6 Common Myths About Indoor Cycling

Myth: You’ll burn more body fat if you ride on an empty stomach.

Using the spin machines at the gym
yellowdog/Cultura/Getty Images

That’s just an outright lie. What is likely to happen is your energy will sag part way through the ride, due to low blood sugar, and you won’t work as hard. This means you’re not likely to burn as many calories as you would have if you’d pushed yourself hard all the way. So be sure to fuel up before an indoor cycling session by having a small snack—such as a small banana or a handful of whole-grain cereal—at the very least. 

Myth: Indoor cycling is just aerobics on a bike without real benefits.

On the contrary, indoor cycling offers some strength-training and bone-building benefits in addition to all the cardio perks. It has been found to improve balance and coordination. And if you’re an outdoor cyclist, indoor cycling offers an opportunity to enhance your technique and performance: It can help you refine your pedal strokes, and improve your leg speed, muscular endurance, and power.

Myth: Your bum will never get used to it.

Oh, yes, it will! While saddle soreness is a common post-workout complaint when you first start indoor cycling, it often goes away as your thigh muscles get stronger and prevent you from sinking into the seat as deeply. In the meantime, wearing padded shorts, avoiding bouncing in the saddle, and making sure your seat is positioned properly will help minimize bum complaints.

Myth: It’s only for the young and super fit.

Wrong on both counts! One of the beauties of indoor cycling is that anyone can do it. It’s just like riding the bike, without the steering and balance challenges, so there isn’t a learning curve to it. And because it isn’t a weight-bearing form of exercise when you’re riding seated, it’s easy on the joints. But it will help you get and stay fit if you’re not already in that camp.

Myth: People with bad knees can’t do it.

There’s a common misconception that indoor cycling is hard on your knees and an absolute no-no for those with balky knees. But that’s not true. For one thing, cycling isn’t a weight-bearing activity so it doesn’t place strain on your knees and other joints. And it can strengthen your quads, calves, and hamstrings, which will help protect your knees. The keys to doing indoor cycling safely are to keep your knees aligned with your hips and feet when you’re pedaling in both a seated and standing position and to avoid dangerous moves on the bike such as super-fast jumps, as well as squats and thrusts over the saddle.

Myth: You can eat whatever you want after indoor cycling.

It’s true that indoor cycling is a high-intensity form of exercise that can torch 400 to 600 calories in 45 minutes. That’s a huge payoff! The problem is: Some people think this means they can eat whatever they want and still lose weight—and that’s just not the case. Think about it: It’s pretty easy to recoup that calorie-burn by eating a large piece of chocolate fudge cake or a big piece of pecan pie. So if you’re trying to lose weight, you need to pay attention to how many calories you consume as well as how many calories your burn. In other words, eat smart after cycling!

Continue Reading