In some of the colder parts of the United States, it's hard to get out and go for a ride, even when it's supposed to be spring. The cold weather, slick conditions, and busy times make it hard to get on your bike and out for a ride. For some, this calls for alternative methods of exercise; some take up swimming or running, while others decide on a group class to stay motivated. One class that seems like an obvious fit for many cyclists? Spinning.
We spoke with Chad Tolfree of the DannyShane team who has been teaching a spinning class for more than a decade! We were wondering, is spinning really the best direct training for cycling? Will it be full of younger people who will out race me? What if I hate the music?
How long have you been teaching spinning?
I've been teaching spinning for over 10 years but only in the Winter mostly to keep me in cycling shape but also for overall health. Spinning is a great workout that helps overall sports from basketball to track to cross country just to keep your legs in shape as well as making your Heart Rate go up and down using interval training.
Will spinning make you faster as a cyclist?
In my opinion Spinning won't make you faster cycling outside (you have to ride outside to do that) but it's a good base builder during the off season to keep those quads in good shape. I think Spinning can help Mountain biking more than road biking just because of the interval work - it’s hard to spin for 90 mins at one pace but mountain biking is interval work non stop and that's where spinning can help immensely. Cyclocross could be helped as well with all the heart rate work you get in spinning.
Who do you think should take a spinning class?
Overall fitness is what I think is the best you get from spinning-- you can get anyone in a spin class from a mom, dad, teenagers, grandparents--anyone just looking to get a great workout in with some great music.
How important do you think music is?
Music is the key.
You have people coming from all different backgrounds and its important to play music from all genres. If you can play music from Rihanna to Johnny Cash to Enrique Iglesias to Guns n Roses to Flo-Rida to Maroon 5 and that way people are hearing music they like but also some songs they may not listen to but enjoy spinning to them. The cool thing is when they hear the songs on the radio they instantly start thinking " I just heard this song in class & I worked my butt off during this song!"
What's your favorite song/music to spin to?
My favorite song to spin would be Hurt by Johnny Cash - at the gym where I teach that's the song that I am known for and people do my class just to hear that song! I use it for building pedal speed throughout the song and continue to pedal faster and faster until your sprinting at the end… it’s a blast!
What would you say to a cyclist who's never tried a spin class?
Trying a spin class is definitely worth it! You can use it to compete against other people in the class or compete against yourself. Spin classes can also be very difficult if you find the right instructor... they will push not only physically but also mentally to make yourself push harder.
Any final advice for someone headed to a spin class?
Come in ready to work and to get a great workout it in and make sure you bring a towel and a water bottle. Spinning can be for all walks of life people just need to try it... once people try it most seem to love it and wearing some DS gear can help them look good as well! (He says with a wink).