If you’re preparing for a bike tour and need an indoor alternative to cycling – or if you’re just interested in burning a few calories and working up a good sweat – you might want to try out a spin class. These classes are typically offered at most gyms, and they’re usually about 45 minutes to an hour long. Spinning combines both strength training (mostly your lower body and torso) and cardio over a short time frame. So if you’re planning on trying a class out for the first time, plan on working very hard. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your first class.
First off, make sure to wear the right cycling clothes. Since you’re going to be doing a lot of cardio, it’s a good idea to wear workout clothes that are sweat-resistant and comfortable. Try to wear clothing that’s fitted—if your workout clothes are too baggy, they might ride up during the workout, which can be uncomfortable. Also, while some cycling classes require cycling shoes, many don’t, so make sure to check in advance with the instructor of the class you want to attend. Some classes even let you rent shoes.
When attending the class, don’t forget to bring a towel and some water. You will be sweating quite a bit during the workout, so you’ll want to hydrate as much as possible. Get there a little early for your first class and introduce yourself to the instructor. Often, instructors will ask first-time students to sit closer to the front row—that way, the instructor can assist with pacing and posture and keep an eye on them if they need any help. Your instructor can also help you adjust your spin bike’s handlebars, seat and pedals for the most efficient setup.
When you’re riding, go at a steady pace. If you feel like you can keep up with the rest of the class, go for it! But if you start feeling winded, don’t hesitate to pull back a bit. Once you’re finished with the class, don’t forget to stretch. Cardio can place a lot of strain on the muscles, so in order to avoid any build-up of lactic acid, take a few minutes after class to do some cycling stretches for your legs and torso.
Spinning isn’t just a great workout—it’s also tons of fun. Music, coaching and the companionship of other cyclists make a great way to get through the drippy, dreary days of winter. You may just be hooked. Have a great time!