If you have already broken with your New Year’s fitness regime, this could be the gadget for you. It’s the home version of the High Octane Ride, a Cloud-connected, high-intensity exercise bike I featured here a year ago, and I’ve been testing it intensively – if intensive is really the word for a measly 10 minutes, three times a week, while not even breaking a sweat.
The idea that this amount of exercise can get a sluggard like me fit sounds like the ultimate free lunch. Add to this the fact that of each 10 minutes, you are only pedalling fast (although brutally fast) for two 20-second bursts, and it sounds like a free banquet. This theory is nothing new. So what makes doing high-intensity exercise on this bike different from on a standard stationary bike? It’s that the High Octane Ride system connects to a sophisticated set of algorithms in the Cloud, which act, in effect, as a machine intelligence-driven personal trainer.
“Riding an ordinary bicycle flat-out for 40 seconds or spinning in the gym won’t give you these fitness results,” the company claims. The programming is based on a Cardiovascular Optimisation Logic, known as CAROL, which makes each ride bespoke and ensures that during the sprints you cycle as hard as you possibly can. It continually monitors your performance and heart rate, then pushes you more on your next ride – or relaxes your routine – by electronically altering the pedal resistance. All this happens automatically.
The ride it dictates for you is called the Wingate Sprint, also known as the Wingate Anaerobic Test. There’s a raft of proper, peer-reviewed science on the High Octane Ride website, to explain how and why this delivers measurable benefits in cardiovascular health, fat loss and insulin sensitivity.
The funny thingabout having the High Octane Ride at home – the office version has become a fixture at many workplaces, including, apparently, Barclays’ Canary Wharf HQ, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Accenture – is that even what seems a uniquely easy exercise routine still needs discipline. I came up with all manner of excuses not to do my 10 minutes, but when I actually did it, I felt immediately energised. Not only that, I also felt fitter and trimmer. I think it works.