find something that you love and can stick with long term. Also, anyone that knows anything about me knows that spinning is my go-to for cardio. Why? It’s because I LOVE it!
My first exposure to spinning came my sophomore year in college, when my roommate and I took a spinning class as an elective for college credit. I really enjoyed it! Even though I was about 40 pounds overweight at the time, I do remember my legs, my quads specifically, looking more toned than they ever had, so much so, that my mom and roommate noticed on two separate occasions. Even though I took this class the spring semester of my sophomore year and truly enjoyed it, I never went back to another cycle class until YEARS later.
I started attending cycle classes regularly about 6 years later, and since then I’ve never looked back. I jumped back into the routine with spin classes at L.A. Fitness, then, when I changed gyms to the YMCA, I started RPM, which is basically just the Les Mills version of spin. Shortly thereafter, I would say my life changed! The gym introduced a new program called Les Mills Sprint, which is a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT, for short) cycle class. Actually, a Sprint class is better described as: “This isn’t a cycle class. It’s HIIT on a bike.” HIIT is a form of exercise that’s composed of all out efforts, combined with short rest periods in-btween. The whole class, including warm-up and cool down, is only a quick 30 minutes. I fell in love with the short, effective workout of Sprint almost immediately, and more importantly, my body loved it! This is the class that completely changed my physique, improved my overall fitness, helped me shed stubborn fat, sleep better, and ultimately, get rid of those last pounds that kept hanging on. I’ve been doing Sprint consistently for about 2.5 years at this point, so obviously I love it if I’ve kept at it for this long, which everyone knows is super important for sustainability of any regimen that you embark on. In fact, I loved it so much, I even attended the Les Mills training to be a certified Sprint instructor!
Reasons why I love spinning, more specifically Sprint:
- It’s super quick. No matter whether you pick Sprint or a more traditional spin class, you can still get in a super sweaty workout in 30-60 minutes. Music is a big factor in any cycle class, so no matter if it’s a 30-minute Sprint, or 45-60 min traditional ride, the music keeps you super motivated and makes the class time fly by!
- It’s an effective cardiovascular exercise! So, Sprint and your traditional cycle classes are really training two different forms of cardio. Sprint, or really any HIIT-type workout is training your fast-twitch muscle fibers meaning it’s really going to improve your performance, making you faster and greatly improve your cardiovascular capacity, and you tend to get the “after-burn” effect with HIIT training. Without going into all the science-y deets, this basically just means that you continue burning calories long after your workout ends! So I can burn extra calories by just going about my day? Yes, please!! Another cool thing, about Sprint/HIIT is that in some studies it’s been shown to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, which is awesome for people like me with PCOS! If you want to learn more about it, you can google “benefits of HIIT” and there are almost 15 million articles on the benefits of this specific type of workout that are available for you to read up on. There’s no shortage of information or studies on the validity of HIIT. On the other hand, traditional cycle classes are more of a steady-state cardio that focuses more on endurance. You aren’t going to have major spikes and drops in heart rate like you will in Sprint, but you can still bet that you’re heart rate will be elevated, you’ll be sweaty, and you’ll be working your body big time!
- It’s easy on the joints, meaning there’s less risk for injury and people of all ages can participate! When you’re working out on a cycle bike and it’s set up correctly, there’s essentially little to no impact on the joints. You won’t wake up the next day after a workout feeling like you’ve been beat up. Running, for example, is incredibly hard on the body and is so stressful on the joints. Most serious runners will have some kind of wear and tear on the body, like knee or hip replacements at some point, but not with cycling. Other than swimming, I can’t think of another cardio exercise that also doesn’t jostle your body and mess with your joints. In theory, every one of all ages and fitness levels can hop on and ride without pain.
- It majorly improves my mood! On days that I cycle, I can tell a massive difference in my mood. It’s 30 minutes all to myself and I can lose myself in the music and movement. It’s a 30-minute escape from the real world and the endorphin-high that follows is amazing. I can also tell a difference in my quality of sleep on days that I cycle. I sleep so much more soundly, and in return, my mood the day FOLLOWING is better because of the amount of rest I got.
- It keeps me in my skinny jeans! It may be a shallow reason, but hey, let’s be honest here! I think most of us start an exercise program for aesthetic reasons or goals, and then we realize all the above benefits as we consistently improve our health. Sprint is the exercise that gives me the biggest sweat of any exercise programs I participate in. I do like to switch it up though. I’ll attend Orange Theory, Pure Barre, Zumba or boot camp classes, or I will even hit up a Soul Cycle or Fly Wheel when I’m in bigger cities, but Sprint, by far, is the most challenging. There have been times when I’m traveling or when I had surgery this past summer that I had to take some time off from Sprint. After about a week, I can feel my pants are just a liiitle tighter than they were, I feel lousy, and am just craving that intense movement again.
So, have I convinced you yet? Are you ready to give Sprint a try, or at least try out a traditional cycle class? I would love to hear…what’s your favorite kind of exercise that you love and have stuck with for a long time?