How Often Should I Do Spinning or Indoor Cycling Classes?

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kathlene pierson spinning instructor and writer
By Katie Pierson

Spinning® Instructor & Personal Trainer

 Katie holds ten different fitness certifications, including Group Fitness, Spinning Elite, Rockstar Spinning, and Personal Training.

The music starts, the lights dim, and excitement fills the room as the flywheels begin to turn. But, of course, one of the most incredible workouts on the planet is an indoor cycling class. Where else can you torch up to 800 calories in a single workout session? So let’s break down how often you should be riding and what you can do to maximize your results.

How Often & For How Long You Should Be Clicking In

How Often Should I Do Spinning or Indoor Cycling Classes

I know that indoor cycling classes are entertaining and motivating, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. I love that my spin family tries to come to every class that I am teaching or subbing throughout the week, but I always try to remind them that rest is as important as the workout. 

Although Spinning makes you feel invincible after crushing a class, it is key to understand that you should not take a Spinning class 7 days a week. Putting that amount of repetitive stress on your body can result in overtraining. Unfortunately, overtraining often results in injury, which is why rest days are so beneficial. For example, three indoor cycling classes per week in addition to weight training or another form of cardio is a great schedule. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week. Suppose you are getting the recommended amount of exercise per week soon. In that case, you will start to see improvements in not only appearance but, most importantly, in cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength. 

Spinning & Weight Loss

Besides being fun, many people take up indoor cycling to improve their health and perhaps shed a few pounds. Before we go any further, let’s test your knowledge. Do you think the ability to spot reduce (lose weight in a specific area only) is a fact or a myth? 

Myth!

Unfortunately, spot reduction is just a fairytale, and we do not get to pick the areas where we lose body fat and improve body composition. Many of my clients ask if spinning can get rid of belly fat. The answer is that it can, but if you are losing belly fat, you are shedding inches from other places too. 

Tip: The scale is not the only way to check your progress. I recommend tracking changes in your body composition and taking measurements to see how things are moving along. 

If you desire to lose weight with cycling, below are some tips to maximize your efforts.

1. Set an Achievable Goal

Let’s be honest. Setting a goal of losing twenty pounds by the end of next week is not attainable. However, focusing on a slow and steady approach of losing 1-2 pounds per week is. 

Remember that one pound is equal to 3,500 calories. Therefore, burning an additional 500 calories per day will equal one pound per week. Burning 500 calories could be accomplished in thirty minutes or take closer to an hour for some riders. Calorie expenditure during any activity is highly personalized as the number of calories someone burns is based on various factors, including height and weight. 

2. Differentiate Your Workout

If you want cycling to be your main form of exercise and wish to ride more than three times per week, here are a couple of ways to change your training stimulus for you to consider. 

Intensity & Duration

Adjusting your intensity is a fantastic way to amp up your workout, torch calories, and keep your body guessing. You can increase your intensity level on your bike by raising your resistance, increasing your cadence, or a combination of both. 

How many calories you will burn during a workout will also be influenced by how long you are riding. For example, a 45-minute interval ride will crush more calories than a 20-minute interval session. Depending on the amount of time you have to ride and the daily goal you want to achieve, there is an intensity and duration combination to get you there. For instance, a 60-minute endurance ride might burn a similar amount of calories compared to a 30-minute interval ride.

If you are unsure how to change up your workouts on your own, there are plenty of apps with instructor-led workouts available, or simply pop into a local cycling studio for an inspiring class with a live instructor.

My Biking Schedule Example: There are some weeks that I might click in for 5-6 cycling workouts throughout the week, but I always focus on changing up my intensity. For example, I absolutely love interval classes, but I know I need to change my training stimulus to keep my body guessing and avoid injury. Therefore, I might perform three interval classes with an endurance or long ride class in between. 

Add Weight Training Sessions

Cycling definitely helps build muscular strength and endurance, but it is beneficial to include weight training sessions in your weekly routine. Since cycling is primarily a lower body workout, you should incorporate an upper-body or total body workout a couple of times per week. If you want to add these workouts to the same workout session of riding on your bike, remember to complete your weight training first. This will help you to maximize your strength output. 

3. Fuel Your Body the Right Way

When most people hear the word diet, they think it means cutting your calories to 1,200 per day and eating only green food, but the truth is that it describes what you eat. It doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself. No matter how hard you work out, you can’t outwork a bad diet. However, focusing on whole foods and ditching processed items can easily make drastic improvements to your health. We recommend using a food journaling app to track what you are eating and to track your nutrients. My personal favorite is MyFitnessPal. 

4. Catch Some ZZZ’s

In a recent sleep study, researchers found a relationship between higher body weight and lower hours of sleep logged at night. Sleep helps regulate hormones such as Ghrelin, which helps control how hungry you feel. So, aim for about 7 hours of sleep per night to help you reach your health and fitness goals. 

The Bottom Line

Spinning is a fantastic way to improve your overall health and lose weight. Just be sure to remember that cycling alone will not be the key to your success, but strength training and diet also play a pivotal role. We believe in you and can’t wait to hear about your success.

Katie Pierson

Katie is the creator of MT Girl Fitness and has been a certified fitness professional for almost twenty years. She currently holds ten different fitness certifications, including Group Fitness, Spinning Elite, Rockstar Spinning, and Personal Training. Fitness is her passion, and she loves seeing her clients reach goals they never imagined.

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