Cycling Your Way to Fitness

Did you know that Penn State offers a wide range of fitness classes available for free to all students? Signing up for these classes extremely simple, and the schedule of classes includes something for everyone.

All of the free classes are taught by Penn State students who study to become fitness instructors. These fitness instructors go through an intensive, semester-long, PSU registered class that certifies them to teach certain fitness classes.

At the end of the semester, they are assigned to teach different class types based on their skills and knowledge. Not only are the fitness instructors certified in teaching, but they also learn about the benefits of taking the specific class and the specifics parts of the body and muscle groups that each class works.

One of these free, student-taught classes offered is cycling – a cardio and core-based workout.

PSU fitness instructor, Christine Laderer, talks to VALLEY about just how good of a leg workout cycling can be, and how it can benefit core strength as long as the core stays engaged throughout the whole class.

Cycling classes, slightly different than spin classes, became extremely popular a few years ago, but have recently lost some of their buzz. While other fitness classes may have become more popular with PSU students, that doesn’t mean the amazing benefits of cycling have become any less effective.

One of the most fun aspects of cycling that differs from spinning, Laderer points out, was that the songs played match up to the pace of the workout, and that there are actually many different styles of cycling. Cycling is also faster paced workout than a traditional spinning class, according to Laderer.

Cycling mainly focuses on working the legs, but can also engage the arms if weights are added during sets. Outside of gaining muscle, there are also more than a few other benefits to cycling.

“Cycling works on cardiovascular endurance and is just another way to get the heart rate up,” Laderer says.

Along with that, according to Better Health Channel, cycling can improve a person’s posture, lower their stress levels and provide them with increased muscle strength and flexibility.

Another current student fitness instructor, Erin Johnson says, “The five components of fitness are muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, cardio-respiratory endurance and body composition.”

Body composition is a component that many forget to consider. Diet can really help make sure that the workout is helpful even after your time in cycling class is up. One way to ensure that your workout is benefitting your body and health the best that it can, is to plan out some healthy pre-workout and post-workout meals.

According to Eat This, Not That, grabbing a banana with some almond butter and raisins will give you the perfect amount of carbohydrates you’ll need prior to a cycling class. The almond butter also gives you the important fats and proteins you’ll need for energy and muscle recovery.

According to the same website, after your workout it is best to focus on foods that replenish electrolytes and potassium. Some examples of these foods would be roasted chicken salad, quinoa and cucumbers.

Cycling classes at Penn State are offered at both the White Building and the Intramural Building throughout the week at a range of times. To find the class with a time that works best for you, be sure to take a look at Penn State’s fitness schedule!


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