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Beginning Spin Class Tips

Taking Your First Spin Class Is Not as Scary as You Think

Spin class can be downright intimidating. The padded shorts and cycling shoes many people wear to class can make it feel intense and exclusive, and the loud music and even louder instructor help raise the scare factor. While an indoor cycling class is an intense cardio workout — one 45-minute class can burn upward of 500 calories! — it doesn't have to be scary.

What to Wear

Since you will be sweating, choose moisture-wicking clothes with good breathability. Unless you have the option to rent cycling shoes from the studio, regular athletic shoes are fine to use; there's no need to invest in cycling shoes until you know the class is for you. In addition to what you're wearing, also bring water and a towel to class. To dress like a pro, take a look at these gear essentials from Allie Fell, an instructor at SoulCycle.

When to Arrive

If the gym or studio doesn't have an online reservation system, get there early to reserve a bike; the sign-up sheet is usually put out an hour before class starts (either at the front desk or hanging outside the classroom). Insider tip: during peak times, the list starts to fill up about 20 minutes before class starts.

Besides booking your bike ahead of time, arrive to class 10-15 minutes early. This will allow you time to talk to the instructor and get help setting up your bike. If the instructor isn't there yet, don't be afraid to ask someone around you for help. Not having your bike set up properly can result in lower back, knee, or shoulder pain. Before class begins, be sure to ask if there is any special jargon or hand positions you should know about — many boutique studios use there own names for moves and hand positions.

Related: Mistakes You're Making in Spin Class

Class Rundown

There's high-energy music blasting that keeps you moving — and motivated! — for the entire class, and be prepared to sweat. The instructor will guide you through the workout, telling you when to increase or lower resistance, pedal faster, and rise or sit from your saddle. You'll be guided through climbs, sprints, and muscle isolations with intermittent lower-resistance pedaling during cruising periods. Like any successful workout, keeping your core engaged is key. If you need to alter the instructions to make it through the class, go ahead and slightly decrease the tension or pedal slower. Remember that you are ultimately in control. As with anything new, know your limits, and as time goes on, you'll be sure to build up your strength and endurance!

Stacee15273445 Stacee15273445 3 years
that is still a no thanks for me...
deanna024 deanna024 6 years
Don't be intimidated by the class everyone! Only you know how fast or what resistance you have. You do it at your own pace and ability level. We have a 70-year-old man who comes to our classes, and he some times just bikes while we are all climbing or running standing up.
Sophiew1 Sophiew1 6 years
I just bought my own spin bike. Best investment I've ever made in my health!
flyinggrip flyinggrip 6 years
I've been spinning for about a month now. My advice to those of you trying it for the first time is to try to stick it out for a few classes. The first class is the hardest but it gets better. I was actually surprised how quickly cool down came when I went to spin class last night.
enaconda enaconda 8 years
I had my first spinning class yesterday and I am thrilled I worked up the guts to go try it - alone. I was so intimidated but you really get hooked on the music and the hour almost flew by. Sure, there were tough hills and climbs, but it only makes you feel so much better in the end when you know you worked your butt off that hard.
Veronix Veronix 8 years
I love spinning! I highly recommend it!
amybdk amybdk 8 years
Thanks, DeviousMuse! The class last night was unfortunately full. I'll try again tomorrow! Wish me luck!
MSL83 MSL83 8 years
Spinning offers the best exercise high and its highly addictive! I started going two months ago and now I must spin 3-4 times a week or I'll go crazy. The best feeling is afterwards when you finished grueling workout and you're completely drenched in sweat. You feel strong, powerful, and proud because you know it was an intense workout!
PRgopher PRgopher 8 years
I just started spinning last November. I don't know about all spin bikes, but ours have bottle holders just like the ones on a normal bike, so it is helpful to bring a bottle that fits into those. Also, I always sweat a LOT, so I like to sit near the fan. Best decision I ever made to go to class! Now I go twice a week!
DeviousMuse DeviousMuse 8 years
amybdk - I think you'll be okay, as the class is very much suited towards your level -- the bikes aren't pre-set at a certain level - they allow you to self-adjust the resistance as much or as little as you're comfortable with. My first spin class was one of the first workouts I did after getting clearance to exercise after a skiing accident, and though I was dripping with sweat and exhausted, it was well worth it!
kate516 kate516 8 years
Just a warning to beginning spinners -- your bottom will more than likely hurt after the first couple of classes. For some people gel seats help this problem, but either way your tush will hurt some the next day. Also, keep your abs engaged when doing hovering/attacking movements on the bike. It'll prevent you from injuring your back. Just something to keep in mind! Spinning is an awesome workout. Good luck!
amybdk amybdk 8 years
I just got a gym membership today! They offer spin classes and I have a question for those of you with experience: If I haven't worked out on a regular basis for about a year, is it ok to jump right in to spin classes, or should i try to build up my stamina first?
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Spin classes kick my butt!
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I wish my gym offered a spinning class. I'd really like to try it. I do sometimes work out on the stationary bike, but I don't think I get nearly the intensity that I'd probably get while spinning.
sunnytropic sunnytropic 8 years
Don't be afraid to try spinning! I wish I had tried it sooner! Luckily I did have a friend to go with my first time because I spent months (years probably) being too scared to try it, and now I love it! I go 2-3x a week at my gym. All the instructors I've had have been more than helpful when setting up the bike in the right positions (ie seat, handlebar height, etc) Go for it!
Taadie Taadie 8 years
love spinning. definitely dont forget the water though. it is crucial.
Feesje Feesje 8 years
Excellent timing! Yesterday I went to my first spinning class. I was the only one who did it for the first time, but the instructor talked me through all the routines and was very helpful. Afterwards I felt like I could throw up and die, but about an hour later I felt so great that I tried it. It's not something I'm going to do every day, but probably once a week, beside the regular gym visits. So don't get intimidated, just go for it, ask for instructions and help when needed, and you'll feel great when you tried it!
MorganW88 MorganW88 8 years
This came right on time! I just went to the YMCA today and signed up for my first ever spinning class tomorrow. I'm so scared, but I've always wanted to do it. I hope I don't embarrass myself!
ep24 ep24 8 years
i was completely intimidated to take a spinning class. i got tired of using the elliptical every day, and i decided to bite the bullet and take a class on a weekend (when the classes are often less crowded than on weekdays). i got there early and the instructor helped set me up. long story short, i got an amazing workout and have been taking spinning classes regularly ever since. i thought i was in really good shape, but i had to re-think that the morning after my first spinning class! i have since taken two friends who were similarly intimidated and who now agree it was a great workout. there's always someone around who will help you set up your bike and you can always lower the intensity if you think the instructor wants you to go somewhere you don't think you can go :)
n9282 n9282 8 years
Don't forget your gel seat! You can pick one up at Wal-Mart or other store - and it will really make a difference, and help you get to the next class - until your muscles strengthen and you get used to the seat.
Kiralee Kiralee 8 years
@ Renees3: Give it a try, you can always leave the class if it isn't the right thing for you! Trust me I did it in one of my classes (sure it wasn't spinning but its the same in one way or another)
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
i admit that I'm totally scared to try spinning. I wish I just had a friend to go with or something. The people are so intimidating and it sounds so hard. It's one of my goals though to try it. Soon!
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