Indoor Cycling: Treasure or Trend?

Exercise enthusiasts can’t stop talking about indoor cycling. Places such as Soulcycle and Flywheel are offering high end spin classes that they not only claim is an incredible workout, but an overall outstanding self-bettering experience. However, while I am a health-conscious individual, I am skeptical as to whether $25-$30 per class is really worth the trend. Do indoor cycling classes live up to their hype?


In my personal workout experience, I love to attend spin classes. The music is motivating and upbeat, and it’s fun to imagine climbing and sprinting like it’s a real-life bike ride. I always leave a spin class sweating, which leads me to believe that it’s a great workout! Luckily, this American College of Sports Medicine article justifies my assumption. The article explains how the cardiovascular activity generated during indoor cycling is not only advantageous to your heart by reducing the risk of heart conditions and high blood pressure, but also strengthens your muscles, raises your endurance, and protects your joints. In terms of calorie burning, spinning is an incredible medium. As mentioned in the above ACSM article, discovered that the average 45 minute spin class has the potential to burn between 400-600 calories. However, I somewhat am doubtful of this statistic, as today I took a 45 minute indoor cycling class at the IM building where I only burned around 300 calories. Maybe I just have to work harder to reap the physical benefits of my exercise!

In addition to physical rewards, indoor cycling also enhancspinningclass_2-300x264es mental health. “The Brain Science of Biking,” an article by Shape, discusses how the act of cycling increases the “white matter,” or the tissue that is responsible for linking the various entities of your brain so that they can better communicate. Furthermore, cycling generates a protein that is tied to memorization and stress levels called brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This amplified memorization as a result of spinning was also found in a study done by the University of Illinois, which concludes that regularly cycling increases the hippocampus, or the part of the brain specializing in cognitive recollection, by 2%.
19thneon_originalTherefore, spinning is beneficial from both a physical and mental perspective according to science.
Of course, all of these profits from the act of indoor cycling will vary by individual. For instance, one’s level of fitness, capability to spin with the right form, and their mental status prior to class. This explains why many people that I have questioned about the value of indoor cycling claim that a spin class is only as good as the instructor. This article addresses this downfall of indoor cycling, saying how failure to think and perform in a distinct way while cycling short-sells people of the potential benefits. Furthermore, another skepticism is the fact that spinning is not the only exercise that burns calories or aids memorization, so what makes it so special? This Business Insider article proposes that a potential answer to this question is the luxurious community appeal that places like SoulCycle and Flywheel use to attract their customers. These facilities utilize their high end reputation and strong branding to manipulate the consumer opinion that the workout will reward him or her beyond the capabilities of a traditional gym. They imply that cyclers will be a part of an elite and trendy community, and go through a one of a kind self-betterment process. Therefore, the upscale and fashion forward image of such indoor cycling gyms could be a confounding variable in the question of whether the workout lives up to the trend.


Accumulating all of this information, I have come to believe that spinning is a worthwhile form of exercise if you’re there for the right reasons. It may sound like a line from The Bachelor, but it’s a valid differentiating factor in deciding whether spin classes are worth the trend. There is a line to be crossed where the schtick starts to override the actual exercise. People pay an exorbitant amount to spin because they get caught up in the brand rather than the bike. However, If you get on the bike with the mindset that you’re there for an intense workout and you’re going to give it your all, then you will reap the physical and mental benefits of indoor cycling that will live up to its popularity.

3 thoughts on “Indoor Cycling: Treasure or Trend?

  1. Heather Grace McDermott

    Hi Hannah! I have to say that I agree with some of Sammy Lee’s comment, but I do understand your thought process while writing this post. You began by making an assumption that cycling is an extremely good workout, then you backed up your claim with scientific facts. You then went to discuss possible third variables that could sway how beneficial cycling really is. The only suggestion that I could make would be your title. As sammy stated, it is kind of misleading. If you were to make it only focus on whether or not there are good enough benefits from cycling, your post would be a lot more clear. Besides that I thought your post was very easy to understand and had a good flow! A cycling gym just was built five minutes away from my house at home and I have always wondered if I should stop running on a treadmill and hop on a bike. Here is an interesting article that talks about whether or not cyclists should run.

  2. Natalie Elizabeth Burns

    Good post! I do agree with the above comment however, I also enjoyed the post! I have always wondered if I should try indoor cycling because I have an injury, but you may have persuaded me. As you said, it’s a great workout which has been proven by health officials and yourself.
    That being said, something that stood out to me was the price. It’s a rather expensive price to pay for just a good workout which leaves me wondering how low-income people who may or may not be overweight can fit into this. It’s no secret this country has issues with obesity, primarily in poverty stricken areas where healthy food is not accessible, but this is also an issue. I think this would be another component that would be worth looking into. How can we get these great exercise opportunities to people with low incomes?

  3. Samuel Sae Jong Lee

    Truthfully, I had trouble following the blog and the question you were trying to answer. At first, I believed you were defending that cycling classes are worth the $25-30 amount and then reinforcing that claim with all of the benefits that come from cycling. But the title of the blog is “Indoor Cycling: Treasure or Trend” and I felt that the blog was more focused on listing benefits of cycling rather than answering the question whether or not indoor cycling is popular for the community aspect of the classes. I also found the conclusion of the blog to be very weak because saying cycling is worth it “if you’re there for the right reasons” is not definitive and does not give the audience an opinion on indoor cycling. Besides that, I liked how you added the reference to The Bachelor because I watch the show as my guilty pleasure.

    Sammy Lee

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