No you don't.
At Fox we provide super-effective and safe sessions. This is partly due to the way we design each session around heartrate principles. This means that with or without a heartrate strap, you'll be able to pace yourself as you'll be able to keep an eye on exactly what's coming next. Your instructor will let you know how each challenge should feel if you're not wearing a heartrate strap and this will give you a good idea of how hard a challenge each section should be.
The structure of each session is designed around physiological and psychological principles, to help you enjoy the session, and achieve greater results than with other classes (even other cycling classes). Therefore you will achieve most of the benefits with or without a heartrate strap.
Having said that, the vast majority of our riders do wear a heartrate strap because they enjoy the extra motivation and fun that comes with it. It is also a safer way to exercise as you are learning how your body responds to activity and you are able to stay in charge of how hard (or not) you push yourself.
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20mins, 30mins, 45mins, 60mins, and special feature sessions of 90mins and 120mins.
We run a variety of different types and lengths of sessions. You can find out more about them here. This is because the Fox studio appeals to a wide variety of people, looking for different things from their workouts. It isn't true that 'one size fits all' with indoor cycling classes.
Because our philosophy is to bring you the highest quality, world-leading studio cycling classes, our sessions are backed by physiological and psychological principles to help ensure you get more out of them than a regular spin class.
Our shorter classes are lower in intensity and are ideal as a quick spin to keep on top of your game, or as a way to ease yourself into a new level of fitness. Our medium length sessions come in three intensities to maximise calorie burn and improvements in metabolism and aerobic capacity as well as your cycling performance. Our longer feature sessons are aimed at imrpoving endurance (and having fun!)
If you're unsure where to start, do get in touch - we'd be happy to get you started in the best way for you, no matter where your starting point. You never know where you end up!
by Angela Reed-Fox
It's not unusual for new riders to be a little unsure about the whole cardiotraining thing. We get it. Let's put your mind at rest - heartrate training is wonderfully effective, enables you to take control of your own workout, and facilitates safe challenges.
Everyone can see how unfit i am
Um no. Each session is run with targets of percentage heartrate. Because everyone has a different maximum heartrate, this enables the class to stay together. That means that not only can we get all riders riding within a few percentage points of each other, it doesn't matter how fit/unfit you are - what's 82% of your maximum is going to feel the same as someone else at 82% of their maximum. It's a level playing field where everyone gets the same workout - it's more effective, and it completely negates the perceived need to compare ourselves with others.
If I go over my maximum, I'll combust
This won't happen. Your maximum heartrate is your maximum. If you were able to clock up, say, 101% with your heartrate monitor, that just means your maximum has been recorded incorrectly. Alter it on the system, and your workouts will become even more effective.
No spontaneous combustion then? Definitely not. All that would happen if you were to really smash it at a high heartrate is that you'd get tired and have to slow down or stop. Nothing to see here. Calm down, frisky.
My maximum heartrate will go up as I get fitter
This is mostly wrong. Our maximum heartrate is programmed into us. However, it is the case with new riders as they're finding their feet and becoming fitter and more confident than they were previously, they are able to push themselves harder which gives them the impression that their max heartrate increased - it hasn't, it's just that they're more able to reach it. As your fitness increases, you're able to work harder for longer, and push yourself further.
220 minus my age
The formula for working out an estimate of a rider's maximum heartrate is to subtract their age in years from 220. There are other formulas and calculators available, none are perfect. Why do we use this one? Because in a class setting it's very quick for the instructor to work out in his/her head. We recognise that it's only accurate for around 10% of the population, but we only use it as a starting point - because we use MyZone, which calibrates automatically to the rider's max heartrate, we can start there, and leave it to the heartrate tech to tune in.
The fact is that there are far more variables to determine someone's maximum heartrate than just their sex and age, so it makes more sense to work out what it really is through sessions run with heartrate training than it does to have a brilliant but inaccurate formula and just leave it at that.
Unfit people have a lower max heartrate
Again, related to one of the points above - this is not true. Max heartrate is determined by many things - sex and age, of course, but also things like medication, drug use/abuse (beta blockers will artificially deflate a max and caffeine will artificially inflate it), time of day, tiredness, stress, illness and infection, genetic factors, lifestyle factors - all sorts of things (which is why we're never too hung up on an initial estimate of a max heartrate - we just want to be in the ballpark). Of course, as mentioned, as you get fitter, you can push yourself harder with confidence and this can give you the impression you just increased your max - you haven't, it's just that you're now able to work closer to what it is.
So, you're not going to explode, you're not going to show everyone how unfit you are, and you're not going to achieve the max heartrate of a hamster if you keep pedalling hard. (You will get other benefits though, and these should be enough to keep you coming to Fox!)
Time to crack on? Let's do it!
by Angela Reed-Fox
Starting anything new is a bit of a challenge - however, with studio cycling, there are few things to remember that will make your first session much more enjoyable and effective.
Drink plenty of water the day before. Ensuring you're well hydrated before you start will mean you'll not tire so quickly, you'll get more from the session, and you'll recover more quickly too. Take water with you to your class, ensure it's easily accessible on your bike, and drink as needed through the session. Hydration doesn't stop at the end of the session - studio cycling is intense, and you'll sweat (which is good!) make sure you drink enough for the rest of the day (6-8 glasses) to avoid dehydration headaches. Tea and coffee also counts towards your fluid intake as long as it's made with water rather than all milk.
Wear cool clothes! The other 'cool', that is! Wear clothes that are comfortable and will keep you cool. Be aware though that you'll need to avoid 'flappy legs' - avoid anything on your bottom half that might interfere with the pedals. Also, bring a small towel - it's going to get sweaty!
Arrive early. Meet the instructor, talk about any injuries or special requirements you have - and let the instructor know you're new. You'll get a bit of special attention to make sure you're comfortable.
Choose your bike. If the studio has fans, it might be nice to choose a bike near a fan so you get a fresh breeze during your session. Being in view of studio mirrors enables you to check on your posture and technique. The instructor will be offering pointers - by taking these on board, you'll get a better workout.
Get a proper bike setup. Studio bikes can accommodate a tremendously wide variety of shapes and sizes, but everyone needs a proper setup for comfort as well as to enable you to get the most out of your session. If your saddle is too low, for example, you'll be far more likely to experience cramping, and be unable to make full use of your leg muscles as you're unable to extend properly. Arriving early will enable your instructor to give plenty of time to making sure you're set up comfortably and effectively on the bike.
Push and pull pedalling. As you pedal concentrate on pushing the pedal over the top of the pedal stroke and pulling back along the bottom. This will help to work your glutes and hamstrings on the back of your legs as well as the quads on the front. Think about trying to pedal 'full circles' rather than the usual pushing down motion.
It's not just about your legs. Your upper body will also be strengthened with the right technique. Think about minimising upper body movement and channelling the power down through your legs. Often riders can waste energy by using bodyweight to turn the pedals when their upper bodies flop from side to side or bob up and down. Minimising movement forces your muscles to support your bodyweight - extra bonus! As you get used to it, this will become second nature. Your core strength will improve and you'll get more from each session.
Don't do anything you're not comfortable doing. Studio cycling is a tremendously effective activity for burning calories and strengthening muscles. As with trying to build any habit, if it's enjoyable, you're more likely to stick with it. Enjoy the session - take in the music, enjoy challenging your body, and then enjoy the recovery afterwards. Don't try to do too much, don't try to keep up with others - just follow the instructor, dip out of anything you're not comfortable. To start with, you may find it difficult to do a standing climb, but as your core strength improves, you'll be able to stay out of the saddle for longer. Take it all in your stride - don't try to achieve everything all in one go. There's time.
The key is to prepare so that you can enjoy the session. There are tremendous gains to be made from a regular studio cycling class - and they can all be yours!
Ready to book? Click here to register (if you haven't already) and book your first class.