Tour de France from your front room?
While competing in the tour de France, the competitors will cycle for around 6 hrs a day. To the average human being like us this is hard to imagine, let alone accomplish. So what are the benefits of cycling, or in this case, a spin class for someone that isn’t a professional cyclist?
Well, first of all the accessibility of spin classes is amazing. No matter your gender, age, weight or previous activity levels you can take part, and feel included. Most spin bike classes will allow each member to set their own intensity throughout (although recommendations will be given), again this removes the barrier of not being fit enough to start. Spinning is one of the lowest impact forms of cardiovascular exercise, meaning it’s less taxing on the body when compared to the likes of running. This allows a lower entry level required, with a lower risk of injury too. So there goes your excuses out the window!
It goes without saying that spinning has a number of benefits for our heart, a spin class will normally have different intensities throughout, meaning both anaerobic and aerobic styles will be used. (In basic terms anaerobic means without oxygen so a short 10 second max effort [e.g. sprint] would be anaerobic. Aerobic meaning the opposite therefore meaning with oxygen an example of this would be a long slow steady hill climb.) Both styles have health benefits, these include, but aren’t limited to; burning calories, lower blood pressure, aid better quality sleep, reduce bodyweight and enhancing your overall mood.
So what do we recommend if you wanted to make your own spinning session?
0-5 mins: Warm up with a slow steady tempo, gently increasing until body temperature, heart rate and breathing rate has increased.
5-9 mins: Seated hill climb with an increase in resistance every 30 seconds, keeping RPM in the <80 range slow and steady
9-10 mins: Recovery take the resistance down and get a drink if needed
10-13 mins: Out of the seat climb again every 30’s increasing the resistance. Keeping the RPM slow and steady as before <80.
13-14 mins: Recovery take the resistance down and get a drink if needed
14-20 mins: Sprint, not flat out (not yet anyway) slowly bring up the tempo till RPM is above 100, work for 30 second rest for 15 seconds
20-21 mins: Recovery take the resistance down and get a little drink if needed
21-25 mins: Finish strong with a fan favourite TABATA (a form of HIIT) 20 second work, 10 second rest, 8 rounds. The 20 second working bout should be maximal. Personally I recommend alternating the work from a sprint >100 rpm (medium resistance) and an out of the seat climb <80 rpm (high resistance)
25-30 mins: Cool down bring your heart rate back down to a steadier level.
RPM = Reps per minute - in this case, a revolution of the pedals on the bike
After finishing this it would be recommended to foam roll or stretch at the very least your calves, hamstrings and quads.
From this 30min workout you can expect to burn 200-300 calories depending on variables (gender, age, weight, fitness levels and amount of effort you put in). This is enough for you and I but nothing compared the 5000 calories the tour de France athletes expend everyday when competing!
Do you attend spin classes? Would you ever attempt to cover the distance of a Tour de France rider? Let us know in the comments below!