psycle

The lowdown on Psycle - the exercise class loved by celebrities including Victoria Beckham

Alex Light

Hate spinning? I get it. Trudging away on a static bike at your local gym can feel dull and really tough. Enter Psycle - an indoor cycling fitness craze that has gained a legion of celebrity fans including Victoria Beckham and Millie Mackintosh.

Essentially, it's a party on a bike. It's inspired by spin classes like SoulCycle that have gained cult-like status across the pond (Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Lena Dunham and Jake Gyllenhaal are fans) and you could almost be in a nightclub... Held inside a low-lit room with multi-coloured disco strobes, you are at times plunged into darkness as dance music blares out and you perform a high-intensity workout (think push-ups on your bike, a weight-lifting song, sprint intervals and seriously high resistance stretches).

Victoria's Secret angel Alessandra Ambrosio is a big fan of SoulCycle

We spoke to Psycle's CEO, lead instructor and nutritionist Rhian Stephenson to get the lowdown on the cult class... My first, most pressing question is how effective is it for toning up/burning fat?

"It's incredibly effective," says Rhian. "You can burn up to 800 calories per class." Woah - sounds good to me.

"We see people who ride regularly change shape very quickly so three times a week is recommended to really notice a difference. Psycle classes are also great for mood and confidence, so when you combine that with toning up it becomes a great cycle of positive reinforcement... Better mood, more energy, better food choices, more inclined to exercise - they all feed into each other."

Essentially, it's a party on a bike

What about the science behind it, how does the class work to exercise the body? "It's a full-body workout, combining high intensity intervals with metallic conditioning so it's a thorough workout from head to toe - taking riders through climbs, sprints, jogs and high intensity intervals," says Rhian.

"The choreography and weights ensure you work your whole body, strengthen the core, build upper body strength and muscular tone - and have fun in the process!"

As for how best to combine your sessions with eating the right food, Rhian advises to look at what you consume post-workout. "What you eat after your workout is far more important than what you eat before your workout," she says.

The workout class can burn up to 800 calories

"Your muscles will only be able to perform as well as they have recovered from the previous session, so ensure that you refuel with good quality protein for muscle repair, carbohydrates to replenish muscle glycogen (energy) and nutrient rich greens to deliver adequate vitamins and minerals."

Rhian outlined an ideal post workout meal - it involves good quality lean protein (chicken or turkey), some starch like sweet potato or brown rice for the energy replenishment and lots of vitamin-rich veggies. If you prefer drinking a shake straight after your workout, make sure you have a good balance of protein, unsweetened plant-based milk, a handful of greens and a small amount of fruit.

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