“Hit it!” For those of you who have tried a spin class before – this phrase either pumps you up or haunts your worst nightmares. For my non-spinning readers – this basically means pedal as fast as you flipping can, as though Ryan Gosling is trapped in a burning car that is barreling down the road and the only way you can save him is to pedal faster.
I have wanted to try a spin class for years but I have always been too intimated. How high do I put my seat? Where do I hold the handle bars? How the %$@#! am I supposed to hydrate while I’m holding on to this bike for dear life? We’ll get there…
Let me start by saying that I am a group fitness fiend. Being surrounded by other people who are working their tails off always motivates me to push myself harder. I usually take a look around and say to myself, “If that 65-year-old woman can jump 3 feet in the air, I MUST be able to jump at least 3.5 feet.” There’s also the added pressure of knowing that if you leave early, everyone is watching you quit. My brain is too competitive for that and I won’t have it. (I am by no means suggesting that if you are working out and feel like you need to take a break that you shouldn’t do it. Always go at your own pace and listen to your body. Pushing yourself TOO hard is a recipe for injuries!)
Getting to the class early was one thing I made sure to do as I wanted to get situated without frantically trying to adjust my bike. As I hoped, there was another girl already there, pedaling away. She gladly showed me how to set up my bike and explained the different biking positions and how the gear shift works. Ahhh my savior!
We got started and right away I was feeling good. The music selection was great and the instructor was extremely enthusiastic for pre-6 am. I didn’t push myself too hard knowing that if I overdid it without any practice I would probably hurt myself and never do this again. I kept the gear in a place that felt good to me and adjusted it based on the different positions. We biked for a full hour and I finished having completed 26.5 miles.
Here’s my personal synopsis: spin class is no joke. I mean you are pushing your legs in a circle for a full hour, upping the intensity to simulate hills and upping the revolutions per minute to simulate sprints. I walked away from my bike like a baby deer – my legs were pretty wobbly and had seemingly forgotten how to put one foot in front of the other. But I think that means I did it right! I have already gone back a couple of times and will be trying to incorporate this into my regular routine.
With that said, here are my 10 foolproof tips to surviving spin class:
1. Wear 3/4 length leggings or bike shorts. They won’t get in the way and you won’t have any chaffing issues.
2. Bring a squeezy water bottle. There’s nothing harder than trying to unscrew a threaded lid and gracefully pour water in your mouth while your legs are flying below you. Can you say unintentional shower time?
3. Wear a moisture-wicking tank . You’re going to sweat. A LOT.
4. You don’t need to buy clip-in shoes to try spinning the first time. I hear they help you get a better work out but there is no need to go spend money on them if you find that you don’t even enjoy the class. Just wear your sneakers and pull the strap tightly to lock your feet into the pedals.
5. Get there early and find a friend. Have someone to show you the ropes your first time. You don’t want to be uncomfortable because you put the seat at the wrong level or worse yet – cause an unintentional injury. A good instructor will ask anyone in the beginning of class if you need help but if they don’t, don’t be too shy to go up to them and request some assistance.
6. Try a few different instructors. The instructor really makes the class. If you have a bad experience in one class it may be because you don’t jive with the person teaching it and that’s okay! We all need different variations of motivation. Try someone else’s class and you will be sure to find one you like.
7. Sit up front – learning the different positions can be difficult when you’re all the way in the back. Get up front (or close to it!) so you can watch what the instructor does.
8. Adjust your bike if it doesn’t feel right! If something is uncomfortable, there’s probably a reason. Hop off quick and make an adjustment. Your rear will thank you.
9. Eat a quick pre-workout snack before you go. If you’re crazy like me and are going to an early AM class, you definitely need to eat a little bit of food to fuel your body. I like to pop a few of my 2-ingredient cookie bites right before I head to the gym.
10. Spin with a smile! Any workout can be fun when you do it with a great attitude! Try your best and if you’re having trouble just remember – no one else cares what gear you’re in or how fast you’re going. Just keep spinning and you will walk away feeling amazing!