What's the best method of taking full advantage of spinning classes, called CycleFit at my local YMCA? I've been attending these 45 minute classes 6 times a week.
Like others, an YMCA staff member leads the group, with loud music pounding away, as the cycling pace and friction on the front wheel is varied. Older than all the other twenty-somethings in the class, I watch my heart rate - of course at 57 max. BPM is 163 and my heart rate target is 106-139. Once warmed up I'm comfortable into the 150's, can push into the mid-160's, and once or twice in every session up to 172 or 173. Like every other spinning class, the intensity and cycling speed varies so that your heart rate has a chance to recover. I seem fine, have no pain, and my BPM declines almost as fast as every one else in the class.
But I'm not cranking up the friction knob as much as the leader yells out, e.g. "...give it one more full turn ... we're almost up to the top of that steep hill!" I know I don't have to follow suit, but am I overdoing it? Is there some technique I'm missing?