Keep Calm and Cycle On

Nothing beats the feeling of sweat pouring off your face as you finally reach the cool down after winning an hour-long battle with your physical and mental strength. To all of you who hurt just at the thought of enduring an indoor cycling (some call it spinning) class, I really want to encourage you to give it another chance.  I work part-time as an instructor here at college, and I absolutely love getting to share my passion for fitness with everyone that braves the door to the cycling “cave” as we call it. I am such a fan of the total body toning and heart-rate raising benefits that cycling has to offer.  Yes, it’s intense, but it is so worth the one hour of dripping in sweat and pushing your mental limits to rid your body of stress and burn some major calories.  Also, the atmosphere of high-energy music (I’ve even heard I’ve been voted best music), camaraderie between cyclists, and never-ending workout variety sure beats the mundane torture of the treadmill.

Cycling has been proven as one of the best cross-training exercises as it’s low impact but high intensity, so your heart is pumping hard the whole time while your joints are oblivious and enjoying a break from pounding the pavement.  I continued to cycle three times a week while training for my first half-marathon, and I think it contributed a lot to my race day results. The constant gear and speed changes mixed with bursts of all-out sprints ensure you’re always engaged in your workout (instead of reading that Hollywood gossip article while “working out” on an elliptical) and never fail to send the calorie burn through the roof.

There aren’t really any muscle groups that miss out during one of my cycling classes.  Obviously you’ll be toning the calves, thighs, and glutes, but even your core, back, and arms will feel the burn during parts of the workout such as push-ups, climbing, and hovering.

I love getting to serve as an encourager and somewhat of a fitness coach to all those I come in contact with in my class.  When you think you literally might die if you have to do another sprint, I can promise I’ll do my best to urge you to suck it up and just push through with a little bit of tough love.

Also, I am very picky with my music choices for my playlists.  I include some popular and hip/hop styles of Rihanna or Justin Timberlake, but I also throw in my favorites like Switchfoot, Coldplay, or even Glee. I’m also a fan of matching literal lyrics to that part of the workout that can even be comical sometimes: “Breathing,” “Hurts Like Heaven,” “Bleeding Out,” “Numb,” “Girl on Fire.” I get to use my class as a sort of ministry at the same time because I always play a few songs that have a Christian and encouraging message.  The last few minutes are always my favorite when we’re cooling down and maybe closing our eyes while a Kari Jobe, Chris August, or Leeland song plays.

I always encourage people to really be present for just an hour and leave all the stress, anxiety, and to-do lists at the door.  I promise after sweating out all that junk and with abundant endorphins flowing you’ll have more than enough energy and refreshment to tackle the rest of your day.

All this being said, why not go out on a limb and try something new? You could find a fresh and much appreciated change in your exercise regimen that could be just the thing to re-ignite your motivation.  Who knows, maybe you’ll even love it so much that you end up becoming an instructor like I did!

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