Outdoor and Indoor Cycling
In case you like to have light exercise and enjoy the weather, outdoor cycling is the thing for you, but in case you like to have a heavy and sweaty exercise – indoor cycling will do the magic.
Outdoor cycling has many advantages, as you’ll get the chance to enjoy the ride whether in the park, through the woods or by the river.
Cycling meditation is something you need to try out sometimes. It really works wonders and it brings a piece of mind.
In case you are very active “yang” person, and you need to release your enormous energy out – try indoor cycling. You can always modify the speed and harden the process to get the best results.
But the question here is : will indoor cycling make you fit as you would like you to be?
If you have chosen to do indoor cycling for exercising, you should know it can be really tough.
Because only after 1 h of pedaling at high speed, you’ll probably leave a pool of sweat on the floor under your bike.
Core: No. This workout doesn’t target your core.
Arms: No. This workout doesn’t target your arms.
Legs: Yes. Expect nonstop leg work. Your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves will feel the burn.
Glutes: Yes. All that pedaling will engage your glutes.
Back: No. This workout doesn’t target your back muscles
Flexibility: No. This workout doesn’t focus on flexibility.
Aerobic: Yes. Your heart rate will stay elevated throughout this super-charged cardio workout.
Strength: Yes. All that pedaling will boost your muscle strength and endurance.
Low-Impact: Yes. There’s no pounding when you’re spinning. Your hip, knee, and ankle joints will be treated gently(source)
Nowadays, indoor cycling seems to gain more popularity than ever. Small and so-called ”Boutique” indoor cycling studios are appearing almost at every corner, full of people eager to burn fat and improve their fitness skills.
Those classes are fun, and the routines can easily lead to the assumption that participants are getting a great workout session.
But is it the case?
1.Indoor Cycling vs Jogging
Joggers perceive their activity as the holy grail of weight loss, and that’s why you may see lot of people jogging along the streets (or parks) in the morning or after work.
Fact: Indoor cycling produces similar effects in the body as jogging. They are both aerobic activities.
Our body uses oxygen to create a source of energy for long-duration, moderate activity. As you cycle for 60 minutes, your body burns calories keeping your legs in motion just the same as jogging.
And yes, it is possible to lose some fat, but only if the number of calories you burn during the day(including indoor cycling), is more than the number you consume.
You should know that many factors influence this, such as:
- your resting metabolic rate
- your daily activity
- the intensity of your cycling class
- your diet
Unfortunately, the weight-loss benefits stop here.
Once you finish your indoor cycling class, your body no longer burns calories.
While cycling, you may sweat a lot during the class, but it doesn’t mean you are working at the intensity level you need for additional calorie burn.
Have you heard of Tabata Interval Training Program?
Tabata training, pioneered by Dr. Izumi Tabata and other researchers at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, promises incredible health and performance benefits:
Simultaneous improvements in anaerobic and aerobic conditioning in only 14 minutes!
It seems too good to be true.
Tabata training was first used by the Japanese National Speed Skating team and reported in a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise in 1996.
It’s a form of high intensity interval training [HIIT], a regimen in which you perform intervals of high-intensity exercise, each followed by a set amount of rest.
The Tabata interval program is performed four days a week in accordance with the following protocol:
- 10-minute warm-up at 50% max effort
- 20 seconds max effort
- 10 seconds rest
- Repeat 2:1 cycle eight times
Essentially, Tabata training simultaneously develops the ability to sustain explosive bursts of strength and speed along with endurance for prolonged exercises like running or rowing.
Tabata is effective, saves time, and leaving you more time for strength training or practicing other sports skills.
And the benefits are tremendous as they:
- obliterate fat
- increase aerobic and anaerobic endurance
- maximize efficiency
So, if you like to get more fit and burn more fat, you’ll need more than just indoor cycling.
Source: Popsugar Fitness
2. You Won’t Get Your Muscles Built
When you first start indoor cycling, you may see some initial improvement, especially if you are not much of a workout person.
After about two weeks, your body will get adapted, and you won’t add any muscle mass whatsoever.
But, if you decide to gain more muscle mass by doing so, you’ll burn more calories and more results you’ll get.
Only with cycling, you won’t get more muscle mass.
Cycling never makes your body gain lean body mass, and that IS the thing that burns fat.
At the end of the day, metabolism isn’t improved only by riding a bike.
You may experience burning sensations in your legs during indoor cycling class, but that’s not causing muscle growth.
Of course it might hurt a little bit, but you can do it over and over again, because you’re working against minimal resistance.
What does your body needs?
The body needs to create force and overcome stress in order to adapt and create muscle.
For example, you might do three sets of 10 reps of a strength exercise using a challenging weight.
This is the simplest way to create lean muscle mass, which is the true measure for fat loss. If lean mass increases, they will burn more calories during the day (source)
3. You Won’t Progress With Indoor Cycling
The key that every workout program becomes successful is – progression.
As you will get stronger and more fit, the difficulty of workout must increase. The best example for this is when you gradually increase the amount of weight you lift in one single exercise.
No one wants to lift the same weight over and over again. Your body needs to be challenged all the time.
Indoor cycling along with 15-20 people in a room, isn’t gonna offer you any individual progression.
The coach almost always takes the group through a routine steady rides.
While it can be quite challenging, no attention is paid to your individual needs and progress. When you are in such class, you are not following your own goals, but you follow the group goals.
Indoor cycling relies only on adjusting the bike’s resistance, which isn’t the case when you add weight to a strength exercise.
You need a coach to check if you’re actually increasing the resistance.
4. Cycling and Acceleration Of Common Injuries
Sitting down too much creates tight hip flexors, poor posture and ultimately, back pain. Rather than correcting these problems, cycling actually accelerates them.
When you cycle, you are actually sitting again. Does it make any sense to sit more if somebody has such problems?
It certainly doesn’t.
Cycling does involve an extension of the knee and hip, but not through a complete range of motion. It’s purely a lower-body movement, which is why you feel your quads burning.
This means, you’re not getting the complete workout you need to strengthen and maintain your body.
People have goals to lose fat and improve their core and posture, and sitting down again for a workout after you sit down all day is not the best choice for anyone.
Instead, it’s better to perform strength exercises through a full range of motion to develop strength, improve mobility and correct postural imbalances.
Should You Never Do It?
A lot of people enjoy indoor cycling, and that’s OK. Some of you may have even seen solid results with indoor cycling.
When it all comes down to it, you need to find what works best for you.
However, we encourage you to use indoor cycling as a supplement to a workout program, not as the primary focus.
Doing three to four intense strength workouts each week before considering extra endurance work like indoor cycling is sufficient.
When combined with strength training, indoor cycling may give you that extra calorie burn you need to accelerate fat loss.
Good combo program is all you need.
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