Spring has SPRUNGGGG, y’all! Is everyone as happy as I am? Yes? Ok, good.
On another note, how about this March Madness bs? The ONE year I actually get reeeeally involved and make a bracket, upsets of the century happen like one after the other. And by make a bracket, I mean I made TEN brackets. (lolololololol) Who am I, right? Even The Boyfriend is like…
Am I in the Twilight Zone? Mattie is willingly watching sports? On her own? WHAT?…
But can I just brag for a quick two seconds? One of my brackets was almost completely perfect after the first day. Ok, done bragging. Moving on…
Wait, one more thing — I’M SO PROUD OF YOU, TTU!!!!!!!! WE’LL GET ‘EM NEXT YEAR.
Ok, on to the point of this entire blog post — “Cycle Bulk.” You know, the dreaded, massive thighs every woman thinks she’ll acquire if she spins too much? (No judgement here. Trust me, I thought the exact same thing!) Cycle bulk is real. Yes, it can happen. But with the proper technique, and care for your body, it can just as easily be avoided.
Since the beginning of March, I’ve been doing a spin class at least twice a week. (Thanks for the serious inspo, SoulCycle!) And I’m not going to lie, my body has never felt better. (Introducing something new into your regular fitness routine is always, always, ALWAYS a good idea. Remember that!)
For me, the biggest difference is 100% in my legs. And my core feels rock solid.
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Through experience, and learning various techniques from different cycle studios, I’ve managed to keep my “Cycle Bulk” in check (so far). And to help you, I’m sharing what I’ve learned…
How To Avoid The “Cycle Bulk”
1. Keep your resistance in check.
This sounds like a no-brainer, I know. You want to have enough resistance to keep you feeling secure when you are “out of the saddle,” and you definitely want to turn it up on those hills. Just remember to let those legs recover!
2. Keep your core engaged.
My clients are probably rolling their eyes right now. I swear I say “keep your core tight” at least 39582365283756 times during a training session. But seriously, KEEP IT ENGAGED! One of my favorite analogies is from a Peloton Instructor: “You should feel like you’re making a fist with your abs this entire class.”
3. Squeeze your knees inward.
If you watch your spin instructor, I can pretty much guarantee it will look like they are trying to knock their knees. Looks weird, sounds weird, but it’s proper cycling form. I learned that little tidbit from my dad. And he knows his shit. I mean, he did finish the Ironman World Championship in Kona. Just sayin.
4. Lead with your heels, not your toes.
Another tip from my dad, and confirmed by multiple instructors in classes I’ve taken. You don’t want your toes pointing down. Keep those heels down. When that resistance is up, it should feel like you’re scraping gum off the bottom of your shoe.
5. Keep your hips over the saddle.
This is hard; but it’s a very important piece of advice. When you are “out of the saddle,” make certain your hips are pushed back over that seat. Use those ab muscles! By keeping your hips back, you’re engaging WAYYY more than just your legs. You’ve got your glutes super engaged now, and that core will be in overdrive.
Even if you don’t have time to stay for the stretching portion of your spin class, take at least five minutes out of your day and stretch those legs out! Using a foam roller, or taking a yoga class are great ways to keep those muscles elongated.
7. Keep your body guessing.
It’s so easy to get comfortable with a type of exercise. But once you’re comfortable, it’s not having quite the same effect on your body. So switch it up a little; incorporate some treadmill runs, elliptical workouts, incline walks, and HIIT circuits.
Is there anything you’d add to this list? Fill me in!
I am in no way, shape or form a cycle expert. These are strictly my opinions.
Stay fit, friends. Xo
P.S. Don’t miss this incredible giveaway on my Instagram!