Fat Loss, Cardio

Are Spin Classes Effective for Weight Loss?

By Darisse Kennedy on Nov 27, 2020 10:30:00 AM
3 Minutes Reading Time


Working out for weight loss is about more than finding the exercise that burns the most calories. Yes, losing weight is a matter of creating a calorie deficit. However, our bodies are complex and losing weight is not as straight forward as doing a particular exercise over and over. The human body is designed to do everything possible to keep you alive. For example, if you go for too long without eating your body will adjust to the lower number of calories by slowing down how quickly you burn them (reducing your metabolism). This complexity impacts how certain types of exercises impact weight loss. One type of workout that many people think about trying in order to lose weight is spin. Spin classes have become a standard offering at many gyms throughout the country. There are a number of benefits to taking the occasional spin class but this form of exercise also comes with drawbacks.   

The Benefits of Spin Classes

Spin classes provide participants with a high-intensity aerobic group workout. You join others in a room full of specialized exercise bikes. On these bikes you can adjust the resistance in order to increase or decrease the difficulty of your ride. Spin bikes are also designed to allow you to move from sitting to standing regularly as part of your workout. Modern spin bikes will track your distance and other factors such as estimated calories burned. If you are looking to sweat, improve your heart health, interact with others, and burn some calories then a spin class is something worth trying.

The Drawbacks of Spin Classes

Spin classes focus heavily on cardio. These classes are designed to get your heartrate up and maximize your calorie burn. These are both great things. Going to an occasional spin class can add variety and some fun to your workout routine. However, going regularly to spin classes will start to provide you with diminishing returns. As with any form of cardio, doing spin regularly can signal to your body that it is time to adapt. When your body registers that you are regularly burning a lot of calories in your spin sessions it will respond by trying to hold on to more calories. This means that you will start to burn fewer calories with each subsequent spin class. As your body adapts you will have to spend more time in spin classes to burn the same number of calories. Spin classes are hard work and it can be extremely frustrating to put in the effort without seeing the results.

The Best Way to Effectively Lose Weight

The key to effective weight loss through working out is to keep your body from adapting. Any type of cardio that is done for an extended period of time will signal your body to adapt. If you want to include spin classes in your workout routine, make them an occasional part of what you do. Mix in other types of cardio and vary the intensity and well as the duration to keep your body guessing. Putting your primary focus on resistance training is the most effective way to lose weight and keep it off. Resistance training can help improve your metabolism so you naturally burn more calories. A focus on resistance training with occasional cardio sessions on the spin bike can provide you with a balanced approach that allows for continuous progress toward your goal.

The first few times you hop on your spin bike and make it through a class you will be rewarded with a significant calorie burn. Your body will quickly catch on, however, and adapt to your new level of activity. In order to prevent plateaus and continue losing weight it is best to focus primarily on resistance training in your daily workouts.

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Darisse Kennedy

Darisse is a writer and educator who received her formal education in psychology and mental health counseling. Growing up, she was more of a bookworm than a gym rat, but she discovered strength training in adulthood. She learned the true value of strength training as she fought to lose the extra forty pounds that remained after having three kids. In the process, she discovered the significant impact that working out regularly had on her mood, mindset, and energy levels. Experiencing the benefits of exercise firsthand sparked her interest in the connection between movement and mental well-being – particularly in relation to women.

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