I have a very good friend from college that is a runner. She inspires me for several reasons, and this particular woman is one of a few people I look to for advice on all-things running related. She is a big proponent of cross-training, especially after being sidelined from the sport due to multiple injuries and subsequent surgeries. When she suggested we try her new gym Born to Ride Cycle and Fitness, I was dubious. The thought of getting on a stationary bike and pedaling furiously but going nowhere, makes me bored. But, with said friend’s signature up-beat attitude and convincing smile, she promised me it would be much more than what I was expecting. So, as my duty for this particular series of posts and the sake of reporting on different types of cross-training for runners, I decided to follow her to a class. What happened next was a pleasant surprise!
A few Saturdays back in late January, we pulled up to the little, unassuming, studio tucked back into a small office park off of Hall Boulevard in Beaverton. When we walked in, the place was much more spacious than it seemed from the outside. Paula, the owner of the studio greeted us. She was quite perky for 9:00 in the morning and I needed that attitude to get me motivated for what I thought would be an hour of mind-numbing torture.
Since it was my first time at her studio, she wanted to explain the details to the class to me. I smiled and nodded at her while she spoke, being polite. I know how to adjust a bike, I thought to myself, but didn’t want to seem rude. She caught my attention when she said …”and don’t forget to grab a mat, some hand weights in different sizes and a resistance band.” Wait, what? I looked at my friend who smiled and said “I forgot to mention it’s a cycle + boot camp class”. Oh man! I was instantly excited.
The class was broken into sections: first, we had a nice little warm up on the bike, singing to music as Paula led us up a few gentle hills. Around 15 minutes into the class, we hopped off our bikes and headed over to our mats where we were led in bicep curls and overhead presses. After a few minutes, we took our resistance bands and used them to complete shoulder extensions. Then, we hopped back on the bikes and climbed more hills. Every 10 minutes or so, we jumped off the bikes and completed another small circuit of strengthening activities, including squats, lunges, planks and crunches. This was a complete full-body workout in just an hour! This particular class was much, much more exciting for someone like me who doesn’t ride a bike for anything other than an alternative form of transportation to meet friends for cocktails in the summer. Paula’s energy and jokes kept us entertained along the way, and I even caught some of my fellow classmates (ranging in age from mid-twenties to fifties) singing along to the likes of Steve Miller Band and Ke$ha. I can see why my friend chose this place to cross-train, build up stamina, and recover from her injuries.
A week later I brought my sister-in-law along for a traditional spin class. Again, we were led by another spunky instructor named Samantha. After a warm up she led us through several intervals of high intensity sprints and hills, before slowing down into a nice recovery ride. Another sweaty and successful workout was in the books.
Adding spinning or cycling to your cross-training program has major benefits. With cycling you will develop a quicker turnover, create more power and reach peak racing shape without adding stress to your body. All of this equals less recovery time between workouts. You still reap the cardiovascular benefits of running and can actually become a better runner in the process.
For more information on how cycling can make you a better runner, you can talk to one of the many knowledgeable instructors at Born to Ride Cycle and Fitness. And just like running, all you need to cycle indoors is a pair of shoes and a willing attitude.
- Born to Ride Cycle and Fitness is located at 8233 SW Cirrus Dr., Suite 16-J, Beaverton, OR 97008.
- Featuring Schwinn A.C. Performance Plus Bikes, TRX suspension training, sculpt classes, personal and small group training, and much more!
- Classes are offered 7-days a week and can be scheduled in advance online.
- Born to Ride offers anywhere between 9-11 types of classes weekly, all which can be reserved in advance by signing up online.
- Affordable class packages and training programs for every need.