Cycling 101

Registered Dietitian Taylor here!

I wear many hats as a certified cycle instructor by morning, dietitian by day, and foodie by night. I personally have always loved a morning workout and when I had the opportunity to become a cycle instructor I chased after it. Some of the health benefits of cardio are increased aerobic capacity, blood flow, betters HDL aka “good cholesterol”, blood sugar control, joint range of motion, improved memory and cognitive function, and the list goes on. Currently the American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity. With about 20% of the population meeting the standard there is room to grow!

Cycle classes can range anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes depending on the place. There is no shortage of them now in 2020, it seems as though they are popping up everywhere. With that being said, finding the right one for you may present as a challenge as there are so many formats. Maybe you already have a gym membership that offers cycle on the group fitness schedule, or you’re interested in trying a boutique cycle studio, or maybe you’ve bought a bike to have at home. Whatever the case may be let’s talk about what you need to know before you go!

1. Fuel Up

You may not want to ride on an empty tank, so I recommend that you hydrate with plenty of water and maybe a light snack depending on the time of day and what your system is used to doing before a workout.

2. Know Before You Go

Attendance: Sign up ahead of time. If they have a cancellation policy be sure to review it

Shoes: Does the place you’re going provide cycle shoes to “clip in” on the bike or do they have “cages” that the instructor can add to the clip so you can use your normal tennis shoes is they do not provide clip in shoes?

Additional offerings: Do they provide cycle shoes, water, towels, etc or do you bring your own?

3. Get There

Arrive 10-15 minutes before your ride, so the staff can welcome you, go to the restroom, maybe find a place to drop you gym bag if you brought one, give you a tour of the facility, find a spot in the room, and introduce yourself to the instructor.

4. Listen To Your Body

The instructor has created the workout you will do so trust them but also make sure you tune in to how it makes you feel. They will call out RPM (aka, the speed that your legs will be going) and a gear number, or feeling (ex: “this should feel like you’re going through mud”) pertaining to resistance.