Worth the spin: Cycle class burns calories, increases endurance

  • Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 1:15 a.m.
    UPDATED: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 1:35 a.m.
Rainey McIntyre spins  during her workout in cycle with Matt at the Forum in Salisbury on Monday night.
Rainey McIntyre spins during her workout in cycle with Matt at the Forum in Salisbury on Monday night.

SALISBURY — It’s only taken four months worth of spinning for Don Bringle to lose 40 pounds.

The mayor of China Grove said he dropped the weight quickly when he started taking cycling classes at The Forum Fitness three to four times a week.

“It’s a very vigorous exercise, it works you,” he said. “It’s a high-calorie burn with tremendous results.”

Matt Marsh, co-owner of the gym and one of the spin instructors, said it’s those kinds of benefits that keep people coming back.

“They notice changes pretty quickly,” he said. “People don’t come back if they don’t see results.”

Marsh said it’s standard for cycle classes at the Forum to pack out with all 22 bikes filled up. That’s why additional classes have been added in recent years.

“It’s a very motivating and high-energy class, people are drawn that,” he said. “We’ve tried to meet the demand.”

The class kicks off with a 5 minute warm-up before the instructor kicks it into gear.

During Monday’s class, Marsh let the class know when it was time to take it up a notch by adding some resistance.

Marsh guided the class through each song, telling them to stand up on their bikes to imitate a jog, dip low with their torsos held straight or return to the seat with their chests hunched over the top of the bike in order to pedal as fast as possible.

“I want to see smoke coming from your wheel,” he said at one point.

Each class is different and includes an ever-changing sequence of music videos.

“I try to change it up,” Marsh said. “You’ve got to make it fun and keep people entertained.”

Marsh’s voice booms loudly over the videos as he yells out phrases like “Keeping pushing,” “Come on,” “Let’s go” and “Give me all you’ve got.”

But Marsh said people can take the class at their own pace.

“You control your bike, you control your tension,” he said. “I tell them to listen to their body and don’t do it if it feels uncomfortable, if they are just pedaling that’s fine.”

Marsh said he does push participants to challenge themselves.

“I like to see people take it up a notch,” he said. “If you’re in there, I want to make sure that you get the best workout.”

Marsh said he models his classes after Metabolic Effect, a rest-based workout, by getting participants to push as hard as they can before taking a short break.

The results

People can burn between 600 and 650 calories during a single spin class, Marsh said.

“That’s a pretty good return on your time,” said Pam Holt, a Salisbury resident who has been taking the class for six months.

Holt said she primarily attends the class for stress relief, but she’s seen a change in her body.

“I’ve lost weight and everything is toning up,” she said.

Holt took up spinning after having issues with her knees during another aerobics class.

“I went a couple of times and well, you see how soaked I am,” she said after Monday’s class. “It’s the only class I’ve ever taken that I’ve worked this hard.”

Holt said people should try the class several times because it can be a bit daunting the first time around.

“If you don’t make the adjustments on the bike you can still get a pretty good workout, but it won’t be quite as tough,” she said. “That way, you can see if it works for you.”

Bringle said he did everything from the treadmill to elliptical machine before he started taking spinning class.

“I get the best results from this,” he said.

Bringle said after having a light heart attack several years ago, he had three stints inserted, causing him to gain weight.

When he started back at the gym, he found cycling to be the perfect amount of intensity.

“You work until you get tired and then you let off,” he said.

After his first class, Bringle said he wasn’t sure if he could do it again because it was so tough.

“But I was determined to because it’s good cardio,” he said.

Marsh said from a cardiovascular standpoint, your “endurance improves tremendously” during spin.

“The first couple of classes you aren’t going to be great, but you’ll gradually see your endurance improve,” he said.

Marsh said the class is good for those looking to lose weigh because participants stay at their target heart rate, where the body metabolizes fat for energy.

“You pretty much get rid of a lot of simple carbs starting off,” he said.

My turn

I immediately felt claustrophobic when I walked into the spin class, but after I got situated on my bike I realized the packed room actually bonded the participants.

Throughout the class, Bringle gave me pointers and helped me keep track of what I should do next.

I’m glad I took Marsh’s advice to bring a towel because after spending just 10 minutes on the bike, I was drenched in sweat.

The pace of the class was excellent. Although it lasted 45 minutes, it seemed to go by much more quickly.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I was pleased to find that we didn’t simply sit in place and pedal the whole time. The varying routine made it more enjoyable.

My legs were aching the next day, but overall I felt energized.

Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.

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