A new spin on cardio

Throughout the 2018 spring semester, UAA is offering rev cycling, or group cycling, classes. Consisting of a stationary bike workout, each hour-long class offers a cardio workout, creating heat during the winter and spring months. It takes place twice a week and is free to all full-time students. Classes are also open to the rest of the university and Anchorage community.

Photo credit: Jian Bautista

The instructor, Skyla Walcott, is a graduate student in the biological sciences department. Walcott took cycling classes at UAA in previous years, and recently took over the instructor position. In her classes, Walcott puts her own spin on the tips and tricks she learned from past experiences.

“My goal for each class is to play fun music that appeals to everyone and keeps you motivated to focus on different types of spin training. A mix of everything to keep things interesting,” Walcott said.

Each cycling class kicks off with a 10 minute warm-up, leading into a 20 minute workout, consisting of resistance and sprint training. After a three minute break, another 20 minute cardio session takes place. The class wraps up with 10 minutes of cool down and stretching.

Although each class follows the same basic outline, sessions vary for each cyclist. According to Gregory Michaelson, civil engineering lab tech and regular attendee of the class, one of the many benefits of cycling is the self-motivation it encourages.

“You control how hard the class is. You have the ability to push harder or rest more, depending on how you feel during each class,” Michaelson said. “In a way, it is very flexible within each class.”

Another perk of the workout is the fact that it’s indoors. This creates an opportunity to keep up endurance, and even strengthen muscles further during the cold winter months.

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“I recently had knee surgery, and spin has really helped loosen it up and speed the recovery,” Greg Merrill, second-year graduate student in the biological sciences department, said. “It’s a great way to stay active in the cold, dark winters here.”

Rev cycling uses a variety of muscle groups within the cardio workout. Both Walcott and Michaelson find the sessions helpful in staying in shape for long mountain biking rides across trails and around town during the summer.

“Spin has been a way for me to work different muscle groups that are not used during running, and helps to strengthen my knees and aid different muscle groups for a much healthier body,” Walcott said. “Some students even use this class as a way to train for triathlons and long bike races.”

No experience is needed to attend a class. Although the workout is hard, it is both rewarding and fulfilling, according to Walcott.

“It’s all about knowing your body and knowing where you want to keep consistent and where you want to improve. Everyone is on different levels, going through the same motions to keep one another motivated,” Walcott said. “It’s your ride, and you make the most of it.”

To participate in the group cycling classes, only a current UAA Recreation Pass and a signed form are needed. Those without a pass are also welcome to attend by paying a daily-use fee for each class.

The rev cycling classes take place every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the entire spring semester, running from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The class is located in the stationary bike room in the Wells Fargo Sports Complex, Room 205.