Published May 26, 2013

The ‘Secret Sauce’ to Losing Weight With Spinning

by Guest Author
Spinning bike

{I have had students in the past ask me why they are not losing weight when they work out all the time. The answer is often as outlined below: They are either eating too little or too much. Today's guest author, Lynn Mitchell, talks about this "slippery slope," and how you can make Spinning classes (and other challenging cardiovascular exercises) more effective. It's a fine balance, but when you discover what works for you, you will rock it P.S. My name is Helen. And I, too, am a Spinning addict. Spin on.}

I attended my first Spinning® class many, many years ago. I didn’t even know what Spinning® was at the time. I just knew my regular cardio kickboxing class (remember cardio kickboxing?) was cancelled, and Spinning® was scheduled in its place.

I came into the studio expecting some kind of twirl-y dance-aerobics class, but when I walked in to find a cluster of stationary bikes at the center of the room I thought, “that probably makes more sense.”

I’ll admit, I did not love my first Spinning® class.

In fact, I mostly hated Spinning® for about a month.

But after dragging myself back again and again I am now proud to admit: I’m an addict. And my body certainly shows for it.
But....ever heard of too much of a good thing?

Yep, it’s even possible with burning calories. An average Spinning® class burns about 500-1000 calories.  After burning that kind energy, you’re going to be hungry—very hungry. If you take Spinning classes before work, there’s a good chance you’re going to want to stuff your face all day to keep your energy up. If you go to class after work, there’s a good chance you’ll be eating a very heavy dinner before bedtime (which is a known fat inducer). When I first started taking Spinning® classes, I ate double what I should have.

I wondered why I wasn’t losing weight…and why I was still bothering to come to class.

The solution? Proper nutrition. Burning calories is not enough to lose weight, especially when you’re making up all those calories used with more calories taken in. Eating foods that are high in protein and fiber (like lean meats, eggs, nuts, fruits, and veggies) and low in hunger-spiking carbs and sugar (processed foods, breads, pasta, rice, desserts) will keep you full in much smaller amounts, fueling you for intense exercise without overfeeding you.

Avoiding Metabolic Distress

Basic diet ideology tells us to burn more calories than we consume. While this is great in theory, the truth is, many of us are control freaks and will end up burning much more than we consume, which can be unhealthy.

Consuming too few calories, which is surprisingly easy to do when regularly attending hard cardio classes such as Spinning®, can slow down your metabolism. This is your body’s self-defense mechanism.

Your body thinks it’s in a state of famine and kicks into survival mode, holding onto every ounce of fat it can—exactly the opposite of what you want.

Thus, to lose weight while doing intense exercise like Spinning® classes, you really have two option: 1) Strike a healthy balance between starving yourself and gorging yourself (most likely by tracking calories, eating a protein- and fiber-rich diet, and/or listening to your body’s natural hunger cues—easier said than done; or 2) Keep your intense cardio/Spinning® class schedule to a few days a week (though this is also much easier said than done…Spinning® is very addictive).

When I finally figured out how to balance my diet to support my Spinning® addiction, my body whipped itself into shape faster than I could say “gel seat.”

The moral of this story? Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see 500 calories worth of weight loss every day your first month.

Weight loss is a tricky balancing that works best with a smart combination of fitness and nutrition. Spinning® classes, matched with a healthy diet, is a great way to achieve you goals.

Get riding today!
Lynn Mitchell is a professional health and wellness writer and self-proclaimed Spinning addict. She writes on behalf of Spinning®, the creators of indoor cycling.