By Martin Carr | Person Trainer | Bannatyne Health Club Stepps
May 30, 2017
The apprehension… The other people looking… The uncertainty...
It’s completely natural to feel this wide range of emotions on your first ever trip to a fitness class. Anything that is foreign or alien is always going to be a challenge but the whole thing about fitness, health and well being is that it is supposed to be a challenge!
Remember it’s “You vs You”. The most satisfying competition one can enter into is is the challenge against the inner voice that has said time and time again that “you can’t do it“ or “it’s impossible”.
Prove that voice wrong.
So what are the pros? What are the cons? And what are the benefits and the disadvantages?
Well, the pros outway the cons and the benefits certainly outweigh the disadvantages. Despite being a Fitness Instructor and starting my journey 6 years ago, just attending a class felt intimidating and it's only recently that I've actually started to enjoy participating, teaching and coming up with new ideas for classes.
A quick introduction to Group Cycling
“Ok guys! Bums off the saddle! Mountain Climb in 3 … 2 … 1 …”
The main benefit for Group Cycling is the cardiovascular aspect, not only aerobic but also anaerobic as well (working with and without oxygen respectively). This means it improves your heart and lung health, making you a fitter person.
The great thing about using a spin-bike is the ‘make believe’ aspect of the exercise. Things like sprints, hill climbs and the various other training methods within the programme actually makes you think you are either in one of the bike races in the Tour De France or literally climbing a hill! An average class with a moderate to high intensity can burn up to and including 500 calories in a 30 min session. Pretty impressive!
Tips for setting up the bike:
Your seat should be at waist height giving you a slight bend in your knees.
Handle bars for beginners should be higher than your seat. This also helps for anybody who has back pain.
The point of your seat should be approximately the length between your elbow and your middle finger away from the handle bars.
Apart from the cardio & obvious benefits, Group Cycle can be used as part of a strength and conditioning programme. Increasing the resistance on your bike will recruit and develop more slow twitch muscle fibres, which in turn develops the muscular structure of your legs and glutes.
Legs … Bums … Tums
LBT as it is better known as is a fantastic class targeted at the female population. A disadvantage you could say of the class is that it focuses on 3 major muscle groups and not the entire body. However that is not to say that you could not use this class as part of a bigger whole body programme.
The reason why LBT is so popular, and rightly so, is that it does focus on specific muscle groups. People who go to this class know exactly what they're in for and know exactly what muscles they will be working. Instructed and coached properly, this class provides stability, mobility and flexibility in the three muscle groups. The intensity of the of the class can be chosen by the individual, using bodyweight or introducing weights or kettlebells.
Strong legs, bums and tums provide vital support for your pelvis and inner unit, which help stabilise your core and limbs. The class itself is great for women who have had children as it can help strengthen the pelvic floor (consult your doctor before participating in any physical activity after childbirth).
Done at the right intensity and effort, you can expect to still be burning calories up to 4/6 hours after this class!
Sample session for beginners:
Wide Squat (30 second work / 10 secs rest / 3 rounds) - Legs
Backwards lunge (20 secs work each leg / 10 sec rest / 3 rounds) - Bums
Front Plank (30 secs work / 15 secs rest / 3 rounds) - Tums
45 secs rest between exercises
Squat and lunge only to right angle at the knee
When doing plank keep your body as straight as possible.
High Intensity Interval Training
A low to moderate 45 min treadmill run burns on average 400 calories.
A 30 min HIIT session will witness at least a 500 calories burn!
Why is this? When you do moderate cardiovascular work your metabolism is partially at rest, but with HIIT training, it’s all about reaching your threshold and sustaining it. The great thing about a B:functional class is that a mix of bodyweight & equipment exercises are adopted in order to provide you with easy progression and regression, dependant on your ability/energy.
HIIT training can be used as part of a weight loss, conditioning or strength programme. It’s versatility makes it a winner, with scientific evidence supporting the claim that a 30 minute workout offers the same health benefits as that of an hour-long session.
Sample HIIT class approx (10 mins):
Jabs/punches 20 sec work / 10 sec rest / x6
30 sec rest
Knees to chest 20 sec work / 10 sec rest / x6
Press up 20 sec work / 10 sec rest / x6
Jacks 20 sec work / 10 sec rest / x6
So there you have it!
Three excellent classes that you have to try. There are an abundance of training options that either work the entire body or concentrate on specific muscle groups or specific metabolic pathways. The three mentioned above are great examples of this and can be used in nearly every training regime.
Remember, everything is a challenge to start with, but … Whatever your mind can believe, your body can achieve”
Your journey starts today …