by Angela Reed-Fox
Riders need results. They want to burn fat, tone muscle, get those other healthy outcomes - but don't want to sign their life away on a stiff gym regime. So what can you do?
Not all forms of exercise, or indeed exercise classes, are created equal. You can dedicate a lot of time to some, and not see results for months - if at all. However, studio cycling done properly brings a wide variety of benefits:
High calorie burn
Compared to many other activities, studio cycling gives the best burn - particularly when you teach riders to apply the correct cycling technique.
Partly due to the high calorie burn during the session, and partly due to the type of activity, riders wil be torching fat like there's no tomorrow. Mix in aerobic work with high-intensity intervals, allowing appropriate recovery will have your riders accomplishing a high fat burn during the session as well as afterwards too.
Great for heart health
Paying close attention to heart rate zones, and designing your session without neglecting the lower aerobic zones will help to reduce riders' blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Firing up the metabolism
Because studio cycling done with the correct technique uses resistance, the large muscles groups such as quads (front of thigh), hamstrings (back of thigh) and glutes (bottom), riders will be toning these muscles - an more muscle tissue means their metabolic rate will increase, meaning they burn more calories at rest. Don't forget to coach proper technique to enable your riders to fully benefit from this.
Strengthens the core
Again, refining your riders' technique will increase their gains here. By strengthening the core muscles, they'll improve your shape as well as improve posture, decrease likelhood of experiencing back pain, as well as improving stability and balance.
If your venue uses cardiotraining technology you'll be able to keep a more informed eye on your riders, and in turn, they'll be able to take control of how their workout goes - keeping it safe, yet challenging. Not only that, but the technology has been known to flag up issues which upon medical investigation led to riders receiving life-saving intervention and surgery. Get your venue manager to talk to us about cardiotraining software - we can provide useful advice - and we can supply the software too.
Measurable workouts for greater motivation
It's so difficult to stay motivated when you can't see the results. Using bikes that track power output, particularly the modern type bikes that have actual numbered gears rather than the older 'twisty knob' technology, riders can see how they're getting stronger, and push themselves to the next level. Also, cardiotraining is great for motivating riders. We really like the MyZone heartrate belts - riders can earn points for every minute they spend in the active heartrate zones. This is a great feature for keeping riders on track and promoting a bit of healthy competition, as well as being able to track real improvements.
Go at your own pace and intensity
Combining the cardiotraining technology and providing plenty of options for those who need it, you'll be able to give a great workout at every level. We strongly recommend venues offer different sessions with differing levels of intensity in order to increase the effectiveness of each class. While it is true that any rider should be able to go to any class and get something from it, it is also true that a focused class will bring far superior results. Offer different classes, and offer options in each one. Best of both.
There are many reasons why riders might not want to add impact to their joints - and studio cycling is low impact. They'll be getting a great resistance and cardiovascular workout, but without pounding your joints. Less injury, more results. (just keep an eye on technique for extra effectiveness.)
Get done and duster quicker
Studio cycling is efficient exercise. Because of this, your riders will get results faster, and therefore not need to spend so much time exercising (even though it's fun) - so they can spend more time doing other things. Make sure you plan your sessions effectively, have a rationale for each feature you add (or don't add!) and when you're managing your class, remember to coach technique for added effectiveness.