While it’s true cycling is a sport meant to be experienced outdoors, there are times during the winter when riding outside might not be your best option. Fortunately, there are other ways you can still ride and get in a great workout without having to fight against the weather or limited daylight.
Spin class is one option you might not have considered that can help put a spark in a stale routine and make you a better overall cyclist in the meantime. If you’re on the fence or just feel like it might not be your thing, consider these five benefits that just might sway you to give it a try:
IT’S DIFFERENT FROM CYCLING OUTDOORS
During the winter, it’s common for cyclists to put in long, base mileage. While this can be a good way to build your foundation for the upcoming cycling season, it can also be mentally draining.
Spin class is a great way to mix things up a few times per week and keep you fresh. The workouts are usually shorter, with higher intensity and give you a full-body workout that can be a lot different from the outdoor rides you’re used to.
IT REQUIRES LITTLE COMMITMENT
There are a ton of benefits to having an indoor training space. It’s convenient, gives you more options to work out when the weather is bad, and it’s a great way to get in higher-intensity training when you’re short on time. On the downside, it costs quite a bit to set it up initially. An indoor trainer, virtual cycling program and a space to make it happen can all make it infeasible.
The good news is, with an indoor spin class you won’t need to purchase any extra equipment and won’t need to set aside any space at home. If you’ve got a gym membership, you might not even have to pay extra to attend. If you have to pay to jump into an occasional class, it isn’t enough to break the bank and doesn’t compare to the $1,000-plus investment on a smart trainer.
YOU WON’T HAVE TO WORK OUT ALONE
When it’s cold or raining, dedicated riding buddies can be hard to come by. Often this means heading out and braving the conditions alone, and there will certainly be days when you’re less motivated than others.
With spin class, your training partners are built in. The comradery of the group can be motivating and encouraging, and your instructor will be there to cheer you on, too. This connection can provide the necessary energy and support that’s hard to come by when you’re riding alone and it’s dark and dreary.
IT IMPROVES YOUR FOCUS
On a long stretch of road, it can be easy to let your mind drift away and think about a ton of things other than the task at hand. While this can be a welcome way to clear the mind or even a form of meditation, it isn’t a great way to become sharper mentally and learn how to focus all your energy on your riding — like you might need to during a race.
In spin class, you’ll be challenged with constant changes of pace, intensity and cadence. This makes it difficult to do anything but be in the moment, forcing you to focus on adapting to what’s being thrown your way to stay on pace with the rest of the class. This not only makes the time fly by, but it’ll also help your ability to flip the switch mentally when necessary.
IT’S NOT BORING
A big part of motivating yourself to ride day after day and stay fit during the winter is keeping things interesting. If you’ve become bored by the monotony of road cycling, spin class could be just the thing to provide variety and add a spark to your workouts.
From heart-thumping music to upbeat, enthusiastic instructors, you’re guaranteed to never be bored. In most classes, you’ll also be taken through a different workout every day, which is perfect for anyone who feels like they’re stuck in a rut. One day might be focused on sprinting, the next might be focused on standing climbs. But no matter what, you’re going to have a lot more fun than you might sitting on an exercise bike or an elliptical machine when you can’t get out on the road.