Sport of the Month London Spinning

What is spinning?

Spinning or its formal name, Indoor Cycling, was started by Johnny G, a South African, living in America training for the Trans America cycle race across America in the early 1980’s. With insufficient free time to get out and ride the long training rides required for such a race, he rigged up the first indoor cycling bike in his garage which he finally called the 'Johnny G Spinner'. Spinning was born and remains an excellent low impact / non load bearing (meaning that as most of your weight is resting on the bike seat) form of exercise that does not destroy joints and tendons.

It takes place on stationery bikes in a group class, lead by an instructor and these classes typically last 45 minutes to an hour. For those doing ‘official’ Spinning these instructors are Spinning qualified and the bikes used are Johnny G Spinners. To the naked eye this may not mean much but the bikes are top quality. The feel of a weighty Johnny G Spinner is worth its weight in gold. The extensive on going professional training that the Spinning instructors must adhere to is critical to ensure you receive the very best in instruction on the bike.

Spinning accommodates all levels of riders in any class from newcomers to experienced riders. The class will deliver the ride you want and the instructor is there to facilitate and train you on your ride. Unlike other Indoor cycling classes like RPM, Spinning allows the Instructors to add their flavour of music and personal touch to each class. Some choose mountain climbs; others core strength and sprinting where others may focus on technique. The trick is to work out which are the instructors you would like to follow and book their classes.

Each Spinning studio also offers its unique flavour and the pedigree of the gym is usually expressed by the level of input these gyms and studios apply to hiring their indoor cycling instructors. The quality of the instructor will have a significant influence on your Spinning experience. Many people visualise spinning to be lead by instructors yelling at riders to ‘push harder’ with thumping music and lights flashing in the background. Sadly some are and they get it wrong.

Pedal Studio incorporates the Suunto Team Heart rate system, which beams your Heart Rate to you at all times and allows the instructor to see this too. Heart rate training is the key to training at the correct intensity level - low intensity levels (55% - 60 % of your Max Heart rate) will deliver the much sought after Fat Burn. It is important after time to incorporate some high intensity training to really rip the weight off. If your studio is not prepared to invest in a Heart System for you to use, are they really delivering the training you need? Pedal Studio's system delivers post training reports to your email address noting: training zones, time spent in each and calories burnt. The Heart Rate training is offered free!

You will not find Spinning instructors yelling at Riders at Pedal Studio, instead you will experience an intensity controlled training session governed by your Heart Rate zones.

Why do spinning?

Firstly Spinning is something EVERYONE can do. Everyone can sit on a bike seat and pedal - even that delivers health benefits.

Importantly, no matter your weight, Spinning will not result in injuries common to those that people get to tendons, knees and muscles when they decide to start jogging on the whim or after New Years resolutions are made. Spinning is non-load bearing and can accommodate every level of rider in any class. (If you have a back problem – let the instructor know and they will raise your handle bars)

Spinning is unquestionably the most fun, easiest way to burn 400- 600 calories in a 45-minute class. The music bounces you along and the instructors keep you focused.

(For those of you who think the seat is terrible, ask for the gel seat, any good studio will have one for you to toughen up on)

Linked into a heart rate system to monitor your training, you will initially notice your respiratory system getting stronger before any weight loss or muscle toning. Spinning will devour calories and used in conjunction with a healthy eating lifestyle you are guaranteed to loose weight, firm up and strengthen your muscles.

Spinning requires strong core muscles in your torso as the standing up and jumps performed require core strength. Spinning thus delivers an intense core strength work out.

Spinning is fun and social and you are guaranteed to meet new friends. At Pedal Studio we had a fun Summer Thames Boat Cruise and the winter bowling is coming up.

Triathletes and Cyclist use Spinning, especially in winter months, to maintain their endurance and leg strength.

At Pedal Studio we try to encourage people to take part in races, which helps with goal setting and motivation.

How do I start spinning? / Where can I find classes in London?

The official Spinning web site holds a list of all Spinning Studios in the UK. You can search this database for Spinning studios.

One word of advice, before deciding on a spinning class, its always worth checking that real spinning bikes and Spinning qualified instructors are provided. Some large gyms may only use cheaper versions of the Johnny G Spinner or employ indoor cycling instructors. Mix your classes around and you will soon work out who the 'real' instructors who have a passion for cycling are. Ask your instructor if they are Spinning qualified and if the bike does not say ‘Johnny G’ – then you are not Spinning!

Pedal Studio uses 4 Master Spinning instructors who live and breath cycling and Spinning. They all compete in cycling and are well educated in health and Heart Rate Training. The instructors are the key to professional training so choose your club wisely.

To start at Pedal Studio, all you need to do is go to the web site - , register as a new rider, book a class and then turn up. The Pedal Studio is Pay as You go – there are no contracts. The Spinning Qualified instructor will meet you at the class and show you how to set your bike up and will instruct you in riding and spinning techniques. All new riders get a deal of £10 for 7 consecutive days to do as much Spinning as they want. This allows you to try out all the instructors and be sure the Pedal Studio is going to deliver your training needs.

Further information?

You are welcome to contact Andrew Clayton, owner of Pedal Studio on 07769692235 or by email - [email protected]

You can also visit the Official spinning web site at:

Copyright © 2010 Pedal Studio Ltd (Andrew Clayton)


What clothing should I wear?

Most people wear trainers, a comfy T-shirt and shorts. They bring a water bottle (usually 2) and a sweat towel with them. If you can afford £35 on cycling shoes, get some mountain bike styled shoes with SPD cleats (ask your local bike shop they will know what SPD are) and these will help deliver the ride. The cycling motion is not just one of pedalling and putting down force on the pedals with your legs, but the pull up of the pedal is also key. All these techniques will be taught to you by your Spinning qualified instructor.