Spin Class 101
Jan13

Spin Class 101

topfitness

In recent years, spin classes have taken off as one of the most popular workout classes out there. People swear by spin, SoulCycle, and many other variations of indoor cycling. If you’d like to try spin but aren’t sure what exactly to expect, here is everything you need to know.

What is Spinning?

Spinning is done on a special stationary spinning bike. You can control the resistance on the bike and difficultly level of the class from your seat. Spin is more than just riding a stationary bike. An instructor walks you through a full body workout on the bike. Many classes also use fun lighting and upbeat music.

Where To Spin

There are spin-specific studios, such as SoulCycle, that focus primarily on spin. Many standard gyms now also offer spin as a part of their regular class schedules. Space is limited to the number of bikes in the room, so you typically have to sign up in advance or get there very early. Even if you do sign up online, you need to get there at least ten minutes early to get set up. Some places will give away your seat if you aren’t there five minutes before class time.

Spinning Equipment

While some people may wear special cycling clothes or shoes, it’s not at all necessary. As long as you wear a shirt, pants and sneakers that you’re comfortable working out in, you’ll be fine. Some women find leggings more comfortable than shorts. The facility will provide the bike and any weights. You will want to bring a sweat towel and a water bottle.

Spin Terminology

There are a few basic spinning terms you should get familiar with. The saddle is your seat. Resistance is like gears on a bike—it affects how hard you’ll need to pedal to move the wheel. Positions refer to where to place your hands on the handlebar. There are three—one is at the base, two is on the outside, and three is at the top of the handlebars. Flat is riding at a steady pace. A climb uses an increase is resistance to mimic riding uphill. A sprint is riding as fast as you can. “Jumps” on the bike take you from a seated to a standing position.

Spin Class Types

There are a few basic types of spin classes. An endurance class works gradually uphill to improve stamina. In interval rides, you’ll do periods of hard work followed by periods of rest. A strength class uses higher resistance and a lot of hills to help build muscles in your legs. Other classes may incorporate hand weights and core work.

Setting Up

You need to get there early to set up your stationary bike. Like with a regular bicycle, the seat height, handlebar height and handlebar distance need to be tailored to you. The seat should come up to about hip height while standing. You should be able to mostly extend your legs with a slight bend in your knees while seated. Ask the instructor to help you the first few times you go.

Safety

Always follow whatever your instructor is telling you to do. If you feel faint or dizzy, slow down and lower the resistance. Drink water throughout. Let the instructor know if you any existing injuries or conditions they should know about that might affect your ride.

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How to Build Your Own Home Gym
Dec23

How to Build Your Own Home Gym

topfitness

It’s a fitness enthusiast’s dream to have their own home gym full of fancy equipment, and maybe even a personal trainer who comes right to your house. No more membership fees, driving through traffic, waiting in line for machines or dealing with obnoxious and rude gym-goers (you know the type). Thankfully you don’t need to spend a fortune or have a mansion to create a quality home gym. Here are some basics you’ll need to get your home gym started.

Mats

You don’t want to work out on a hard floor. Get some mats that you can put down while you’re exercising. You can spring for fancy or thick gym mats, but a couple of yoga mats will work fine, too. Plus, you can roll them up and stash them.

Hand Weights

Hand weights ranging from about 5 to 25 lbs. are probably good for most average fitness enthusiasts, though you can certainly adjust to your needs. Have at least three different weights for different exercises, since you may have to use heavier or lighter weights depending on your strength. 

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are perfect for strength training and don’t take up a lot of space. You can use them to work your arms, chest, back, glutes and thighs. They’re also great to take with you if you’re traveling.

Stability Ball

Though these take up a little more space than the other items on this list so far, they’re worth it. A stability ball can help you work your core in a variety of ways. Plus they’ll make basic sit ups a lot harder. You can also use them to strengthen your glutes, back and hamstrings.

Jump Rope

While we would all love to be able to fit a treadmill or stationary bike in our homes, it’s not realistic for most people. Jumping rope is a great cardiovascular exercise that requires very little time or space. Just ten minutes of jumping can burn up to 200 calories while strengthening your arms, legs and core. Get a weighted rope for added difficulty.

Pull Up Bar

A pull up bar can be used for so much more than those standard, gym class pull ups. You can work your biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, back and abs using one bar. There are plenty of ones you can buy that hang easily over a door, or you could even build one yourself.

Stopwatch or Timer

Since you won’t have the ease of the clocks or timers at the gym, you’ll want to make sure you have a way to keep track of how long you’re doing each exercise. This is especially important if you’re doing interval training (which is perfect for home gyms).

Electronics

If you want to get fancy, adding electronics to your home gym will make it a lot more fun. Playing music while you’re exercising keeps you motivated, and since you’re at home you don’t even need headphones. If you like to do workout DVDs, putting a TV and DVD player in the room will make it a lot easier since your equipment is already there.

Of course, you can always select the best equipment for your own personal needs and preferences, and even expand if you have the money and space. We have tons of equipment reviews right here on our site form experts who have tried hundreds of different machines and equipment.

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Which is better? Keiser M3+ Versus Schwinn AC Performance Plus
Aug30

Which is better? Keiser M3+ Versus Schwinn AC Performance Plus

Keiser M3 Plus compared to Schwinn AC Performance PlusIf you’re looking for a great indoor cycle, the Keiser M3+ and Schwinn AC Performance Plus are two of the highest quality and most popular options. There’s no arguing that these are great indoor bikes. But there’s plenty to argue about when trying to determine which is better. So let us help you with your decision. We’ll tackle the major differences and advantages between the M3+ and AC Performance Plus. Take a look as we compare the main features on these bikes and give you our choice for best indoor cycle between these excellent Keiser and Schwinn models.

Indoor Cycle FrameSchwinn AC Performance Plus compared to Keiser M3+

The Keiser M3+ (Plus) and the Schwinn AC Performance Plus (with Carbon Blue Belt Drive) are both ultra high quality machines that stand up to any Spin Bike. They both feature strong and lightweight aluminum frames. Just on design and aesthetics, we prefer the Keiser M3+. Its sleek brushed aluminum design is more attractive than the beefier white Schwinn, but we’re not about to make a decision on appearance alone.

The frame warranties on these bikes are identical at 10 years, so there’s nothing to compare there.

The maximum fully adjusted dimensions of the M3+ is about 57”x26”x51” (l x w x h) and it weighs 85 lbs. It will fit individuals from 4’10” to 6’5” and has a weight capacity of 300 lbs. The Schwinn AC Performance Plus has a smaller footprint of 50”x21”x51”, weighs 112 lbs, has a capacity of 350 lbs and will fit riders from 4’11” to 6’8”. Both of these bikes will be stable and secure during your most intense workouts, but the Schwinn has a slightly sturdier frame and allows for a wider range of users.

Advantage: Schwinn AC Performance Plus with Carbon Blue Belt because of sturdiness and ability to accommodate a wider range of users.

Flywheel, Drive & ResistanceKeiser M3 Plus Review Comparison

Probably the most important feature on an indoor cycle is its flywheel. The M3+ has an 8 lb flywheel and the Schwinn AC Performance Plus has a 37 lb flywheel. The difference between the heavier and lighter flywheel is noticeable while cycling. The Schwinn has a smoother, more fluid motion. The Keiser also has a good cycling motion, but the Schwinn has a more natural outdoor cycling feel, especially when you’re in the lower resistance settings.

Both bikes utilize belt drive systems that require very little to no maintenance at all. Both bikes provide a smooth and very quiet ride. The AC Performance Plus strongly markets the Carbon Blue belt drive, which is a ribbed belt that moves over a sprocket like a chain drive bike (but smoother). This preserves the outdoor cycling feel.

Keiser and Schwinn both utilize magnetic resistance, but how you control the resistance is different on these bikes. The M3+ has a level near the handlebars that works together with the console to show you your level of resistance. The Schwinn has a more traditional set up with a tension knob that increases or decreases friction. It’s definitely nicer to see your resistance level on the M3+ and this allows you to return to previous resistance settings easily. Both bikes provide smooth and constant resistance.

The Keiser M3+ has a slightly better 3 year mechanical warranty compared to the 2 years on the Schwinn AC Performance Plus.

Advantage:  Schwinn AC Performance Plus with Carbon Blue for more realistic cycling feel.

Indoor Bike Components

The Schwinn AC Performance Plus provides double link pedals with SPD and toe-clip combination and provides an optional triple link pedal. The Keiser M3 Plus provides adjustable ShimanoTM combo pedals with toe cages and straps on one side and the other side fits SPD specialist shoes with cleats.

Both bikes have fully adjustable handlebars and seats. They have horizontal and vertical adjusts for both components. The big difference is the adjustability of the vertical motions. On the Keiser M3+ all of the adjustments are micro adjustable. This means you move the handlebars and seat anywhere horizontally and vertically and you can tighten them in that position. On the Schwinn AC Performance Plus only the horizontal movements are micro adjustable. To adjust the seat and handlebars vertically on the Schwinn bike, you must use pre-determined, drilled-hole settings and pin them in place. The Schwinn allows for a larger range of users, but with the micro-adjusts on the Keiser M3+, you’re more capable of getting that perfect cycling position.

The wear items warranties on the two bikes are identical at 6 months.

Advantage:  Keiser M3+for better adjustability.

Indoor Bike Console / ComputerKeiser M3 compared to Schwinn AC Performance Plus Spin Bike.jpg

The Keiser M3+ comes with the M Series console that provides readouts for RPM (revolutions per minute), power output in watts, heart rate, pedaling time, resistance, and odometer/trip distance. It has a backlit sensor that automatically detects ambient light levels and turns on the backlit display as needed.

The Schwinn does not come standard with a console. However, for $199 you can add the Schwinn MPower Echelon console. This will give you readouts for PRM, heart rate, stage time and total time. For $349 you can get the MPower Echlon Power console that gives you power in watts, RPM, calories and heart rate. It also gives you time, distance and power readings in stage and total. This console is backlit through button activation.

Advantage:  Keiser M3+ because no upgrade needed.

Click here for the lowest price on the Keiser M3+ Indoor Cycle.

Overall Winner Between Keiser M3+ and the Schwinn AC Performance Plus Indoor Cycles:

It’s very close, but our choice is the Schwinn AC Performance Plus with Carbon Blue Belt Drive. In our opinion the feel and cycling motion outweigh the Keiser’s console and slight advantage in component adjustability. Overall, the bikes are in the same general price range and you can’t go wrong with either. Click below for our full reviews of these indoor bikes.

Click here for the lowest price on the Schwinn AC Performance Plus with Carbon Blue Belt Drive.

 

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Fitleader FS1 Indoor Cycle Review
May23

Fitleader FS1 Indoor Cycle Review

Overview:Fitleader FS1 Upright Exercise Bike

Fitleader equips the FS1 Exercise Bike with some nice features that you wouldn’t expect to find in this indoor cycle price range. At this price point you generally don’t see indoor bikes or Spin bikes with the ability to monitor heart rate, but the FS1 Upright Exercise Bike has it. There are dual grips and readouts on the computer LCD so you can stay in your target heart rate zone.

The Fitleader FS1 exercise bike also has 8 levels of resistance, and full adjustability in the handlebars and seat. Both will adjust vertically and the seat also has fore/aft adjustments. With this ability, the FS1 Upright Exercise Bike can fit a range of users from 5’1” to 6’2”.

Click here to see the lowest price on the Fitleader FS1 Stationary Indoor Exercise Bike.

Technical Info:

Dimensions:

  • Height: 38.8”
  • Width: 25.3”
  • Length: 46”
  • Item weight: 69.3 lbs
  • Max user weight: 293 lbs

Features:Fitleader FS1 Upright Exercise Bike

  • Lightweight but durable steel frame.
  • 13.22 lb perimeter weighted, bidirectional flywheel for a true road feel with quiet and smoothly consistent workouts.
  • Dual grip heart rate sensors with monitor readouts to track your exertion output.
  • 8 levels of easily adjustable resistance for added intensity.
  • Dual action safety brake/resistance adjustment level.
  • Fully adjustable seat (vertical and horizontal) with large, comfortable cushion.
  • Convenient water bottle holder to ensure that you’re hydrated throughout your workout.
  • Accommodates riders 5’1” to 6’2”.

Computer Features:

  • LCD display.
  • Display readouts include:
    • Time
    • Speed
    • Distance
    • Calorie burned
    • Odometer
    • RPM
    • Pulse

Warranty:Fitleader FS1 Upright Exercise Bike

  • 1 year limited

Shipping and Assembly:

Shipping costs will vary for the Fitleader FS1 Upright Exercise Bike depending on where you purchase from and what type of delivery you prefer. However, some retailers, such as Amazon.com, will provide free shipping.

The Fitleader FS1 Upright Exercise Bike doesn’t have a lot of parts that need to be assembled, which is pretty typical on indoor cycles. Along with the fully detailed assembly instructions, the process should take one person 30-45 minutes.

What We Love About the Fitleader FS1 Indoor Bike:

Computer

In a price range where a lot of exercise bikes are not providing a computer to track your workout statistics, Fitleader equips the FS1 Upright Exercise Bike with dual hand sensors and readouts on its computer display. We’re not sure if you’ll be able to find an indoor cycle for less money that provides heart rate monitoring. For cycling, and exercise in general, tracking your heart rate is extremely important for burning fat and improving cardio performance.

ResistanceFitleader FS1 Upright Exercise Bike

One feature that is unique to the Fitleader FS1 Upright Exercise Bike is the resistance lever. We think it’s a nice touch. Where most indoor cycles use a resistance knob to add intensity, Fitleader provides a lever with 8 different resistance settings. While there are only 8 settings, we like it because it allows you to go back to that specific resistance you like to work out on. For example, if someone else is using your bike and adjusts the resistance, it’s going to be difficult for you to find that exact resistance setting with an unmarked knob. It’s a small touch, but we like it.

What Isn’t So Great:

Durability

We question the durability of the Fitleader FS1 Upright Exercise bike. With a light 13 lb flywheel and overall weight just over 60 lbs, this indoor cycle isn’t exactly a heavyweight. With a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs, we question whether a user approaching that can really go all out. The fact that Fitleader is only backing this bike with a limited 1 year warrant makes us think we’re not the only ones questioning it.

Final Word on the Fitleader FS1 Upright Exercise Bike:

At the mid-$300 price, the Fitleader FS1 Indoor Bike is an interesting choice. It has some great features that you won’t find on other bikes in this price range like heart rate monitoring and specific resistance settings. On the other hand its overall lightweight has a worried that it can take the abuse of a high intensity workout day-in and day-out.

Indoor Bike

 

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Sunny Health and Fitness SF-B1203 Indoor Cycle Trainer Review
May23

Sunny Health and Fitness SF-B1203 Indoor Cycle Trainer Review

Indoor Cycle Trainer Overview:Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Trainer (SF-B1203)

The Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Trainer is everything you’d expect for an entry-level indoor cycle or Spin Bike. The bike has a heavy steel frame and a decent sized flywheel at 22 lbs that will keep the bike grounded while you are pedaling hard. This bike definitely feels heavier than the 61 lb overall weight of the machine.

The Indoor Cycle Trainer is somewhat adjustable with both vertical and horizontal adjustment capability to the seat. The seat will adjust from 27” to 33” seat to pedal distance. The handlebars on the other hand are fixed and cannot be adjusted. Sunny Health & Fitness also equips the Indoor Cycle Trainer with a basic computer monitor that will display or scan through performance statistics so that you can track your performance. This is definitely a plus at this price point.

Click here to see the lowest price on the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-B1203 Indoor Cycle Trainer.

Technical Info:

Dimensions:Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Trainer (SF-B1203)

  • Height: 45”
  • Width: 22”
  • Length: 32”
  • Item weight: 61 lbs
  • Max user weight: 220 lbs

Features:

  • Adjustable seat height.
  • 22 lb flywheel.
  • Chain drive mechanism for smooth and quiet workouts.
  • Heavy duty crank and steel frame.
  • Adjustable resistance.

Computer Features:

  • LCD display.
  • Display readouts include:
    • Speed
    • Distance
    • Time
    • Calories

Warranty:Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Trainer (SF-B1203)

  • Frame: 1 year
  • Parts: 90 days

Shipping and Assembly:

Shipping costs will vary for the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Trainer depending on where you purchase from and what type of delivery you prefer. However, some retailers, such as Amazon.com, will provide free shipping.

The Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Trainer isn’t difficult to assemble. It comes with a fully illustrated, step-by-step assembly manual. There are a good number of bolts that you will use to connect all of the components, but it’s not hard. Assembly will take you less than an hour and then you can start working out.

What We Love About the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Trainer:

ComputerSunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Trainer (SF-B1203)

The best thing about the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Trainer is the computer. At this price range, a computer isn’t a given. Sunny Health & Fitness puts a very basic monitor on the Indoor Cycle Trainer, but it has everything that you’ll need to track your performance from workout to workout. While exercising, you can see your statistics for speed, distance, time and calories burned. There is even a scan feature that will score through these settings while you work out.

What Isn’t So Great:

No Taller Users Allowed

One of the biggest complaints about the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Trainer is that it’s hard or impossible to adjust it to fit taller users. By tall users, we mean 5’10” and taller. The handlebars on this bike are fixed and can’t be adjusted in any way. The seat can be adjusted up and down and it also has fore/aft adjustability. Even so, it’s not going to accommodate a lot of people. It’s seems that Sunny Health & Fitness needs to address the size restrictions on the Indoor Cycle Trainer.

QualitySunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Trainer (SF-B1203)

One very concerning issue that a lot of users have with the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Trainer is its overall quality. There seems to be a lot of issues with the quality of this bike. Reports include assembly issues, bent and broken pieces, to creaking and clicking noises upon initial use.

Final Word on the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Trainer:

For under $200, you shouldn’t be expecting an ultra-high performance indoor cycle, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a great bike. There are definitely a lot of user complaints surrounding the quality of the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Trainer and that should be factored into your ultimate decision. Generally, Sunny Health & Fitness provides a solid bikes at low prices, like the SF-B1001 Indoor Cycling Bike (check out our review). If you want to stay under $200, that may be a better option. The quality and adjustability are better, but you won’t get the computer.

Indoor Bike

 

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Marcy Club Revolution Indoor Cycle (JX-7038) Review
May14

Marcy Club Revolution Indoor Cycle (JX-7038) Review

Overview:Marcy Club Revolution Indoor Cycle (JX-7038)

The Marcy Club Revolution Indoor Cycle is a solid indoor bike with some really nice components. The best being the low maintenance, belt drive mechanism. Along with the heavy 40 lb flywheel, the Club Revolution Indoor Cycle has an ultra smooth and quiet cycling movement. It also has a heavy frame, steel pedals and a 300 lb weight capacity that accommodate stand up pedaling for a realistic cycling experience.

The Marcy Club Revolution Indoor Cycle has the typical adjustability that you will find in other exercise bikes in this price range, which include vertical adjustments in the handlebars and seat and fore/aft seat adjustments. The Club Revolution Indoor Cycle will accommodate a wide range of users from 5’2” to 6’3”.

Click here to see the best prices on the Marcy Club Revolution Indoor Cycle.

Technical Info:

Dimensions:

  • Height: 46”
  • Width: 20”
  • Length: 45.5”
  • Item weight: 102 lbs
  • Max user weight: 300 lbs

Features:

  • Balanced 40 lb flywheel creates momentum to provide the feel of an outdoor bike ride.
  • Belt driven mechanism allows for a smoother peddling motion.
  • Adjustable aero style handlebars with forearm supports to have you feeling agile and focused.
  • 2-axis adjustable seat provides comfortable biking experience for various users.
  • Easy-to-use resistance knob simulates different types of terrain to challenge your workouts.
  • Built-in brake system brings flywheel to a fast stop with minimal effort.
  • Adjustable basket cage pedals.
  • Transport wheels to easily move into smaller spaces when not in use.
  • Water bottle holder to hold your favorite drink to stay hydrated and focused during intense workouts.
  • Accommodates riders 5’2” to 6’3”.

Computer Features:Marcy Club Revolution Indoor Cycle (JX-7038)

  • None.

Warranty:

  • Frame: 2 years
  • Parts: 2 years
  • Electronics: 90 days

Shipping and Assembly:

Shipping costs will vary for the Marcy Club Revolution Indoor Cycle depending on where you purchase from and what type of delivery you prefer. However, some retailers, such as Amazon.com, will provide free shipping.

The Club Revolution Indoor Cycle goes together very quickly. Marcy provides all of the tools you’ll need and detail assembly instructions. All you need to do is attach the base to the frame, add the seat, handlebars and pedals. All in all the process should take less than an hour.

What We Love About the Marcy Club Revolution Indoor Cycle:

Cycling Motion

We love that the Marcy Club Revolution Indoor Cycle is belt driven. For a mid-$300 price tag, you’ll be hard pressed to find an indoor cycle that is anything but chain driven. The belt drive is great for maintenance purposes, but it also provides a very smooth, very realistic pedaling motion. Combine this with a heavy 40 lb flywheel and solid steel pedals and you get a motion that simulates a realistic outside, road experience. Again, for this price, this is one of the best riding experiences you will find.

What Isn’t So Great:

Adjustability

The one thing that could be better with the Marcy Club Revolution Indoor Cycle is the adjustability. Marcy claims this bike fits a range of users from 5’2” to 6’3”. However, several shorter users have commented that the handlebars are a far reach and that they can’t get into a comfortable position no matter how close they move the seat toward the handlebars. Providing a fore/aft adjustment to the handlebars could possibly solve this, but in this price range, we doubt that you’ll find any bike with that option. So, if you’re a shorter user, it may be beneficial to give this bike a spin before making the purchase.

No Computer

The other thing we’re disappointed about with the Club Revolution Indoor Cycle is that there is no computer. Just because you’re dropping into the lower price ranges, doesn’t mean you should go without the ability to track your workout statistics. Performance measurements are key in knowing if you’re improving and for setting goals to work toward. There are plenty of options in this price range that provide a basic computer. Check out our reviews of the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Trainer (SF-B1203), the Exerpeutic LX7 Training Cycle or the Fitleader FS1 Upright Exercise Bike.

Final Word on the Marcy Club Revolution Indoor Cycle:

At the mid-$300 price, the Marcy Club Revolution Indoor Cycle is a good choice. The best thing is the belt drive which not only provides smooth and quiet cycling, but also cuts out the messy maintenance that you need to do with a chain drive. A couple of complaints we have deal with the lack of computer and whether this bike is best for shorter users. If those issues don’t affect you, then the Marcy Club Revolution Indoor Cycle should be an easy decision for you.

Indoor Bike

 

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