Think high intensity training meets insane nightclub. That’s spinning. Or my 6 minute fat blasting workout. Sounds like a hardcore combo for melting fat off your stomach fast, right? This workout craze doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
This highly addictive style of interval training has become more than just a workout – it’s an obsession. All you have to do is show up ready to sweat, party and kick butt. Spinning is so popular in fact, the small boutique studios require you to sign up online in advance. Apparently, at particular studios in New York signing up is more difficult than the spinning class itself. Ha!
There is no doubt spinning is an intense 45 minute fat blasting workout, but how effective is it really for fat loss?
We’ll get to that in a minute. I’ve been to plenty of spinning classes in my time, all over the city and the world. From spinning classes in small studio loft space with only a fan blowing (of course in the middle of summer) to brand new, chic looking NY boutique studios that will do anything for you but workout, I’ve tested a wide variety.
Earlier this month, I took a spin class after a long hiatus. I was supposed to do an interval workout down at the track, however ice was pouring out of the sky (yes, that’s officially called “icing”. Not friendly running weather).
As I casually strolled to the class with ice pelting me in the head, the onslaught of chaos inside was overwhelming. Organized chaos. Small space, insane number of people but everyone knew where they were going – except good ol’ me.
Dazed and confused.
Ah, another day in NYC paradise
Anyway, does it get you fast fat loss results?
Does Spinning Accelerate Fat Loss?
This question always pops up with clients and friends. “Jane just lost 10 pounds, and all she did was spinning classes. Is spinning THE fat loss miracle we’ve been waiting for?”
Hahaha absolutely… not. <== Sarcasm
Listen, you must put the effort in, no matter what type of training you do. It’s called high intensity for a reason. I don’t believe any exercise is bad for you, spinning included, but the most important thing is that you “bring it”. Intensity.
Scientific research studies prove spinning is an effective form of burning fat. I know this because I was involved in the clinical studies at UNSW that proved high intensity spinning was more effective for fat loss than traditional, moderate intensity spinning. So there is no way to deny that spinning will help you lose more fat in less workout time.
But is this training protocol from the research (8s sprint, 12s recovery for 20 minutes) practical and replicable in the real world of spinning?
That is debatable.
I vote no.
This is the thing.
Despite overwhelming scientific evidence supporting spinning for effective fat loss, whether or not YOU get a good workout in a spinning class is totally dependent on the instructor.
And that is where the problems begin my friend…
Problems with Spinning
From my recent spinning adventure, the latest version is interesting to say the least. Does spinning today have anything in common with cycling, apart from sitting on a bike? It has become more about dancing, lifting tiny weights and less about cycling with proper form.
Problem #1: Bulky Quads
Will you get bulky quads and legs from spinning? No, I seriously doubt it. But I guarantee your thighs will get big from eating junk after the class.
Enter the evil hunger factor. With increased volume and intensity of aerobic training like this, you get insanely hungry. Doesn’t matter if you really burn 800 calories or not, spinning is NOT a free pass to eat whatever you want. (Yes, I made that horrible mistake too).
Problem #2: Skinny Fat
Training at this intensity increases the release of cortisol (aka the stress hormone) that will not only eat away at fat stores, but also your lean muscle tissue. With time and over training, the “flat butt meets skinny fat” look will take effect. Not my thing.
Please, why would you want to lift light weights on a bike? Get your butt into the gym and lift real weights. No gym? No excuses people. Bodyweight training is super effective for accelerating fat loss and you can do this anywhere.
Problem #3: Sweat Central
Sweaty bikes. Sweaty people. I have to admit: when I train I go hard, so naturally I sweat and my lungs burn. That’s how I know I’m working. Spinning classes confuse my body, and not in the trademarked “muscle confusion” way.
It’s more like a sauna. No matter how much AC is pumping, I find myself sweating profusely even just warming up. Worse still, the guy on the bike next to me is already creating the puddle effect. Let me tell you, I’m not a girly girl. I don’t have any issue with sweating up a storm while training, but guys elbow bumping and sweating all over me is simply disgusting.
Problem #4: Overuse Injuries
Do you sit at a desk all day? Chances are your hip flexors are already super tight. Pumping out 3-7 spinning classes a week exclusively is a classic set up for overtraining and overuse injuries. Being in chronic pain and having overly rounded shoulders is not cool.
The Importance of Variety
The biggest problem is when spinning becomes your ONLY form of exercise. Like everything in your life, variety is essential.
No variation = big mistake.
Running, spinning, weight lifting, yoga – whatever your obsession you need variation. Even while lifting light weights on a spinning bike, you can’t deny the fact this is a non-weight bearing exercise and you STILL need to do resistance training. This is where the obsessed spinning crew slip up.
Why I Quit Spinning
This is how we broke up… It went something like this… “It’s not you spinning bike, it’s me…I’ve been seeing someone else.”
I discovered a more efficient way that saved time and the drama.
Metabolic resistance training is simply a better way to build an athletic body.
If you already love to train hard, metabolic resistance training is going to rock your world. It’s a cool new way to get an intense kick ass workout and burn a ton of fat in half the time. Plus you don’t have to wait in line or fight over spinning bikes.
Ready to try it?
This is the bottom line, fanatics: whether you’re obsessed with spinning, running or any other cardio workout, make sure you incorporate strength training into your program.
Give MRT a shot. It will blow your mind!