Spinning classes can be really intimidating for the inexperienced rider. A single peek into an active studio reveals loud music, geared up riders, an instructor barking orders and (of course) tons of sweat—and each one of these factors are positive influences on a great workout. Inexperienced riders, you need not be intimidated!
As a fitness director, I've gotten repeat requests for a beginning Spinning class. While I don't discredit this idea, my response is always the same: The beauty of the Spinning program lies in its ability to welcome everyone. If you've got the health, you've got the ability. And every instructor (at my facility or yours, dear reader) should be fully trained to help integrate you into their ride. Yes, you can sit right next to the guy who rides on a team, or even the member that's been Spinning for years. You can. You really, truly can.
But, intimidation is a nasty thing sometimes and it takes a whole lot of gumption to get over it. So today, as a certified Spinning instructor, I'm going to offer you eight tips for taking your first Spinning class.
2) Be open to new experiences. Like any new workout, you'll put yourself through something different in a Spinning class. This is not a bad thing. Be open to the experience the moment you sign up for it. Going into it with regret, hate or any other preconceived notions will only hinder what you take away from the class.
3) Don't ride on an empty stomach. Your body needs fuel to function. Be sure to have a light snack or meal within the hour or two before your class. Not doing so will hinder your performance and, consequently, your experience.
4) Don't leave home without a water bottle. It is absolutely essential that you ride with water. There are no exceptions to this rule! To ride without is to put yourself at risk for dehydration. Most (if not all) Spinning bikes are equipped with holsters. Best kind of bottle? If you can operate it with one hand, you'll be good. The last thing you want to fumble with mid-ride is a lid.
5) Arrive early and ask for help setting up your bike (and write down the settings if possible). There really is a science to it, not to mention more than one knob to adjust. Instructors are trained to find the best fit possible for each and every rider, so take advantage. Riding on an improperly set up bike can lead to discomfort and, ultimately, injury.
6) If you have a heart rate monitor, wear it. Heart rate is a huge component of the Spinning program. Tuning in to your heart rate, what it is at rest and where your max heart rate lies, will help you get the most out of your workout. This is, of course, best done with a heart rate monitor. However, if you don't have one, fear not. Your instructor will (should) speak to both heart rate percentages and ratings of perceived exertion.
7) Don't try to keep up. As previously stated, the beauty of a Spinning class lies in its ability to welcome anyone of sound health. If your instructor cues you to increase your speed, do so to a point that's comfortable for you. Don't feel like you have to race you neighbor. It's all about working at an intensity that's appropriate for you.
8) Take your second Spinning class. There is certainly a learning curve anytime you try something new. Spinning classes are no exception to this rule. Take it all in, then take your second class and start to apply what you've learned. (And yes, the more you ride, the less your butt hurts).
Question: What tips can you provide for inexperienced riders? What is your favorite thing about Spinning classes?