Exercising BrideTrying to lose weight?Then chances are you have given indoor-cycling a whirl. Affordable, accessible and effective for maximum calorie burning in the shortest possible time, it’s no wonder that this sport has a host of fans ranging from celebrity to the average Joe.The question is, is this the perfect exercise? Or are your spinning classes causing you to pack on the pounds?

No one can deny that spinning burns calories, some 400 – 600 per 45 minutes, but is it giving you the body you want? Anthony Doyle, Personal Trainer at TransformYou, says, “Spinning can’t cause you to put on weight, but if you have a predisposition to bulking your lower half, it can make your bum and thighs bigger.” Nobody wants to put in three or more classes a week only to find that they are getting bigger. Doyle is by no means “anti-spinning”, he is extremely supportive of including such high-intensity cardio but does insist on rationing classes and mixing it up. If weight loss is your goal, then it’s important to keep the body guessing. Include no more than three spinning classes in your weekly regime and intersperse these with resistance training and weights. To achieve the most from a class aim to give 70% of your maximum throughout, this will help realize the greatest calorie burn and increase subsequent weight loss – muscle burns fat, so building muscle will increase inch loss. Any less effort and you will not be working to your full potential while any more may cause you to crash and burn before the class ends.

Anthony advises keeping well hydrated throughout the class, aiming to drink 1-1.5l of water.This will help replace that which has been sweated out during class, as well as what our muscles have utilised during exertion. For effective muscle building, aim to eat a significant amount of protein within 15 minutes of finishing your spin class, or any exercise. It is this protein that will help muscle cells recover and thus burn greater amounts of fat in the future. Ideally, this protein should be taken in the form of a protein shake, but can be something as simple as a pre-cooked chicken breast. Organise your meals in advance and ensure that you have healthy food on hand whenever you are hungry.

No discussion of gaining weight and bulking up would be complete without a thorough look at diet. According to Anthony, the biggest cause of failure for any weight loss or exercise program is overindulgence. Many of us feel that we “deserve” a treat when we complete training and head straight for that delicious chocolate.There is no point in religiously visiting the gym if you consume 3000 calories within an hour of leaving. Quantity and quality are the keys. Choose lean foods as close to their natural state as possible. Planning is essential and when it comes to eating, try to have a larger lunch and a smaller dinner. For best results keep a food diary.Write down everything that touches your lips and you’ll be surprised at how much you don’t normally see yourself eating – invisible calories. The question is then, who gets big and who doesn’t?There isn’t a clear-cut answer for this as every body is different.Not everyone responds to the same stimuli in the same manner. If you love spinning, don’t stop. It’s a fantastic high-intensity cardio that can only be good for the body. If you wish to lose weight, then you will need to mix it up and add more resistance training – it’s that simple.