Go for a Spin: Tips to Get You Through You First Cycling Class

 spin class

Have you been tempted to try a spin class, but are too intimdated when you see the sweaty, red-faced crowds filing out of the classroom? Well, it’s time to get over your fear and sign up for a class. Spinning is an awesome high-energy workout that will leave sweaty, exhausted and overall feeling amazing.

Many people are intimidated before their first class but there is no reason to back away. Here’s a look at what you’re in for and what you should do to be prepared for your first class.

Dress Code: While some people opt for padded bike shorts, this isn’t necessary. It will make for a slightly more comfortable ride, but spandex pants or shorts of any kind will serve you just fine. Class tends to get hot and sweaty so spandex shorts with a sports bra and tank top will work. As for shoes, you don’t need to go out and buy spin shoes at first. Wear sneakers, the harder the bottom of the shoe, the more comfortable you will be. Once you are a regular spin-goer, invest in a pair of cycling shoes. They will make a huge difference in your ride. I like the Shimano and Pearl Izumi. When you do make the jump to ride in cycling shoes, make sure you also get the proper clips installed so they work with the spin bike you ride on.

Get There Early: Arrive to class about 15 minutes before it starts so you have time to talk with the instructor and get help setting up your bike. Proper bike set up is key for your comfort and safety. Let the instructor know that it’s your first class, ask for help setting up the bike. There are a variety of bike styles at different gyms so there isn’t one perfect way to set up. The most basic tip is have the seat at about your hip height and the handle bars around the same height but slightly higher (and significantly higher if you have back problems/pains). Some bikes also have monitors that track your speed so if your bike does have a monitor attached, ask the instructors for the basic details on how it works and what info it relays.

It’s your Own Ride: Some people are afraid of taking a spin class because they don’t think they are in as good of shape as the other people in the class. Luckily, this doesn’t matter. Each bike has a resistance knob and only YOU are in charge of this. The more you turn the knob, the harder the resistance becomes. If your instructor has you riding up a steep hill, adding tons of resistance, and you just can’t push it any harder, it’s ok to back off and lower your resistance. No one around you will know (or care) what your resistance is set at. It’s your ride and your ride only; you are in charge of how hard you want to work in class. The first couple of classes you will probably be getting used to the different resistance levels and that’s ok. The more you go, the more you will know how hard you can push yourself. If you really feel the need to back off, lighten the resistance but keep your legs pedaling. Try not to stop pedaling for the entire ride (even if it is with no resistance at times).

You’ll be Sore, It’s OK: The morning after your first class it’s quite likely your butt will be sore, and it is OK. For new spinners it feels almost like a bruise and trust me, it will go away! I don’t recommend two spin classes two days in a row for a beginner because the soreness from day 1 will make the second class brutal, but give it a couple of days and you’ll be good to go. Once you start spinning on a regular schedule, this soreness won’t occur anymore. I don’t know how it happens, but once you get into a routine and do it enough you just won’t get sore there anymore. Just trust that you have to keep going back and you’ll get past this hurdle. Is it unpleasnt? Sure it is, but get over it and it will go away eventually (padded shorts may help slightly).

Tell your friends! Now that you’re a spinning pro, bring along a newbie friend who has been too afraid to take her first. Give her these beginner tips and pass along the spinning love.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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    • L

      all good tips. but i have to disagree with shorts. hello thigh chaffage–i always go with something at least knee length.