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Find your FIT(ness) with Isabel Ashley: Cycling

It is February, and we are officially well into the new year.

Maybe you are still going strong on your New Year's resolutions and goals, maybe you have fallen off or maybe you don’t even have any! No judgment here. Regardless of where you’re at I am so excited to be launching this column. I will be talking about all things fitness/exercise/healthy habits here. A huge part of this blog will be me trying out workout classes on campus and around Lexington and giving you my honest rundown and thoughts. Keep in mind that fitness looks different for everyone. This blog column is simply for YOU to feel motivated, get inspired or even spark some curiosity about a workout you might have never considered. Regardless of if you try all of the classes or not, just enjoy a fun review or want to hop in on this challenge with me, you have to find your RIGHT FIT(ness). Let’s do this!

CYCLE the Alumni Gym or the Johnson Recreation Center

All right guys! I’m coming at you with some cycle content. I figured starting with something that reaches both ends of campus would be a strong way to start.

Here at UK, Cycle is available every day, ranging in different times at both locations. Classes start as early as 6:30 a.m. and can be held as late as 7:00 p.m. Right off the bat, these classes are accessible, available and, most importantly, FREE! I didn’t get into cycling until this past semester. I have always loved to work for a good sweat, but running on the treadmill was getting a little repetitive for me. I decided to give cycling a try, and let me just say — I can’t imagine my life without it!

A little rundown of how the classes work

I suggest arriving at least 10 minutes prior to the start of your cycling class (maybe even earlier if it’s your first time). Make sure to grab a towel before you walk in because you will be sweating.

Once you walk in, you’ll see all the bikes lined up in rows. I am going to take this second to hype you up: DO NOT BE AFRAID TO SIT IN THE FRONT! People get intimidated to sit up front, but let me tell you — everyone is so focused on their workout that no one is looking around. I find I get the most out of my classes when I am in the front. Once you pick a bike, you’ll have to set it up. If it’s your first time, the instructors are always super helpful at teaching you how to adjust the seat and handlebars to the perfect height and distance. Feel free to play around with your seat and handlebar adjustments — it’s all about your comfort!

My favorite part comes next, ready? The lights go off and the party lights come on! This is the time for you to enter the zone. Take the next 45 minutes to do what feels best for you (find your best FIT, if you will). The instructor will introduce themselves and give a tutorial on how to read the monitor and increase the resistance on your bike. They will instruct you on the RPM (Revolutions Per Minute), which is typically how you will keep track of your speed. Most times, instructors will keep their classes beat-based, meaning you are riding to the beat of the music the whole time. Other instructors can take a different approach to work on endurance or speed, but it’s up to you to find out what style of cycling works best for you. The best way I can describe the duration of the class is like a dance party on a bike! Let loose, sing the songs (if you’re not too out of breath) and leave it all on the bike. There is no “right” way to cycle — it’s up to you to either add the resistance or work your way up to it. Don’t stress about having to hit the suggested speed or resistance.

My favorite thing about cycling is that you will see progress and improvement the more consistent you are! I have been cycling for six months, and I have improved a ton with my form, my mentality with reaching my goals and my overall endurance.

I have met so many new people through taking these classes! You never know, some of the regulars just might become your new workout buddy.

Incorporating this workout regularly into my daily routine has given me an opportunity to release my stress and focus on the music and instructor. Not to mention, instructors are always taking feedback or song requests. Some classes I have taken were Disney-themed, Pitbull vs. Flo Rida (Flo Rida totally won), "Girl Boss Queen Slay" hype playlist and even country cycle! No cycle class is ever the same. It has pushed me to become mentally stronger and to show up for myself on the bike.

Maybe this class will be the right FIT for you!


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