Indoor cycling, also commonly referred to as spinning (a brand name of an indoor bike that has become synonymous with the workout), has become one of the hottest ways to get your sweat on in gyms, fitness centers, and dedicated cycling studios across the U.S. In fact, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, nearly 35 million people are indoor cycling enthusiasts.
You love fitness, and spinning as become your go-to cardio workout, so why not combine the two and become a personal trainer specializing in indoor cycling? With sell-out crowds and waiting lists for some of the most popular spinning classes, this fitness trend has shown no signs of slowing down, so now may be the perfect time to explore a career in personal training with a focus on indoor cycling.
What is Indoor Cycling?
Aside from the obvious fact that indoor cycling involves riding stationery bikes indoors, indoor cycling is actually a class that includes everything from high-energy music and pumped-up instructors pushing you through a grueling—though undoubtedly fun—workout.
A spinning class, which generally lasts between 30 and 60 minutes, is guided by an instructor who guides you through an imaginary course, complete with climbing hills and short bursts of faster pedaling. On the instructor’s cues, you are encouraged to turn up the resistance on the bike in short intervals to climb hills, and then turn it back down as you cruise back down the other side of the hill, albeit imaginary.
A typical indoor cycling class, which may be designed for everyone from beginners to advanced athletes, also consists of a warm-up, a cool-down, and a period of less-intense pedaling. Some instructors also provide a period of stretching following the class, thereby giving your tired muscles a chance to stretch and slowly cool down.
Spinning and Personal Training: What to Know
Although spinning is perhaps best known for taking place in crowded classes, clients in a personal training program also benefit from these exhilarating and challenging workouts.
In fact, specializing your personal training career on private spinning classes will allow you to provide your clients with personalized spinning workouts without the chaos and crowds of a traditional spinning class.
In addition to being a hard-core motivator and instructor for your personal training clients, your expertise in indoor cycling is required to ensure that your clients are playing it safe and getting the most out of the spinning class.
Specifically, your knowledge of your clients’ abilities, fitness level, and physical limitations will ensure that the spinning class is both challenging and safe. You will also ensure that their form and positioning on the bike are optimal as to prevent injury and a sore back, neck, or knees. This may mean adjusting the bike seat’s height and position, the handlebar height, and the pedal fit before every workout. You will also educate your clients on the spinning lingo and teach them how to adjust the tension on their bike.
As an indoor cycling personal training expert, you will likely find yourself working with everyone from new exercisers to advanced athletes. Your clients may be individuals who aren’t ready to jump into a crowded spinning class or those who simply don’t like the atmosphere of a jam-packed room.
You may also earn a reputation as being a qualified personal trainer for outdoor cyclists and triathletes looking to build leg strength and improve their hill-climbing techniques when inclement weather takes them indoors.
The Benefits of Indoor Cycling
Many people flock to indoor cycling because of its obvious fitness benefits, which is good news for you. Studies have shown that indoor cycling burns nearly 700 calories an hour. Unlike outdoor cycling, you are likely to achieve more benefits in less time, and you don’t have to worry about traffic, pedestrians, or bad weather.
Indoor cycling boasts a wealth of other benefits, such as:
- It is an easy concept to grasp. If you have pedal a bike, you’re ready for a spin class.
- It builds strength in the lower body. Everyone from casual exercisers to conditioned athletes can benefit from better lower-body strength and will appreciate the long, lean muscles that result.
- It strengthens the core. During the high-intensity parts of a spinning workout, you will be required to stand and balance yourself as you pedal, which builds your core, thereby improving your posture, your balance, and your agility.
- It provides maximum cardio benefits. Indoor cycling increases endurance and provides all the benefits of a serious cardio workout.
- It is exhilarating. The music, the excitement, and you, as the motivated instructor, leave indoor cycling students feeling alive and energized.
How to Become a Personal Trainer and Indoor Cycling Specialist
If you want to become a personal trainer who specializes in indoor cycling, you will need to ensure that you possess the appropriate education and credentialing. Many personal trainers, more specifically, choose to complete associate or bachelor degree programs in personal training or a related area, such as exercise science, kinesiology, physical education, or exercise physiology.
A two- or four-year degree in a program related to personal training focuses on the sciences and a common cluster of courses in the human movement and movement sciences disciplines. Most programs culminate in an internship that allows students to begin applying the knowledge from the degree program in a real-world setting.
Typical core courses in a program related to personal training include:
- Physiology of exercise
- Fitness assessment and exercise prescription
- Principles of strength and conditioning
- Assessment and prescription for special populations
In addition to a college degree, most personal training professionals pursue professional certification, a common requirement among personal trainer employers. The type of professional certification you choose to pursue will likely be based on a number of factors, including industry recognition and accreditation. It is often in your best interest to ask other personal trainers in the industry about which types of certification are recognized.
Just a few of the professional certification organizations that offer personal training certification include:
- The Cooper Institute
- National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
- American Council on Exercise (ACE)
- National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT)
- National Council for Certified Personal Trainers (NCCPT)
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
- American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
- Academy of Applied Personal Training Education (AAPTE)
In addition to a general personal trainer certification, it will also benefit you to achieve professional certification in indoor cycling or spinning as to begin marketing yourself as an expert in this type of fitness program:
- The Cooper Institute, Indoor Cycling Certification Program
- National Exercise Trainers Association, Indoor Cycling Specialty Certification
- American Aerobic Association International, Cycling
- Spinning®, Certified Spinning Instructor (STAR I, II, III)
- FiTOUR, Indoor Cycling Certification