Photo by Ryan Murphy

Spin Cycle

A rush of air, flying scenery, heart-pumping concentration as you weave through the turns and climb the hills – the thrill of outdoor cycling is obvious to anyone who has gone faster than five miles an hour down the Olentangy Trail. Yet, due to Ohio’s weather, or an epic crash, some riders decide to move their exercise indoors and hop on the spinning trend.

“Indoor cycling is the same things as spinning, it’s just spinning is trademarked,” said Demi Tsapatsaris, co-owner of Cycle614.* “It’s the difference between Q-tips and cotton swabs.”

Indoor cycling provides some of the same benefits as outdoor cycling; it tones legs by working glutes, thighs and calves, and strengthens lower back muscles while keeping the core balanced. And, of course, there’s the cardio.

“When you look at what you need for fitness, one of the key components that people always look at is cardio, especially women. But for muscle tone you need the weights, and for flexibility you need different exercises of how to stretch,” Tsapatsaris said.

Cycle614 is the only gym in Columbus that is a full studio dedicated only to indoor cycling, so in order to incorporate these other workout essentials, they have to be a little creative with weights while riding.

“You can have a full-body workout with weights. It just adds a whole ‘nother component to that actual lower-body workout,” Tsapatsaris said. “You can add some arm movement, even some ab movements – you’re getting a full-body workout strengthening your core, strengthening your arms, your delts, your shoulders, your back, your everything.”

Another cycling gym, reCycyle Wellness, works out the upper body with RealRyder bikes. A RealRyder is not quite stationary, as you can lean on the bike to mimic the turning sensation, similar to outdoor biking. When using the balancing and stabilizing muscles to move the bike, it gives the rider an upper-body and core workout. The studio also provides yoga and strength training for a well-balanced workout.

Pedal to the Metal

Classes may be low-impact, but they burn more than 500 calories a session so it’s not just sitting and riding.

The workout is different every single time and so is the soundtrack, Tsapatsaris said.

You’ll have to come a little early to set up your bike so that it’s most comfortable for you, and you can wear your sneakers with usual gym attire (as long as it’s not too baggy). Classes last 45 minutes, and you move from warm-up to intervals or increased resistance, depending on the ride – or in many cases, the music can get you moving faster or slower.

“The instructors will lead you through the workouts,” Tsapatsaris said. “Every instructor is different but holds the same common positive energy.”

“You can have a full-body workout with weights. It just adds a whole ‘nother component to that actual lower-body workout.”

Many times the workouts require moving into different positions – standing, sitting or adjusting hand position.

Burn Studio in Gahanna also uses weights to tone but offers its own spin as well. One class has indoor cycling for the first half, and then the second half is yoga to stretch out those muscles you just used. Another uses deep breathing and music to relax you while spinning. Cycle614 also tries to incorporate a yoga approach with bands hanging from the ceiling for stretching.

While many people may think of cycling for only the outdoors or just cardio, it can be used for all the basic essentials of your workout. And if that’s not enough of a reason to try a class, it’s also a good time.

“This is like a Venti-size endorphin fix – it’s fun!” Tsapatsaris said. “It’s a lifestyle.”

*Cycle 614 is not affiliated with 614 Media Group.