Photo credit: Aberdeen Proving Ground
Are you a gym bunny but you've never tried an indoor cycling class before? I've been there. I've done it. Many times. It can scare people off. Just looking at those red faces in the gym vigorously pushing their pedals to please the shouting instructor. It looks hard doesn't it? You may think it's not for you, but anyone can do it and with a little bit of preparation it will be much easier and less scary than you might think. Just follow my advice and you will survive.
1. Build up your fitness first
If you haven't been active in a long time I would strongly suggest you build up your fitness first before attending your first spin class.
What I would suggest you do is start slowly by cycling for 10 minutes on a low to medium intensity 3 times a week to begin with. Every week increase your minutes (by 5) and if you feel comfortable also increase your level. Listen to your body and do what it feels right for you. After 4 weeks you should be on a medium to harder level and be able to do at least 25 minutes of cycling without a break. This will make your legs stronger and better prepared for your first indoor cycling class.
2. Choose your instructor carefully
If you pick a good instructor, you will enjoy it more. Instructors have different taste of music and what they play and find motivating may not exactly work for you.
Also, some instructors are better at guiding the whole class than others and understand that not everyone will hear what they are shouting so they repeat it twice within a couple of minutes. I've tried classes from different instructors and sometimes I felt a bit lost, having not heard the instructions which have not repeated again.
So how do you find a good instructor? It's simple - choose the most popular class. This will be the class which is always full and the best way to find out about it is by asking at the gym's reception.
3. Arrive early
Indoor cycling classes start on time and you need to make sure you arrive early so you have enough time to find your perfect bike and set it up correctly. When the instructor arrives he/she will help you set up your bike so it feels comfortable for you.
4. Bike selection and bike checks
Choose a bike from where you can see the instructor clearly, whether that's in a first, second or last row . This will make it much easier for you to follow the routine.
Normally the gym staff make sure the bikes are all in good working order but it's still a good idea to check your bike properly before you start the workout. Check the seat, pedals and straps and make sure the bike is not wobbly. If something doesn't feel right, just find another bike.
5. Wear the right clothing
When the room is full of people who sweat a lot it can become really warm quite fast. Wearing breathable and moisture wicking clothes will make your spin class much more comfortable.
6. Bring your towel
Towel is essential if you sweat a lot so you can easily wipe yourself when needed. If you forgot your towel, don't worry, you can still use paper towels or tissues instead but bring plenty. You never know how much you will really need.
This may sound obvious but I've seen people coming to an indoor cycling class with no drink. Bring a bottle of water with you! If you forgot it at home you can normally buy it at the gym, so no excuse! Drinking water during the workout will help you keep going for longer.
8. Do it at your own pace
During the duration of the class you will cycle through various levels as instructed, however you don't have to be at the level everyone else is on. Do it at the level you are comfortable with. Once your legs get stronger, you can adjust your levels and challenge yourself more.
9. Take a longer break
Indoor cycling classes include intervals when you pedal as hard as you can on a certain level and this is then followed by a short rest when you are pedaling slowly. Sometimes I find that breaks between the intervals are too short so I just rest for a few more seconds before proceeding, to catch my breath, but you can rest as long as you need to. You can even skip the interval altogether and just slowly pedal instead.
So there you have it. All the advice I can give you about spinning classes. You now have everything you need to become a indoor cycling master. So no more excuses!