What's with Dubai's indoor cycling obsession?
‘Spinning class’ - a common and widely used term for an indoor group cycling class. You might have tried it once, hated it, never returned and stereotyped those who attend. Did you notice that most of the women in your office are dashing to a cycling class after work? Or perhaps you belong to those highly addicted to this high-intensity adrenalin-rushing and time-efficient cardio workout, having discovered it is indeed hard, if executed correctly.
The indoor cycling phenomenon continues to grow and boutique studios are popping up in close proximity, forcing them to keep up with the demands of the data and entertainment hungry City-gym goers. In fact, gone are the days where the actual cycling workout yields sufficient fulfilment.
Nowadays, immersive virtual gaming-like technology, laser lighting displays, live DJs and leader boards are taking over to entertain and attract a demanding audience.
You can find anything from global industry market leaders with strong brand presence such as Les Mills RPM, Flywheel and SoulCycle, to the independent neighbourhood studio with their own personality and concept. The current trends are obvious; entertaining feel-good rhythm-based classes led by Hollywood-like performers, often in darkened rooms creating a night club ambience.
But with the focus on entertainment and non-cycling specific movements on the bike, are we losing touch with safety, effective workouts and actual results? Are instructors trained to design a class with effective structure and deliver goal focused intensities? Are resistances and pedaling speeds realistic and recruiting muscle fibres to yield strength results? Can we measure our progress? Are we progressing at all? Are instructors qualified, knowledgeable and able to educate? Do they pay personal attention to you and care for your individual fitness journey?
Bottom line, is there any quality in your cycling class? Or is the entertainment factor in actual fact hiding a lack of quality? Are you being ‘taken for a ride’?
The foundation for any group exercise class, surely, has to be a safe and effective workout, with entertainment layered on top. Studios and instructors hold this responsibility while the audience blindly hand over their trust.
It is indeed possible to create classes that are both training effective and entertaining. At a boutique studio Dubai Marina, the cycling classes are based on power, real power, measured in watts.
Progress is tracked and once each rider’s personal power data is in the system (calculated by technology), the workout essentially turns into a personal training session. With complementing interactive technology, real-time performance data, music, lights and all the rest of the standard indoor cycling arrangement, the winning formula for a high quality, meaningful, effective and entertaining workout is born.
With Dubai’s wide range of indoor cycling concepts, you are likely to find the style of studio that resonates with your personality or goals, anything from dancing on the bike to a solid measurable workout. There is a cycling concept out there for everyone. The choice is yours.
Helle Bachofen von Echt is the indoor cycling head coach at NRG Fitness - and competitive endurance and ultra cyclist.