Hello! I’m back for my final IDEA World Fitness recap! This one will mainly focus on some controversial topics in indoor cycling today.

Session 1: Revisiting the 3500 Calorie Rule

We’ve all heard this, right? 3500 calories equals a pound. A 3500 pounds deficit in a week= a pound of weight lost over a week. Did you ever wonder where this came from?

The calculation comes from the energy released by burning a certain mass of fat (based on a bomb calorimeter for my science minded friends). Human fat tissue is 87% fat and 13% water, so when water is factored out, we get about 3500 calories.

If this is true, how come when a person cuts calories and loses weight, the weight loss plateaus? There are a few reasons. The first is initially a lot of water weight is lost. At the beginning of weight loss, the body burns lots of glycogen (carbs), which absorbs water. But besides just the original water weight, weight loss also slows for several other reasons:

-Resting metabolic rate decreases. In a calorie deficit, the body adapts and becomes more efficient. Additionally, a lower body mass means a lower calorie need. So what can we do? 1. Reduce calorie deficit slowly so that the body doesn’t adapt as much and 2. Be realistic about weight loss expectations and timeline.

Session 2: Hot Topics in the Saddle

My final session of IDEA was with Amy Dixon, who won fitness instructor of the year at the opening ceremonies. Needless to say I was in good hands! This session focused on several newly emerging trends in the cycling world today, and I’d like to share a few things with you from that!


1. Spinning with lots of resistance on the bike will make your legs big.

There’s a rumor going around the media these days that spin will make your legs bulky. Celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson stated that cycling will make your legs bulky. Why is this not the case? First of all, we don’t have the testosterone necessary to make us bulky (we as in women). Second, spin is cardio, not strength training. To really build muscle mass, you need muscle hypertrophy (an increase in the size of the muscle), which happens when you are pushing as much resistance as you can, and couldn’t do one more rep (like testing your one rep max squat). Are you ever doing that in a spin class? Doing at something at a one rep capacity? Let me break it down. 80 revolutions per minute. 45 minutes. That’s 3600 reps. That will not increase your muscle mass. You may get a temporary muscle pump, caused by an increased blood flow to the muscle working, but that goes away quickly.

2. Upper body strength work on the bike

I will go right out and say it-I don’t believe in. I still go to some classes that do it, which makes me hypocritical, but I don’t believe in. So what did the best fitness instructor of 2015 have to say about it?

Don’t do it! First of all, it’s not something you would do on an outdoor bike, and most spin programs are based on outdoor cycling. Some other reasons?

-Thousands of studies have shown that by doing upper body work on the bike, you reduce the overall power output.

-You can only really focus on one plane of movement.

-You aren’t in the correct position to do these exercises. In addition, because of this it’s not really functional.

-It’s really only shoulders and triceps, not total body.

-It’s overstimulation of the front of the shoulders, which are already worked just being on a bike normally. Most people who spend all day on a computer are in this same position-we really should be focusing on extension to counteract all of this. This can lead to muscle imbalances.

-You can’t continue to get stronger. There’s only so much you can do with 2 lb dumbbells, and after a few weeks you will plateau-and it’s not practical to have bigger, heavier weights on a bike. Therefore, there’s a limit to the strength that can be gained.

The cycling portion of the workout was awesome and high energy, and I left feeling so inspired and grateful. What a fantastic way to end the week.


I refueled with a free sample from the previous day, and put some fresh clothes on before heading to the airport.

I can’t express enough how amazing this conference was. The expo was a lot of fun, the people were awesome and excited and enthusiastic, and I was doing something I loved and care deeply for. I really do feel like I found myself again at the conference, and I’m excited to take what I learned back to my classes. I definitely want to go back next year!