What do you do in your free time? Read books, listen to music, nap, binge-watch the latest Netflix shows, take up a new sport? For junior Madeline Arcaro, none of these hobbies really cut it for her.
Instead, if she isn’t studying at school or sleeping at home, there’s a 99% chance that she’s at CycleBar, a popular fitness center in Blue Back Square that specializes in spin classes.
In case you do not know what it is, a spin class is basically riding a stationary bike indoors for 30-60 minutes while focusing on endurance, strength, and intensity.
There’s always an instructor who yells out commands to the class for when to increase or decrease speed, resistance, or incline.
Having first started her spin class journey about nine months ago, Madeline said she never thought she’d get to the point where she is today. “Before my first class, I never thought I’d enjoy it,” she said. “Even though I felt like I was going to die, I loved it so much I went back the very next day and have been continuing the classes about three times a week,” she said.
Madeline is committed to her spin routine. “If I find myself with a lot of free time,” she said, “I will push myself to take even six classes a week, sometimes two or three in one day.”
Madeline’s dedication to cycling is so steadfast that she is hoping to become a spin class instructor.
She recently took a special test, and luckily for her, she passed!
Now that she is officially certified, Madeline said she is looking to find work at a spin center close by.
“I’m probably going to start teaching teen classes in the summertime and ideally, I’d like to keep it as a side job throughout college,” she explained.
“One day, I want to find a profession that I can balance with cycling somehow, although I don’t know what that would be yet.”
According to Madeline, there are various types of spin classes. The one that she usually takes and is planning on teaching is called rhythm riding.
“At CycleBar, these are typically 45 minutes long, and as the name says, you literally ride to the rhythm of the music playing in the room,” she said. “The instructor will tell you what to do the whole time, and if you want to maximize the benefits of your workout, you just have to listen.”
A typical spin class looks something like this: it starts with a warmup that consists of riding to the beat of two songs, then riding “in saddle” or “out of saddle” (which means standing up or sitting down), sprinting, climbing, lifting weights, cooling down, and ending with a final stretch.
Madeline said she recommends that everyone try spin classes at least once in their life.
“It’s a really good workout that isn’t super draining, and it works for many different types of people; for athletes, it helps with stamina and endurance while for non-athletes, it’s extremely beneficial and healthy in all aspects of your life,” she said.
“Who knows, once you try cycling out, you might end up liking it so much you’ll keep doing it, as I did!”
Even so, Madeline said she recognizes that there are those out there who prefer focusing on strength more than cardio, so cycling may not be the best option for them.
Additionally, serious athletes may not want to overdo their workouts so as not to injure or tire themselves.
For those who are interested in taking up spin classes, Madeline said there are a few steps to take before beginning a cycling workout. “First, for what you wear, I definitely would say to wear leggings. It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or a guy, leggings will just make the workout so much more comfortable than shorts,” she recommended. “Second, wear a loose tank top because you will be sweating a lot and you want to give yourself room to breathe.”
As for nourishment, she said to drink plenty of water before, during, and after the class. “Bring a lot of water to the class; I usually go through 32 ounces each time,” she said. “Cycling takes a lot of energy so it’s important to fuel your body both inside and outside of the class.”
She warned against going into a class with a full stomach. “Do not eat anything heavy right before the class,” she said. “If you need to, have a light snack, otherwise, you will get sick or throw up.”
Furthermore, Madeline said that mental preparation is also key to a successful workout.
“Go in with a positive attitude because it makes a big difference,” she said.
She explained that thinking about things other than cycling or constantly looking at the clock only brings misery instead of fun and enjoyment.
“If you have a good attitude and are still not enjoying the class, though, make sure to give your instructor some feedback and constructive criticism,” she said. “Tell them what you did and didn’t like because it goes a long way, and they might end up changing what they do.”
CycleBar is located at 55 Memorial Road, West Hartford, CT 06107 and is usually open 7 days a week (times and dates vary).
The spin center can be contacted at 860-206-6923 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feel free to reach out to Madeline for more information about cycling, contact CycleBar about schedules and pricing, or look up other spin classes near you.