March 2012

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live on the move In High Gear Spinning into shape at a cycling class By Meagan Parrish Th ey say you never forget how to ride a bike, even if you haven't climbed onto one for decades. And while that may be true, there's still plenty to rediscover about this popular pastime—especially if you want to pedal yourself into shape. Exhibit A: a cycling class. Th ese days it's a popular workout for gym-goers enticed by a butt-kicking alternative to choreo- graphed group fi tness classes. And on a recent afternoon, I was in the mix with them, mounting a slick stationary bike at Pinnacle Health and Fitness in Fitchburg. To get me started, our upbeat instructor, John Montzingo, demonstrated the basics: how to fi t the seat and handlebars to the right height, which reduces strain on the legs and back, and how to adjust our resistance, making the ride either more grueling or more like coast- ing down a hill. With that, we were off. Pedal- ing slowly at fi rst while adding a few upper body stretches, we warmed up in a hurry. Follow- ing Montzingo's lead, we started to climb our fi rst "hill," pedaling faster and upping the resistance. While it began to sink in that this Where to go: In addition to classes at Pinnacle Health and Fitness, spinning is offered at a host of gyms including Princeton Club, Gold's Gym and more. More serious cyclers will want to make note of Speed Cycling in Madison, which offers an extensive training program and indoor classes on your own bike. whole experience would be lacking in the scenery you get outside, Montzingo's mo- tivating words and uplifting music were enough to keep our legs pumping. Besides, there are plenty of benefi ts to cycling in the great indoors—no helmet hair, you can't fall off, and you can't crash into things! (Like cars. Ouch.) Of course, there are all those fi tness ben- efi ts, too. As Montzingo eased us into a The Dish on Cycling What to wear: Bike shorts! If spandex isn't your thing, slip your preferred bottoms over bike shorts that have built-in padding on the bottom. No really. Your butt will thank you. Who will love it: If you're a cyclist in this summer, this is a no-brainer for off-season exercising. If you're a beginner, spinning is great for those wanting an intense but easy-to-learn workout. What keeps it interesting: Classes vary from focusing on cardio endur- ance (long stretches at a consistent speed) to strength training (pedaling at a higher resistance to target the legs) and more. Your body on cycling: In any cycling class you'll strengthen your lower body, boost your cardio endurance and burn tons of calories. Thanks to the resistance knob, you can always take it at your own pace. pace that kept us breathing hard, I predict- ed the cardio aspect would be my greatest challenge. But it was keeping my legs going that proved the most diffi cult part. Luck- ily, my little resistance knob (which had become my new best friend) let me take it down a notch every time my lower body started to scream. Before I knew it, the hour was over. Th ough my exhausted legs wobbled as my feet reconnected with the ground, I made my way out feeling that I'd do it all over again, now that I've rediscovered all the fun and fi tness that can be had on a bike. 16 BRAVA Magazine March 2012 Photo by Bridget Krueger

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