Indoor Cycling: A Growing Trend with Serious Benefits

Aug 09, 2013

Written by: Paul Hodges, General Manager, O2 Fitness-Cary

Here at O2 Fitness, we offer a wide variety of classes, ranging from the high intensity lifting of Body Pump, to the tranquil, flowing movements of yoga. However, many O2 Fitness members, who might not have engaged in many of these popular group exercise programs, tend to be a little weary of starting in a "new direction."

We worry about coordination, flexibility, or even the appearance of "what am I going to look like while doing this?" However, RPM and O2 Ride, are two of the group exercise classes that can bring about the biggest change in our cardiovascular workouts, while still offering the simplest, low impact movements of pedaling.

So what is the difference between RPM and O2 Ride?

Both of these two distinctive classes are performed on a stationary bike, all while being led to music by a certified instructor.


RPM, a "Les Mills" licensed class, takes the participants through a simulated tour of speed racing, hills, mountains, and flat roads, all in the motion, beat, and range of the music played.

During the class, you set your own pace, meaning your workout is as easy or as hard as you make it, just by turning the resistance knob at the center of the bike. RPM's format stays consistent over the course of its 45 minute workout time frame.

Every time you go into the class, you are given a general set of tracks (a total of 9) that warm up the body, increase your speed, level out your resistance, and a track that allows you to recover with a stretching stage at the end. This class is great for those who prefer a more consistent workout.

O2 Ride...

O2 Ride, much like RPM, allows its participants to follow a closely choreographed workout with a light warm up, followed by intense speed racing in combination with fast intervals and climbs.

O2 Ride's time frame is slightly longer in length (a 1 hour format) and the program can change on a daily basis. This means that an instructor can focus primarily on a full hour of sprints, racing inside the saddle, or high levels of climbs, where the overall objective is to set the resistance and gradually increasing it over the course of the hour.

How can these classes benefit you, the participant?

Both RPM and O2 Ride provide the moderate intensity exercise, that is recommended by American Heart Association (AHA). For healthy adults, ages 18-65, it is strongly encouraged to get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, five days a week. Cycling of any kind, is one of the activities the AHA suggests for improving your cardiovascular health.

This type of low-impact aerobic exercise is not only considered highly effective when done regularly, but also is gentle on the back. This is because many people prefer to stay seated, which takes the weight off of their bodies. In addition, cycling increases production of endorphins, the body's natural pain killer, which may help eliminate a person's need for medication if he has chronic back pain.

Are you looking for a great way to tone and build strength in your lower body?

For those who are looking to tone their lower body, cycling is an effective exercise for building and toning lower body strength, particularly in the calves, buttocks and quadriceps, and the muscle tendons. It's especially beneficial if you want a cardiovascular workout that will improve your legs without any type of weight bearing exercises.

What if you are an individual who walks for your exercise?

Mix it up by integrating these indoor cycling programs for a change. Not only will you improve your coordination and prevent injuries when you walk, but it will also prevent your legs from becoming too tired, as well strengthen your core, leading to better posture when you walk.

Do you count your consumption of calories?

If you are one of those individuals who counts their consumption of calories with their calorie burn, cycling is a highly effective activity just for that reason. The average calorie burn rate for an RPM or O2 Ride class ranges between 600-675 calories per class.

So, next time you come into the club, opt for O2 Fitness' cycling programs, rather than the traditional treadmill or plate loaded machines. Keep in mind that these class formats are offered almost everyday of the week, at almost every club. Just make sure you sign up between 15-30 minutes before the class starts, so that you are guaranteed a bike. Your body, especially your legs, will thank you generously!

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