Fitness: The One-Two Cycling Punch

September 10 2012, 1:40 PM

If you're like me, making an extra trip to the gym specifically to lift weights is as enjoyable as an extra, just-for-fun round of dry needling. If I pick up a dumbbell, there's a good chance that I'm still in my running clothes because I latched on a weight-lifting session to the three-miler I had to do that day. I'm pulling off the workout Band-Aid, so why not get two workouts done at once?

Enter Epic Ryde, an indoor cycling studio on Sheridan opened last fall by Annie Garland and Lori Melchior, and a solution for get-it-over-with exercisers. Their Epic Mix class combines 30 minutes of cycling with 30 minutes of TRX, a suspension training system that uses your body weight to build strength and make your arms really, really sore.

It was God-awful early the morning I went, but it's hard to complain about a 6 a.m. class that has a view of the sunrise on Sloan's Lake. You can choose to start on the bike or TRX; either way, you'll be tired for the second half. Epic Ryde uses RealRyder "stationary" bikes—"stationary" because it moves and leans as you do, which means you'll work to keep the bike steady like you would on the road to add an extra bout of small muscle building. By the time you're through pedaling and on to TRX, your muscles will shake like a tiny chihuahua. And in an hour, you'll have a full workout under your belt.

It's a benefit that does more than just save time. Recently, an 18-year-long Harvard study found that combining cardio and weights decreases your chance for type 2 diabetes by an astounding 59 percent. If you're looking to lose weight, the order of cardio then weights has been shown to burn more calories and produce a stronger testosterone response that will build and maintain muscle better (as long as you're refueling properly afterwards).

If you want something other than weight training to follow up your ride, consider:

Cycling + Vinyasa Yoga: Qi Ryders, 3170 E. Colfax Ave., $15 (drop-in)

Cycling + Dance (at the same time!): Breathe Yoga & Cycling Studio, 2033 E. Colfax Ave., $15 (drop-in)

Cycling + Rowing: Pura Vida Fitness & Spa, 2955 E. First Ave. (membership only)