I can only write from personal experience and mathematics. Personally, I’ve only been spinning for a short period of time so whether or not I’m losing weight it’s too soon to tell. The scale did go down a pound or two but it could be a combination of spinning and dietary habits.
The Mathematics of Weight Loss
You’ve got to burn about 3500 calories in order to lose a pound. You can burn anywhere from 600 to 1,000 calories per one hour class. The number of calories you burn during a spinning class depends on several factors including, but not limited to your current weight, current fitness level and spinning class intensity. The more you weigh and the higher your intensity the more calories you’ll burn.
To get a mathematical indication of how many calories you burn per spinning class, use one of the online calorie burning calculators such as the one found here on Glamour or Sparklepeople.
You’ll quickly notice the disparity in number of calories burned as calculated by both sites. When searching for a calorie burning calculator, see if you can find one that allows you to add variables such as intensity or duration.
The Physics of Spinning
No matter which site you use to calculate your calories burned, only you will know for sure whether or not you’re burning enough calories to offset the amount of calories you’re putting in on a daily basis. If you’ve been taking spinning classes for several months and have not lost any weight don’t feel discouraged. It could be because your intensity is not high enough or you’re offsetting the calories burned by eating too much.
It could also be that you’re very close to your ideal weight and is difficult for you to lose weight through spinning. Some folks increase the number of classes per week to burn more calories, other folks take fewer classes but vary their workouts using other types of exercises.
I’m currently using spinning classes as my reintroduction to working out. I need to get fit and lose a few pounds. From my past experiences with spinning, I’ve found that I toned up quite a bit and lost a couple of pounds but I never lost an excessive amount of weight.
My lack of weight loss could be for a number of reasons:
- I only took two to three spinning classes a week
- I was pretty close to my goal weight
- I needed to vary my workouts
- I ate like two pigs and a horse
Spinning: You Get What You Put Into It
Here are a few online success stories and forums with information on spinning and how spinning helped folks to lose weight. You’ll notice that most of these people used spinning combined with healthy eating and muscle strengthening exercise to achieve their goals (note to self, start a muscle strengthening routine).
The bottom line is: you get out of it what you put into it. Spinning is a fun way to tone up and get into shape, but it is not the final fitness destination. After reading a few other success stories, I realize how important it is to incorporate strength training and stretching (flexibility) in my fitness program. Oh well, I guess it’s time to investigate a few of the other classes offered at the gym. The journey continues…
Update March 2013: I’m quickly learning that weight loss (or should I say fat loss) is more about what you eat than how much you eat and exercise. Yes, exercise will burn calories and help to build muscle, but if we constantly shovel fat producing foods into our mouths, we’re fighting a losing battle. Try cutting carbs by 80% for a couple of weeks. Go through your normal exercise routine. See how you feel/look at the end of those weeks. If you’re like most folks, you’ll find that you’ve lost inches and fat. You might even lose a few pounds too.