As a long-time road cyclist I have never been a fan of indoor cycling; I am a true believer that cycling is an outdoor sport.
To begin with, cycling indoors requires no observation or judgment. You don't have to look out for cars or pedestrians and of course you don't have to worry about losing your balance or crashing your bike while making a sharp turn.
At first I wasn't sure what to expect from Torq Cycle. But after a month of working with the trainers there, I had a whole new outlook on fitness and indoor cycling.
Many trainers have told me that spin class is not just a challenge for the body but also for the mind.
I may be on a stationery bike, but I still have to concentrate to find my rhythm. The instructor tells me when to turn up the intensity and when to increase the rounds per minute, so I need to adjust to different paces throughout the ride.
Tina Gilbert, instructor at Torq Cycle, says spinning is a total-body workout that is one of the best ways to improve cardiovascular fitness. For a rookie like me, I often felt soreness in my quadriceps (the big muscles in my thighs) after class. In fact, they were so sore it was hard to walk down a flight of stairs.
Gilbert explained that I might have been focusing too much on my quads, instead of using my glutes (bum muscles), hamstrings (the muscles that run down the back of my thighs), and my core effectively.
"Spin class is a full body workout; you have to position yourself correctly on the bike so that you have correct biomechanics and avoid injury. Riders must ride safely and comfortably to have an effective workout. You have to engage your core to avoid straining your lower back," she says.
It can get boring sticking with just one workout, so Torq Studio combines strength training alongside the cycling.
One of the off-bike workouts I tried was Torq Core, which was a 20-minute ride on the bike followed by 20 minutes of core-strengthening floor exercises. "It's important to have a strong core," says Gilbert.
The final results
When the one-month workout came to an end, it was time to look at the report card. I compared the before and after numbers of my Tanita body scans to see how I'd done.
The scan showed that I'd dropped fat in my legs, but my upper body hadn't changed much. This makes sense, as the exercises were focused on my lower body. I didn't really work my arms or upper body. Next time I'll focus more on building muscle, since I don't have much fat to lose in the first place.