May is National Bike month and for many people that will mean dusting off the ol’ mountain bike or cruiser and tooling through their neighborhood, or maybe even tackling a local bike trail. But, there’s a whole other category of bikes that cannot be ignored…the indoor exercise bike.
If you have ventured into any gym or YMCA, you’ll see a multitude of exercise bikes that fit into this category. There’s the basic “recumbent”, the “upright”, the “Airdyne bike”, and spin bike. There are also specialty bikes which target the upper body only, bikes that work both upper and lower body, and there are models that double as a recumbent + seated elliptical all in one. While exercise bike manufacturers have broadened their designs to accommodate various body types and users, they have also leveraged advances in technology to bring a category of products that had lost some momentum and popularity, back to life. I’ve definitely become reacquainted with working out at home, like so many have over the past month during the “stay-at-home” order, and while I’ve had my upright and recumbent bikes for years, I can’t say I always enjoyed using them.
Prior to Covid-19, I’d been a regular gym goer for years. I’ve enjoyed going to the YMCA each day and having a large array of equipment in which to choose for my workouts. Treadmill one day, elliptical, Arc trainer or a group exercise class the next. I guess looking back, I’ve been a little spoiled. On the rare occasion when I couldn’t get to the “Y”, I’d opt to do a workout at home which would often consist of a 30-45 min bout of riding either my upright or recumbent bike. As most people report, (and I can confirm) time stands still during these workouts. Drudgery and dread are adjectives that come to mind. But with the introduction of streaming services, coaching and fitness apps, stale cardio workouts have totally changed and become both fun and challenging again.
Companies like Peloton have really paved the way for a barrage of “at-home” fitness products which incorporate subscription-based workouts into their products. Many, like Peloton, charge a monthly subscription fee allowing users access to both live stream and recorded video content. However, there are quite a few free options now available to consider. Freemotion just introduced their Coach Bike which, like Peloton, offers tons of instructor-led classes. Coach Bike also includes Global Workouts where you have access to training videos shot all around the globe and Bike the World content where the rider can route their own courses using Google Maps. Life Fitness, one of the leading manufacturers of fitness equipment in the world, also recently released Life Fitness On Demand, which is their instructor-led class content. It’s all available without a monthly subscription fee and is available on each category of equipment.
If your workouts need a boost, definitely check out these products at one of our retail stores or at your local gym. Cardio doesn’t have to be boring!
A native of North Carolina, Gina currently lives in Charlotte, and has been in the fitness industry since 1990. During that time, her roles have included strength coach, personal trainer, college instructor, and competitive athlete (both bodybuilding and Olympic-style weightlifting). Upon completion of her bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University she relocated to CO where she interned at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Her primary role there was to instruct resident athletes on the Olympic lifts. She relocated to Charlotte in 1996 where she worked for the YMCA and then later began her career in 1998 as a fitness equipment consultant. She holds a master’s degree in Exercise Science and Sports Nutrition and holds multiple certifications through NASM, NSCA, and ISSN. She enjoys camping, mountain biking, working out and hiking, all of which she does with her dog Pia.