Spin VS Intervals

As I was opening the shop this morning I had a customer pop in to ask about my interval classes, as usual the question lead to “are intervals better than spin”.  So i decided to blog my answer to help you decide what your winter workouts are gonna look like.

I know convenience is a factor in choosing your training regiment and spin classes are very easy to do, you show up, towel and cycling shoes in hand, ride and sweat, and go home feeling accomplished.  I get it.  But there is a reason intervals on your own bike, that fits you perfectly, are gaining steam in popularity.  They work better. They make you stronger and faster in a short period of time.  Above all though they are structured, improving your fitness for spring using efforts that overlap between disciplines, allowing a rider to improve.

In my mind it is a pretty clear distinction between the two types of workout but I quickly realized through some internet searching, that most people think that a spin class can give you the fitness, form and function of an interval class.  This is just simply not the case.  Not to get too technical but any type of HIIT (high intensity interval training) is proven by the experts to isolate muscle better and improve your fitness faster than any other type of training.  I have known this since the 80s and hence I developed a unique program to keep my riders, and myself, on form with improved fitness during the off-season.

Another thing that causes me strife is the concept that sweating = working out hard = better fitness.  Many riders that participate in spin classes instead of intervals swear this to be true.  I feel this is not the case.  If you turn a fan on a rider indoors and their core temperature drops a few degrees does that mean he or she isn’t working as hard as the rest of riders in the room?  It’s the same workout, only now instead of dripping sweat and expending energy to keep cool, that rider can now use that energy to perform better and focus more on each effort.  By the way, we have a fan per person in my classes just for that purpose.

And finally equipment.  Spin class uses a universal adjustable bike that must be changed to fit the rider, every time he or she rides, and it has a resistance dial that is not measurable therefore you never really know if the effort you are doing is at the same resistance every time you do it.  Wait a tic, don’t you have a bike at home that is already perfectly set up for you? That is capable of shifting gears such that you could actually repeat an effort, in the same gear, every time?  Yeah, the bike in the corner of the basement collecting dust, waiting for next season’s adventures can do that. Throw that on a trainer and you are good to go.

I do have one more point, just like spin class, anyone with a small amount of cycling experience can do my intermediate interval classes, all levels of fitness take part, and everyone that takes my class feel the benefits within a short 3 weeks, even the ones only doing it once a week.  That is a bit crazy to think about….

As soon as the snow hits the ground many cyclists begin an indoor winter training regiment of some kind.  Join us and see the benefits of structured interval training, get stronger, faster, better.  Learn about your fit and your form.  Small classes yield the best results and we have a maximum of 7 people in each class.

Email us with any questions.

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