It seems like every time you look, there’s a new connected indoor spin bike on the market. Thanks to mega-brands like Peloton, indoor cycling is having a major moment in the fitness space and there are no signs of it slowing down anytime soon.

For those who used to clip in every week at their local studio, COVID-19 has derailed their fitness plans. The great news is that you can replicate that experience from home by purchasing a smart exercise bike. 

But can your at-home experience compare with the rush of attending a live, in-studio spin class? Will you be as motivated to push yourself? Will you still benefit from the sense of community and camaraderie?

In this article, I’m comparing the experience and benefits of taking a spin class at your local studio to spinning at home on a connected bike so that you can decide if the investment into a smart cycle is a good choice for you or if you should wait for your studio to open back up so you can start attending live classes again.

Benefits of Indoor Cycling

Before we dive into the comparison, let’s first discuss the benefits of indoor cycling that apply regardless of how or where you decide to cycle.

Whether you’re an experienced cycler or you’re brand new to this form of cardio, there are many benefits to be reaped, both physically and mentally, when you participate. Indoor cycling is challenging, which means you’re likely to see the results you want by committing to a consistent routine.

In addition, brands like the peloton make it more of a full-body workout as you can get on and off the bike workouts. As many of us know and realize, Peloton has the highest sticker price for their bikes. However, there are affordable and excellent exercise bikes comparable to Peloton that can give you the exact same experience all at a much lower price point.

Here are some of the top benefits of spin class:

  • Improve your cardiovascular health
  • Increase your strength and endurance
  • Burn calories
  • Improve your posture
  • Reduce your risk factors for type II diabetes and heart disease
  • Protect your joints

The bottom line is that indoor cycling is a great, low-impact cardio option that allows you to push yourself without risking injury due to stress and strain on your joints.

Spin Class Vs. At-Home Cycling

Attending a spin class and cycling at home with a smart, connected spin bike is honestly very similar. The biggest and most obvious difference is that when you attend a spin class, you’re inside a fitness studio or gym, and when you use a smart bike, you’re at home.

Other than that, you can expect a very similar experience thanks to smart bikes with integrated screens, and programming that replicate the studio experience. 

The key similarities and differences

There's some key differences and similarities that you'll want to know about before you go ahead and purchase a gym membership or a brand new indoor smart bike. Below, you'll see what's the same and what's different.

What's the same?

Both in-person classes and home rides allow you to:

  • Be taught by an experienced instructor
  • Feel as though you’re part of a community
  • Cheer on others
  • Reach personal bests
  • Track your progress and goals
  • Push yourself to new limits

What's different?

Let's check out what's different so you can make the best choice for your fitness goals.

  • In-person class requires that you leave your home. Home workouts allow you to stay within the comfort of your own home.
  • In-person class means you must participate in the studio’s schedule. When you’re at home, you can workout when you want.
  • In-person classes mean in-person interactions with the instructor and other participants. At home, you’re connected through a digital interface.

The Bottom Line: Can you experience the same workout and sense of community by spinning from home?

I say 100%, yes. Anyone who has tried a piece of connected gym equipment or even used an app to stream live or on-demand workouts knows that these workouts are made to give you the same rush of energy and excitement that you get when you attend in-person.

For many die-hard gym-goers, COVID-19 woke them up to the fact that they don’t need to go to the gym in order to get a great workout in. And, in fact, they actually prefer the comfort and convenience of sweating it out from their living room to driving to the gym and adhering to a schedule.

When it comes to cycling, the industry is amazing right now. There has never been a better time to jump into the home cycling trend than now. And not just because many spin studios are closed, but because the equipment available right now is stellar.

From Peloton and MYX Fitness to Bowflex and Echelon, there are so many brands that are out there competing for a share of the market - and as the consumer, you get to benefit from the innovative machines and the amazing content.

About the Author
Tami Smith, CPT, Nutritionist

Tami Smith is a certified Macro Coach, Nutritionist and an ACE certified fitness trainer, specializing in pre and post-natal fitness. She studied business and earned her bachelor's degree in Business Economics. Tami is a mom of two and women's health advocate. Her passion is to help people live a fit, healthy life through proper nutrition and exercise!

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