The Best Ways to Ride Toward Your Get-Fit Resolutions

How to Set Yourself Up to Achieve Your Indoor Cycling Goals

Indoor cycling class
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Have you resolved to ratchet up your workouts or your indoor cycling regimen a few notches? This is the perfect time to kick your plan into high gear. Whether it’s the start of a new year, a new season, or a new month, make a vow here and now to put your best fitness intentions into action and become a stronger, fitter you. But don’t just wing it. If you want to get the most out of your indoor cycling workouts, here are six things to do, starting now:

Create an action plan. Consider: What’s the best time of day for you to take an indoor cycling class? How many times a week would you like to ride? Then, think about how you can make indoor cycling work with your schedule and map out a strategy for when and how often you’ll do it, whether it’s as part of a group or riding solo. Jot down these dates/times on your calendar as if they’re sacred appointments, which essentially they are for the sake of your health!

Maintain foresight. At the start of any new year, indoor cycling classes are packed. People often sign up for bikes days ahead of time or they elbow their way into a first-come-first-seated class before others can claim a bike. (Btw: Many of these people will be long gone by the time summer arrives but knowing that doesn’t help you, in the meantime.) To make sure you get a spot, reserve a bike ahead of time if possible or arrive to the class at least 15 minutes early.


Find the right motivation for you. When you start pedaling in an indoor cycling class, do you typically have a goal in mind? Or are you simply trying to get your sweat on or take a needed break from the stresses and strains of daily life? It’s wise to have a sense of intention, a goal in mind for an individual ride (perhaps burning 500 calories a session to help you lose weight) and/or for the long term (such as training for a long-distance outdoor ride).

Knowing what you’re working towards can help you stay motivated, spurring you to ride harder, maintain good form, and gain a sense of achievement when you reach a particular goal.

Find a focal point. There are many different ways to set training targets with indoor cycling: You could work toward being able to sustain a particular pace (RPM) or power output (as measured by watts) at a certain resistance for longer lengths of time. You could try to cover more and more distance (if you’re riding a bike that calculates distance) in each class. Or, if you have trouble doing a seated climb for more than one song, you could set a goal of being able to stick with a seated climb for two songs after, say, two weeks. Establish your target and go for it! The satisfaction you get when you hit it will keep you coming back for more.

Create contingency plans. If there’s one thing you can count on it’s that there will be bends and obstacles along the road to developing a new exercise regimen. That’s why your approach needs to be flexible.

When a barrier crops up (say, your cycling buddy gets sick or hurt) or you see that a particular strategy isn’t working (taking an indoor cycling class at noon just isn’t practical for you), you may need to revise your plan and find ways around it (like waking up an hour earlier to go to a class before work). Be willing to fine-tune your strategies, and you’ll increase your odds of sticking with your plan for the long haul.

Monitor your progress. Keeping a workout log—on paper, your computer, or an electronic activity monitor—helps you track what you’re doing and what the effects are. Research has found that self-monitoring is one of the strongest ways to successfully change health-related behavior because it keeps you accountable. Plus, as you stick with your plan over time, seeing a record of your progress can serve as positive reinforcement to keep up the great work.

Proof that this approach works: In a 2014 study, researchers from Drexel University investigated whether a program using a physical activity sensor to monitor behavior and an Internet platform to increase social connectivity would help midlife women adopt and maintain a regular aerobic exercise program. What they found is that after three months, the women doubled their weekly exercise time and they maintained the increase at the study’s six-month conclusion. That certainly qualifies as a resolution met and success at the finish line!

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