The article (and a number of subsequent articles) came from an interview with 'celebrity trainer' Tracey Anderson who had stated that spinning would give people "bulky thighs".
|Image provided by http://www.dominichinde.com|
What annoyed me was the timing of the article, the poor content and the fact that it appeared in various media formats and publications during January. January is the time when people are making decisions regarding their personal fitness and the last thing the global fitness industry needs is a self-proclaimed expert making negative comments.
The media outlets that have published, manipulated and exaggerated her original comments haven't helped either, particularly as the articles that I have seen have been aimed at a female audience. So the combination of misleading sound-bites, timing and target readership have forced me to clarify a few things about an activity that I and many others really enjoy.
Indoor Cycling burns calories, is fantastic for the heart and lungs, builds leg strength, is low impact and can be great fun. Like most forms of exercise it also helps to combat stress and anxiety and has tremendous mental health benefits.
It is usually done in a separate studio and some clubs offer beginner sessions lasting just 30 minutes.
I've seen people of all ages, shapes and sizes in a group cycling class and members of the group often help each other with bike settings etc. All in all it's a really good experience.
With regard to bulking thighs and making women bigger I am sure this will happen if you do it every day for a few years and combine your Group Cycling programme with a course of anabolic steroids and/or testosterone injections.
Realistically the chances are that you'll squeeze a couple of Cycling classes into your busy week and if you're lucky you'll combine this with at least one other fitness activity.
In the olden days people used to say that women who lifted weights would end up "looking like men" and would develop big, masculine muscles. We now know that this just isn't the case, in fact the shape of the human body can be beautifully transformed with weight training and body-weight exercises.
So don't be put off group cycling and don't let anyone be mislead by the "bulky thighs" story.
Group Cycling is fun and when you find a great instructor you really do enjoy it.
It's just like riding a bike!
|Image courtesy of http://www.dominichinde.com|
How to find a great Group Cycling Studio and Instructor
Ok, when shopping around for a club/studio to try Group Cycling you must look for the following:
- Trial sessions - you want to give it a try first so see whether the club allows you to do this
- Short beginner sessions - always good if you are new to cycling
- Safety advice - a club that cares for your safety (knees, hips, hydration etc) is worth taking seriously
- Clean studio - ask to have look and check the cleanliness of the bikes and the floor - attention to detail is very important and shows that the club takes Group Cycling seriously
- Good sound system - does the music sound good, do the instructors wear head-mics to ensure you can hear their instructions? Sound can often make or break the experience in a studio
- Changing rooms - if the studio offers changing rooms and showers and you think you will use them then have a good look - it's the attention to detail thing again!
- Does the club follow a particular Group Cycling method or programme such as 'Group Ride'?
We all have different tastes when it comes to instructors so look out for the basics:
- Does the instructor welcome you and ask your name?
- Does the instructor offer to help you set up your bike?
- Does the instructor interact well with others?
- Is the instructor qualified and/or attached to a particular programme?
- Is the music at the right level?
- Does the instructor screech and shout - this isn't very nice!
- Does the instructor look professional and dress appropriately for the club and role?
You may have other things to look out for but the points above come from my conversations and focus group sessions with fitness club members.