Spin class is a great indoor cardiovascular exercise routine that anyone can join in on. Deciding to go to an indoor cycling class for the first time may be intimidating, but it’s a fun and rewarding experience. With a few tips on how to get prepared for your first class and what to expect, you'll be ready to start cycling!
What to Expect at Your First Spin Class
You’re walking through the spin cycling studio doors for a beginner spin class. Where do you even begin? Take a look around and grab one of the bikes to set up.
You want your bike as comfortable as possible for your workout, so it’s important to adjust it for your perfect fit. Just like a normal outdoor bike, adjust the seat to come up to your hip. Once you’re on the bike, clip your feet into the pedals and make sure you can pedal properly. Most people prefer to have their handlebars closer together to help with posture, but feel free to adjust these to whatever position makes you feel comfortable.
At your first spin class, you'll probably be wondering about the spin class basics. You’ll be surrounded by other cyclists, some new and some regulars, and you’ll be guided by a dedicated instructor to guide you through your entire experience. When class starts, the lights dim and the music starts pumping. These classes typically run for 30-60 minutes depending on the class and start with a warm-up to get you and your body prepared. Towards the end of the class, the workout winds down with a cool-down period to relax your body after your intense cardio workout.
Spinning Class Tips
Now that you’re familiar with the layout of the cycling class and what to expect on your first day, here are some tips to help you look like a pro:
1. Get to the Studio Early
Give yourself 10-15 minutes before class starts to familiarize yourself with the studio and your bike. This amount of time is perfect for setting up your bike for the proper fit before class begins. Feel free to engage with other cyclists in the class or even the instructor! To make you feel more comfortable, the instructor can help to ensure your bike is set up properly for you.
2. Wear Breathable Clothing
Wondering what to wear to a spin class? Spin classes involve intense cardio, so sweating — even excessively — is inevitable. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re wearing the proper clothing that will allow you to sweat properly and won’t get in the way. The best type of clothing to wear for spin class is lightweight and breathable fabrics. We prefer athletic clothes because they allow for the best range of motion and give you the most comfort during the class.
3. Consider Your Footwear Options
You’re more than welcome to wear normal running shoes for your class. Running shoes clip into the bike pedals so you can have a secure ride without worrying about your feet sliding out. However, many people prefer to wear dedicated cycling shoes. Cycling shoes enhance your cardio workout even more by targeting muscles in your legs. The form of the shoes helps engage your muscles properly to lessen the strain on your feet and ankles that would occur from running shoes.
4. Bring Plenty of Water
Water is one of the most important things to bring to any workout. Particularly during cardio workouts, it’s essential to give your body all of the water that it needs. Your body is going to sweat more than it’s used to, so make sure you fuel up with enough water. Bring a few bottles of water or a large reusable bottle to stay hydrated before, during and after your cycling class.
5. Eat a Small Meal Prior
It’s important to eat before your class to ensure your body has the nutrition it needs and that you have enough energy for the workout. The best types of food to eat before cardio are carbs and protein. Carbohydrates help fuel your energy and protein helps engage your muscles. With that being said, don’t go overboard with your meal because that may upset your stomach during the exercise. Eat a small, light meal roughly an hour to two hours before your class to fuel your body. It’s also good practice to eat after your spin class to refuel your body again.
6. Pace Yourself
You may be in a class filled with expert cyclists and people that come every week, but you don’t have to keep up with them. It’s totally normal and expected to go a little slower and with less resistance than the regular cyclists in the group and the instructor. It’s important not to outdo yourself by burning yourself out. Spin classes work numerous muscle groups, and your muscles may need time to adjust to the intense exertion. Remember, it’s your first class, so pace yourself to what you can do. If you need to take breaks during the class, that is totally fine! Take breaks as you need for water or just to take a quick breath.
7. Try Adjusting the Resistance Knob
As mentioned in the last tip, you can adjust the resistance of your bike for a more or less intense cycling experience. The knob is right below your handlebars and is there for you to adjust as needed. It’s meant to mimic going up or downhill, like on an outdoor bike. More resistance is supposed to feel like going uphill, so it will take more strength and muscle to pedal as opposed to less resistance. Again, it’s important not to burn yourself out, so adjust the resistance knob as needed and don’t feel pressured to make it more resistant than you can handle.
8. Check Your Posture
Your posture is important to ensure your muscles are working properly for this workout. Keep your back straight rather than hunched over to avoid straining your back. If you find yourself hunching over, your handlebars may be too far apart, so consider making them closer together. Keeping your core engaged rather than straining the back muscles is the goal of cycling classes, so be sure you're aligned properly over your bike.
Find Your Y and Attend Your First Spin Class
Now that you have all of the tips and pointers of what to expect for your first spin class, it’s time to find a spin class and sign up. Spin class doesn’t need to be intimidating. Find a Y location that’s best for you and start cycling!