With boutique cycling studios popping up everywhere you look, spin class is rapidly becoming one of the most popular kinds of workout classes. Spin class not only allows you to burn a ton of calories but also can be a lot of fun. In this article, Walter Keating Jr. discusses a few ways to get the most of your experience at spin class.
#1. Get There At Least 10 Minutes Early.
Especially for your first spin class, show up at least 10 minutes early. You’ll want to have some time to adjust your bike seat and handlebars before class starts. This is crucial because the wrong setup can ruin your entire experience if you’re spending the whole class leaning too far forward because your seat is too far back, or spending the whole class bothered because your bike seat is too low and you have a deep knee bend when you’re pedaling. Give yourself time to get it right before class.
Most spin studios provide shoes with the proper kind of cleats, and getting your spinning shoes clipped in can take some getting used to. If you don’t know how to adjust your bike, or need help clipping in, flag an instructor or a staff member to help. They can show you how your resistance knob works and where it’s located, usually below the handlebars. For most bikes, turning the resistance knob to the right increases resistance, and turning it left decreases resistance.
#2. Do Your Best But Don’t Stress.
If you’re a beginner at spin class, the instructor’s cues on the cadence (how fast you pedal) or resistance (how hard it is) numbers to aim for are just suggestions. Nobody in the class can see what resistance you’re using on your bike, and most people are laser-focused only on their own workout.
If you can’t keep up with what the instructor is telling you to do, slow it down or peel off some resistance. Focus on getting the most out of your own workout within your own limits. Even if you can’t do everything, the instructor says in your first class, if you keep going back, you’ll get there quickly. You’ll still get a great workout even if you can’t always get to those numbers.
#3. Expect A Lot of Variety.
If you haven’t gone to spin class before, you might wonder how 45 minutes of pedaling on a stationary bike could possibly be interesting, but the variety is actually one of the best parts of going to spin class.
In your class, the instructor will switch between a “flat road” – fast, easy pedaling, and “climbing” – slow, heavy pedaling, often in a standing up position. Some instructors will tell you to do “tap backs,” where you tap your seat back while standing up pedaling, which feels like a dance move. Many spin classes have an arms segment where you continue pedaling while lifting small free weights. And every instructor is different. If you don’t like one class, try another instructor.
#4. You Can Embrace Your Competitive Side
Some spin classes have leaderboards during class that show a ranking of class participants’ efforts. Have no fear — these rankings can be virtually anonymous, as you can pick your own nickname for the board or opt-out entirely. For some attendees, having a goal like finishing in the top 10 can be highly motivating. While you may not be interested in competing the first time you go, you might want to try it after you’ve gone to a few classes.
#5. Enjoy the Music.
One of the best parts of going to spin class is the motivating music. Instructors often take much pride in picking their playlists, ranging from the ‘80s to hip hop to pop music, among others. A good playlist will distract you from the amazing workout you’re getting and make it more enjoyable. You’ll also get variety with the music as most instructors will use fast music for flat road segments and slower-paced music for climbing. It will feel like an emotional journey from start to finish.
Spin class is not only fun, but it’s also a great way to make a positive lifestyle change. If you become a regular at spin class, you can burn calories, become fitter, and reap all the benefits of regular cardio exercise.
About Walter Keating Jr.
Walter Keating Jr. is a Toronto-based fitness coach specializing in triathlon coaching and corrective exercise training. He graduated from the Fitness and Lifestyle Management Program at George Brown College and immediately started his professional career. Mr. Keating has worked as an endurance coach, personal trainer, spinning instructor, and corrective exercise trainer.