Monday, November 20, 2000

Indoor cycling classes offered at all levels

By Carrie Henderson
Enquirer contributor

        When you audition for this “Spin City,” be prepared to get yelled at — sort of — and to shed a few hundred calories.

        Spinning is an indoor cycling program that emphasizes a balance between physical and mental exercise. It combines basic cycling movements along with motivational coaching from an instructor.

        Long-distance cyclist Johnny G started the trend in 1987. His goal was to invent an indoor exercise program that would help him train year-round for cycling events. With the help of Schwinn, the “Johnny G Spinner” bike was manufactured.

  Classes offered at TriHealth Fitness and Health Pavilion, Blue Ash. 985-0900:
  • Beginner Spin teaches basic spin moves.
  • Race Day simulates a race with comfortable flat stretches to challenging mountain climbs for advanced spinners.
  • Endurance Ride metabolizes fat efficiently and maintains a comfortable pace for extended periods.
  • Strength Ride is steady, consistent pedaling with heavy resistance that promotes muscular and cardiovascular development.
The bike
               The Spinner differs from other stationary bikes in many aspects. It is equipped with one flywheel thathelps the rider to keep a consistent speed while pedaling.

        The Spinner is also equipped with a knob to increase or decrease the amount of tension on the flywheel. For a more strenuous up-hill workout, increase the resistance. Decrease the tension if a flat-surface workout is desired.

        Another important element of the Spinner is a safety break. With a pull of the knob, the bike come to a smooth complete stop.

Physical benefits
               Spinning offers an excellent cardiovascular workout. It targets the leg muscles. During the workout the upper body, especially the arms, remain relaxed.

        In an average 45 minute workout, 10 to 20 miles can be covered, depending on the individual. This highly aerobic endurance activity burns 400-600 calories. Spinning offers many of the same benefits as jogging but is a non-impact activity. It is more gentle on the body than other exercises.

        Spinning is an endurance activity and not a muscle-building exercise. Maggie Kolb, Group Fitness Coordinator at TriHealth Fitness and Health Pavilion, suggests alternating Spinning with weighted exercise.

Mental benefits
               Spinning incorporates Johnny G's “mind over body” philosophy.

        “Spinning simulates what goes on outdoors,” Ms. Kolb says. “It is all about visualizing.”

        Leanne Gooch, certified instructor at TriHealth Fitness and Health Pavilion, insists that her students obtain both a physical and emotional workout.

        The upbeat “Eye of the Tiger” song helps give students the energy and motivation needed to finish a course. The class, with up to 17 students, is transformed from an exercise room into an outdoor bike course. Ms. Gooch is the coach and cheering section.

        Her words of encouragement — “Come on, we're almost to the finish line. You can do it!” — make the “hill” seem more bearable.

Reasons to spin

               Spinning is fun. With a strong emphasis on mental exercise, at times you forget how hard your body is working. Many exercises require a sense of balance and coordination. With Spinning, these requirements are not necessary.

        “You don't have to know your right from your left,” Ms. Kolb jokes. The resistance knob makes spinning adaptable to beginner and advanced cyclists.

Needed accessories

               • Water bottle. The bike is designed to hold a water bottle. This may become your best friend during the ride.

        • Towel. Profuse sweating is part of the workout.

        • Imagination. You will be asked to visualize the finish line.

               • Gel-filled seat cover or padded cycling shorts. Sitting 45 minutes in any one position can be uncomfortable. Now think of sitting on a bike seat for 45 minutes. Now think of the day after.

        • Spinning shoes. For more advanced cyclists who want a maximum workout, these special shoes are designed to hook directly into the bike pedals.


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