We may be a little biased toward riding outdoors, but quite a few of the Terry team actually do enjoy indoor cycling in the winter months, or as a convenient way to work out year round. Now that we’re facing increasing restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19, indoor cycling at home is an especially important option. We will ride outside as long as we can, but should the situation change we plan to be ready to keep riding indoors with a good indoor cycling set up.
We put our heads together to come up with some suggestions for setting up your own personal spin studio, and tips on staying motivated for indoor cycling during the Coronavirus pandemic.
First, indoor cycling equipment doesn’t have to be expensive
There’s a lot of buzz these days about the Peloton bike, and new alternatives are popping up. The initial fee for the bike and monthly subscription for the service might seem a little steep at first glance, but it’s actually much more economical than a gym membership or frequent spin classes, with a number of advantages that are more important than ever now so many of us are spending so much time in isolation.
For one thing, people in a household can share the bike, and ride as often as they like. There are lots of choices of class leaders and music to keep it interesting, and the live performance stats can be very involving.
If that price tag is an obstacle, or you’re not sure you’ll use a Peloton enough, there are much cheaper alternatives – a bike on a trainer and a free online app can get you a lot of the same benefits.
There are often great deals on used stationary bikes to be found on Craigslist, and it’s worth looking for new options online. Many are quite affordable – maybe not top of the line equipment, but good enough to be serviceable for a few weeks or months.
Another option is to find a trainer that holds the rear wheel of a road bike and converts it to a stationary machine. Since it’s a relatively small piece of equipment, a good quality one is still a fraction of the cost of a complete stationary bike.
Bike rollers are another modestly priced option. Rollers mounted on a sturdy frame are connected by a band so your bike’s wheels turn as though you were riding on the road. The bike is free to move from side to side a little, so riding rollers calls for a higher level of skill. This makes it more challenging and interesting too – it feels much more like riding outside.
Create a spin studio ambiance, and include audio/video
There are lots of great options online for apps and programs that bring a higher level of excitement and fun to indoor cycling, and other workouts too. See Dave H’s recommendations at the end of this post.
Alysia C., Graphic Designer:
Find an online program or teacher that you like. I’m a big fan of Les Mills On Demand Sprint and RPM. They are fun, motivating and always a challenge.
Set up a dedicated space in your house if possible so you don’t have to do a bunch of set up before a workout. Decide what days you’re going to workout ahead of time and stick to a schedule. Hang up string lights to give you that spin studio vibe.
They have extended the free trial period to 30 days (this link only) They have yoga, HIIT, core and a bunch of other programs too.
How to stay motivated to ride, and keep indoor cycling at home interesting
Indoor cycling is a great way to work off stress and maintain fitness and health while activities are curtailed. On the downside, compared to the variety of sensations and scenery you find outdoors, riding inside on a stationary bike can feel a bit boring. Also, riding in a group in a gym with a good teacher and a great sound system creates an energy level that’s had to match at home. If you find it’s a little harder to get motivated for an indoor ride, here are a few ideas to help you get in the mood and get going.
Break it up, mix it up – one benefit of cycling at home is that you don’t need to prep for the weather, wear a helmet, pack and check everything you might need, or even dress as though anyone will see you. You can just slip on your minimal kit and go. That makes it pretty easy to choose a series of shorter rides instead of one long one.
If it suits your routines, try riding for 5 or ten minutes two or three or more times a day, and get a good fast sprint going in each one.
This could have a couple of great benefits – it breaks up one longer, perhaps rather-more-dull-than-we-would-like ride into a series of much shorter sessions that aren’t long enough to get boring.
Also, especially important if you are working at home on the computer most of the day: research on work and exercise habits shows it’s better to get up and move every hour or two than to be seated all day and have one big workout. Finally, that could be easy to accomplish.
Build your routines and your space around your indoor cycling setup
Colin D., Web Marketing: My buddy Jack tells a story of finding his internet based lifestyle impacting his health and fitness after a few years, and having difficulty getting in the habit of using the exercise equipment he bought to get back in shape. His solution was very practical and worked wonderfully. He put the pieces of equipment right in the way of where he needed to go to move in and around his workspace. Instead of just leaving his office to refresh his coffee, now he had to actually climb over his treadmill, and walk under his pull-up bars. He used that as the signal to do at least one rep, or minimal distance, each time. Soon it was 10 reps, and it really wasn’t long before he had rewired his habits to include regular, creatively varied workout sessions throughout his day.
Consider rearranging your bike set up so that using it for a while is just a natural part of moving through your day. I bet you’ll get the same health and wellness benefits as Jack.
Use this time to create new routines that focus on health and self-care
One of the difficulties we face when switching to working from home and restricted activities is that our routines are completely different. Settling into new rhythms can be very calming, and we have an opportunity to choose new routines that support our well-being. Reducing stress, staying healthy, and enjoying as much as we can are going to be keys to coming through this challenging period together.
Cam M., Customer Care:
I’ve found adhering to my typical routine while working from home has really helped balance my mood. This includes hopping on my spin bike when I finish working to decompress from the day, figuratively and literally switching gears into a night of relaxation at home.
I open up the windows in my home studio, breathe in the fresh air, and imagine the hills I’ll climb later this spring. I have found some awesome free spin classes to follow on YouTube. Additionally, our local yoga studio, Sangha Yoga, has been offering free live streamed yoga classes that I have been attending. They offer a sense of community and relaxation without leaving the house! I am using this time at home to try out new healthy recipes that are outside my typical routine as a way to spice things up; tonight my partner and I are trying our hand at making take-out style chicken and broccoli and egg rolls!
Make your indoor cycling and workout space an environment that you enjoy using
Danielle L., Controller:
- Being active reduces stress. Extremely important right now.
- Try indoor biking while on FaceTime or streaming scenery.
- Try a treadmill or elliptical if you don’t have an indoor bike.
- I find good motivating music helps me escape the issues in the world for just a little bit.
- It can really help to get other family members to join you, so you can motivate each other, maybe even get a little competition going. Make a game while outside or riding.
- Try creating your own scenery in your indoor cycling space. Give yourself a challenge to create your perfect ride – by the water, the park – and make it a place where you like to spend time.
Mix it up and get the energy flowing with music
Phil D., Ecommerce Director:
- I prefer rollers over a stationary bike or trainer, I find the ride isn’t as boring. Although, you can’t stand.
- Download a good audio book or listen to a workout playlist of songs that get your blood pumping.
- I have different daily interval routines of varying degrees of intensity to keep things interesting.
- Use a heart rate monitor – the metrics make it interesting and give you another way to stay motivated.
- Incorporate other exercises for variety.
Find online apps to connect with other athletes and energize your indoor ride
Dave H., Sales:
- I prefer a stationary bike where I can use a cycling app and participate with others in the same situation.
- There are a large number of apps and programs available to choose from depending on your desire to be pumped up by music, the ride or other cyclists.
- The programs that tend to be used the most for indoor training are Zwift, Bkool, The Sufferfest, Concept 2 Logbook, Tacx Aps and of course Peloton.
- Here is a lengthy list of apps with their benefits and a link to their websites:
Lisa W., Customer Care, asked: What is the best cost saving indoor program/entertainment? I’m looking for something free that I can watch on my laptop while I ride indoors on my spin bike? Good visuals/great tunes?
Dave H. replied: We are lucky that we can ride outside to breathe in some fresh air and let our minds wander, but if you need something free to enjoy on your laptop or tablet while you ride inside, here are a few of the least expense cycling apps I found:
- ERGVideo / Windows OS
Software is free to use and ride power workout files. Supports up to 24 riders.
- BigRingVR / Mac OS, Windows OS
7-day free trial
- Kinomap / iOS, Android
Unlimited free limited access
- Bkool / Mac OS, Windows OS, iOS, Android
30-day free trial
Once your indoor cycling studio is all set up, find our best recommendations for indoor cycling clothes and gear here.