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Why Spinning is the perfect workout — and how to have the best ride

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Ever walk by the cycling room at a gym and wonder why anyone would want to ride a stationary bike inside when they could be outdoors feeling the breeze and enjoying the scenery? Well, just like biking outside has advantages, cycling indoors can be more of a fun, effective and intense workout — perhaps just what you need to shake up your workout routine and meet your goals.

“Spinning can help burn fat, build lean muscle and improve your cardiovascular system,” says Stephanie Beck, a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor for Chicago Athletic Clubs and a LES MILLS US trainer. But that’s just the beginning. Check out these five reasons to get in the saddle, plus tips on how to have the best ride.

  1. Your joints will thank you
    “The best thing about spinning is that it’s low-impact,” Beck says. “You receive the same benefits you’d get from high-intensity interval training or cardio workouts but without putting as much pressure on your joints.”
    Ride-guide tip:
    The joint benefits won’t matter, however, if you’re uncomfortable. “Adjusting your seat to the right height should be your No. 1 priority,” says Beck. “It will dictate your comfort level and how efficient you are with your legs.” Check out this handy infographic, which shows you exactly how to set up your bike.
  2. You’ll want to push yourself to the max
    “Working out in a group really inspires people to work harder than they would on their own,” says Beck. Plus, instructors typically create killer upbeat play lists and coordinate intervals with the music, all of which drives you to keep pedaling and challenging yourself. Chicago Athletic Clubs even offers Spin classes with a live DJ to up the fun factor.
    Ride-guide tip: It’s healthy to push yourself, but don’t be afraid to dial back the intensity if needed. “Group fitness classes can sometimes be intimidating,” Beck says. “But it’s important to take care of yourself.” Grab water and take a short break to catch your breath or go easy during a sprint if you need to.
  3. You can customize your workout
    Spin classes are designed for everyone from beginners to the super-fit. “Each bike has a knob that allows you to manage your resistance,” Beck explains. “Turning it up makes it harder, as if you’re climbing a hill, and turning it down makes it a easier, as if you’re biking on a flat road.” So even as the instructor guides you, you’re in control; if he or she says to add a full turn of the knob, it’s OK if you’re more comfortable only adding a half.
    Ride-guide tip: Get to class 10 minutes early so you not only have time to set up your bike, but also can become comfortable with the resistance knob. “Find the instructor to let him or her know that you’re new,” Beck says. The instructor will help you get set up and answer any questions.

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