The Effectiveness of Group Cycling Classes: Q&A With SoulCycle Instructor Laurie Cole

We caught up with fitness instructor Laurie Cole to learn about the effectiveness of group exercise classes.

Bobby Flay manages to stay fit and healthy even with a busy lifestyle as a chef, and he's eager to share his healthy eating and fitness plan with fans in a seven-part Web series, Bobby Flay Fit.

In Episode 5 of Bobby Flay Fit, Bobby heads to a group exercise class with his wife, Stephanie, and friend Katie Lee. He likes cycling because it's a low-impact exercise so it's easier on his joints, and the camaraderie of working out in a group helps him stay motivated. Plus, it's a fun workout.

Healthy Eats caught up with the SoulCycle instructor Laurie to learn more about the effectiveness of cycling and how it can be incorporated into a busy lifestyle.

How should someone interested in taking up cycling get started?

Laurie Cole: I am a strong believer in the buddy system. Grabbing a friend to start something new reduces the fear of failure. It could be cycling or any fitness class, but if you have someone to rely on, you are more likely to stay inspired and committed. It's also helpful to communicate to the instructor that you are new.

Is cycling safe for everyone?

LC: Cycling is really one of the only ways to get cardio exercise without impact. So for anyone who has injuries or is pregnant, this is a great way to exercise safely.

How does cycling affect the body?

LC: The impact is universally positive from cycling. There is a duality of strength and toning that occurs as well as a lengthening of muscles. Indoor cycling at SoulCycle is a full-body workout. The legs, core, arms — we get it all in 45 minutes. In a fast-paced lifestyle, it really becomes addictive to get a workout done in under an hour and have it be effective.

What do you eat or drink before and/or after a workout?

LC: It is so vital to eat before doing cardio. I tend to have the same thing every day before my class: I eat a hard-boiled egg and drink raw coconut water by Harmless Harvest. Postworkout, I drink either a Green Juice by BluePrint or fresh juice from Juice Generation.

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