Pedal Power

Pedal Power

Ahead of the Club’s Fitness Fair this month, two Club Members explain the health benefits of taking a bike for a spin indoors.

Christina Siegel tightens the laces on her new cycling shoes before clipping them on the bike’s pedals. Adjusting the settings on the Life Fitness stationary bike, the doctor begins a 60-minute workout overlooking the fall foliage through the floor-to-ceiling windows of The Studio.

“[Indoor cycling] is an all-out aerobic workout and strength training for the lower body,” says Siegel, 41. “But people come back for the music.”

A native of Ireland, Siegel teaches the Club’s Classic Spin class. She first took up indoor cycling 13 years ago while living in Santa Barbara, where she trained with the South African founder of Spinning, the trademarked indoor cycling regimen. “He’s real high energy and attracts high energy,” she says of Johnny Goldberg.

Goldberg, a competitive endurance cyclist, invented the workout in 1987, when he added a weighted flywheel to an exercise bike to simulate road racing. In a typical class, the instructor leads participants through a variety of “terrain” by changing the tempo of the ride.

“People like it because they get all their [cardio] in one spot,” says Siegel, adding that students are able to adjust flywheel resistance to match their abilities. “You can get more done in less time.”

The mother of eight says the low-impact nature of the exercise, similar to swimming, allowed her to continue training throughout pregnancy.

The Spinning trend reached its zenith in the 1990s, but indoor cycling has experienced something of a resurgence in recent years due to trendy indoor cycling chains in New York and Los Angeles and celebrity endorsements.

Member and experienced personal trainer Alyson Jenkins, who became a certified Spinning instructor last summer, incorporates weight training in her Spin Theory group fitness class at the Club, while students in her Spin 45 class typically burn more than 500 calories in 45 minutes.

“High-intensity interval training constantly challenges your body in a new way, forcing your body and your heart rate to try to adapt to new movements, timing and stress,” says Jenkins, 38. “It sounds intense, and it is.”

Jenkins says she was drawn to indoor cycling not only for the obvious health benefits, but also because it allows her to exercise in a group while maintaining her own space. She particularly enjoys building a new soundtrack for each class.

“When you’re rocking out to amazing music, surrounded by people all pushing to better themselves, Spinning feels equally like a dance floor where no one is watching,” she says. “And like a race you know you can win.”

Fitness Fair: Jan 14

Words: Nick Narigon
Image: Enrique Balducci