Before a proper introduction to the free group exercise class, indoor group cycling, I was always perplexed by why my friends loved it so much. I had always thought it was just a bunch of people gathering in one room to ride a bike indoors with an instructor yelling at them to push harder. Being the self-motivated person that I am when it comes to fitness, I always assumed that the class was just for people who needed to be motivated in order to give their 100% in workouts. However, I learned that group cycling is so much more and I write to ensure that none of you make the same mistake about group cycling as I did for so many years!
What is Group Cycling?
Group cycling is one of the 600+ free group exercise classes offered at the YMCA of Greater Boston for members. It's an amazing cardio workout, all done on a stationary bike made specifically for indoor use. These classes take place in our fitness studios and usually accomodate around 10-30 participants. Since the class requires equipment, you will need to reserve your spot prior to the start of class by calling your branch or signing up online.
While one of the instructor's goals is to motivate you to push harder, his or her main role is to design a series of different moves on the bike that strategically work out specific parts of your body. At times, you will be cycling while you're standing and then return to a comfortable sitting position, going as fast as possible. Other times, you'll be cycling as if you are going up hill. While this class clearly focuses on cardio, your legs can get a great workout as well. The class is far from an easy ride, but with great music in the background, it's super fun and gets you energized to push harder.
Who Takes Group Cycling?
The class is geared for all levels from beginner to advanced. Based on level, the instructor gives different ranges of resistance and RPMs for individuals. Really, you're the ultimate controller of how difficult the class will be, but you are encouraged by the instructor to push as hard as you can.
What to Wear
- Comfortable workout clothes
- Sturdy sneakers or clip-in cycling shoes
- Hairband for women with long hair
What to Bring
- LOTS of water
Tips from Others on Group Cycling Class
Eyoda, Dorchester YMCA
Come with a positive attitude and be ready to shed some pounds and tone up. The class is exhausting, but the music keeps your energy up and you can really feel your body toning up. The physical benefits are incredible. I can't wait for my next session!
Maureen, North Suburban YMCA (Woburn)
Don't worry about keeping up with your neighbor or the instructor. As most instructors will tell you, "It's your ride." You need to challenge yourself with the help of the instructor, but don't overdo it.
As you exit the class, you'll feel excellent. I always ask myself why I do indoor cycling classes while I'm in the middle of the session. They are extremely challenging, but once the cool-down begins, I am completely exhilarated and proud of myself for making it through the end.
Group Cycling Benefits
- You're in Control: This group exercise class will never be too easy or too hard since you're in control of the difficulty. Pedal faster or raise your resistance to make the session more vigorous.
- No Helmet Necessary: Since you're indoors and stationary, you don't need to wear a helmet. Unlike biking outside where there are many dangerous obstacles such as pedestrians and cars, in indoor group cycling, you can focus all your energy on your movement.
- Group Mentality and Motivation: If you're like me, working out in a group setting always motivates me to try a little harder than I do when I'm alone. When I work out alone, I easily give up, but watching everyone else's intensities helps me to motivate myself to try as hard as the group, if not harder. Additionally, you have the instructor to motivate you.
- Technique: I don't know about you, but I rarely see anyone in the regular fitness center pedalling furiously away on a stationary bike, mixing it up between standing and sitting. I'm the kind of person who is a bit self-conscious about what I look like at the fitness center. Hence, it's nice to be in a studio where everyone else is doing the same thing as you.
So what are you waiting for? Check your branch's group exercise schedule and sign yourself up for our free group exercise class, indoor group cycling!