If I had a Shot Block for every time I have been asked this question in some variation by an innocent female rider, I would be well hydrated and heavily caffeinated (please note: not all Shot Blocks contain caffeine. But keep reading our blog on the benefits of a caffeinated JoyRide!).
The truth is, I get this question on a weekly basis and my inclination is to shout out: "NO, of course that won't happen!" I want riders to love indoor cycling without reservation. But, as a fitness professional and one who seeks evidence based inquiries over opinion, I decided to do my homework and offer an informed explanation. For the record, the answer is still "NO, of course that won't happen from a JoyRide!"
Here's what other experts and bloggers say on the topic:
1. Climbs are an excellent way to build strength and rev up metabolism. Muscles burn more calories than fat, so increased muscle mass means you are burning calories while relaxing on the couch or chatting on the phone.
2. Muscles are built on lower repetitions of heavy lifting. The resistance of the brake on the flywheel is too low to be considered heavy lifting, rather one will develop firmer stronger legs. Muscle mass increase is not likely from spinning classes.
3. Our leg size, just like our height and hair color, is heavily dependent upon our genetic make up. You will likely get more accurate information about your quads by looking at mom and dad and siblings than spending time reading dense exercise physiology texts. For better or worse, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
4. In general, spinning or indoor cycling does not cause hypertrophy of quadricep muscles. Check out bikers on the road - you will find lean and sculpted legs on both men and women who ride regularly.
While I recognize that riders come to JoyRide with an array of goals and purposes, my hope is that an indoor cycling class is a self-esteem booster and an emotional interlude that serves to recharge and strengthen both character and body. With dedication and regularity, I guarantee that riders will lose or maintain weight loss goals and look fabulous in those Lululemon thigh-hugging leggings.