The Fitness Trail: Get rolling on indoor group cycling

Jackie Wright
The Fitness Trail

If you have not had the opportunity to participate in an indoor group cycling program, now is the time to get the wheel rolling. If you are an outdoor cyclist, you will improve your outdoor riding performance by consistently attending indoor group cycling classes, particularly during inclement weather conditions, and if you are an indoor group cycling enthusiast, this is the time to take your skill sets on the indoor cycle and get out on a road or mountain bike to enjoy the great outdoors.

There are numerous benefits to indoor group cycling which will be discussed this week; however, here are a few guidelines to consider when locating a program. Make certain that the program is comprehensive, operated by certified, qualified/experienced indoor group cycling instructors/trainers and that the cycles are state-of-the-art and consistently well-maintained.

The goal of indoor group cycling is not to cycle out of control, dance on the bike or fail to utilize enough resistance to keep the activity safe and effective. The entire premise of indoor group cycling is to simulate, as closely as possible, an outdoor ride. So, the same principles are applied in terms of “gears” (i.e. resistance on the flywheel), cadence, terrain (i.e. flats/hills) and use of high intensity interval training (i.e. HIIT – sprints on the hills/accelerations on the flats). Therefore, chat with the program director and make certain you are entering a program that is structured with weekly goals, varied programming, consistent progression and periodization. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.


• Fantastic form of cardiovascular training, both steady state, HIIT and it is fun!

• No distractions such as weather, traffic and bugs. You are able to concentrate on honing your pedaling mechanics and body mechanics such as postural alignment as you ride avoiding elevated shoulders, head hanging down, locked elbows, etc.

• Due to cycling on your own bike, you are able to work at your own pace. Even though the trainer is motivating and coaching the participants to push as hard as possible at certain times during the ride, you determine what intensity will be appropriate for you.

• Performing power training, is a natural on the indoor group cycle and translates well to outdoor training. We perform HIIT consistently and just about every client who regularly attends the indoor group cycling program, is capable of performing some power training. *Some indoor group cycles, such as the Kaiser M3 have power meters tracking wattage.

• Tracking progress is also possible if you have a cycle that has a data screen (i.e. LeMond RevMasters have a Pilot that provides the rider with heart rate, rpms, distance covered, kcal expenditure and time). If you can track your progress, you can improve it.

• Despite the commonly held misconception that because many riders sweat profusely during these rides, only die-hard cyclists may participate, indoor group cycling accommodates a wide variety of fitness levels. And, the sweat dripping occurs because you are sitting on a bike, and sweat does not evaporate as it does outdoors since air is not moving across the skin. No problem — we wipe the sweat off with towels to dissipate the heat and drink plenty of water while riding to hydrate throughout the ride.

Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at , her email at, and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.

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