Indoor cycling offers break from working out in the summer heat

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At a time of year, it's just too hot to be working out outside, CycleBar Dunwoody instructor Angela Behnken is bringing her own kind of heat.

Only, she's in a 48-bike air-conditioned indoor cycling studio.

"We like say you're going nowhere on a bike, in the dark, and we can do incredible things with that," Behnken says.

She leads group classes that focus on interval training, is a studio surrounded by speakers that pump in high-energy music.

Behnken says indoor cycling is a great alternative if you like to run, but can't right now because of the heat, or need to give your joints a break.

But, she cautions, having the proper form is key.

"We need to put all our weight in our back, in our bottoms, and keep a light handgrip on the rails," Behnken says.  "That means our knees aren't pushing forward over our ankles, which creates stress on our knees and ankle joints."

Here, they ride for 45 minutes, taking short cool down breaks.

"So for 42 minutes you are working hard with intervals, about 20 to 30 intervals per class, which means your heart is going up and down nd up and down," Behnken says.

Indoor cycling can burn anywhere from about 350 calories for a low-intensity 45-minute session to 550 calories, if you are riding full-throttle.

If you are a new rider, Behnken has a couple of tips.

"So, number one, keep the knees behind the gear knob, and make sure your knees are in line with your ankles, no matter what kind of bike you're on," she says.

Secondly, fuel up before you ride.

"We see people not eating before class," she says.  "So, if you're coming in without energy, we're burning so many calories, and we're working hard on our heart, so you need to have fuel to burn, and drink water throughout class."

So, before you ride, she recommends grabbing a piece of fruit or a protein smoothie.

"Eat a banana before you come in and workout," she says. "You're getting protein, you're getting a little bit of sugar, and you've got something in your body to burn."

Behnken says she loves the physical challenge, and burning off stress.

"I think that's why the industry has grown so much," she says.  "It's effective, and gosh we feel good about ourselves afterward."