If you’ve ever contemplated taking a Spinning class but were too scared to try, you aren’t alone. Many newcomers are intimidated by the loud music, the instructor’s barking orders and the unfamiliar terms. Part of getting fit, however, is leaving your comfort zone and trying something new. Once you have the basics down though, an indoor-cycling session can be one of the most beneficial cardiovascular exercises that delivers tons of dopamine for that post-workout bliss so many of us crave.
To help you prep for your first class, Digifit’s resident Spinning instructor Giovanni Massi breaks down the basics.
Each indoor cycling instructor has a different teaching style and music choice, which can make or break your Spinning® experience. I always say that group fitness instructors are like restaurants: the food may be great, but if it doesn’t tickle your taste buds you won’t go back! That’s why it’s important to find one whose coaching technique keeps you motivated and playlist inspires you. For help picking your first cycling class, ask friends, fellow gym goers and staff members which instructors they like and why. Otherwise, peek in on a class that’s already in session to get a sense of the overall vibe. After your first session, test out various classes to figure out whose instruction keeps you moving.
Know what to bring to class
One of the most important items to bring with you is water. Indoor cycling classes are typically held in small rooms where there’s less air flow which is needed to help your body cool down. Drinking plenty of water throughout class will stabilize your core temperature and pump blood to muscles. A towel to wipe sweat from your face, a pair of padded shorts and sweat-wicking clothing will keep you comfortable throughout the session. Heart-rate monitors are also recommended to ensure you reach optimal performance and stay within safe heart-rate zones. Digifit’s iCardio App not only measures your heart rate, but also tracks other keep fitness data like caloric burn.
Arrive to class early
Getting to class early gives you a chance to speak with the instructor who can make you feel at ease about your first session. The instructor will help you set up the bike properly, explain safety measures and proper form, plus provide an overview of how the class will flow. He or she may also watch you a little more closely during class and give you special instructions to help perfect your form.
Ride at your own pace
One of my favorite things about indoor cycling is that it is each person’s own ride. Unlike other group fitness classes, it isn’t obvious if you can’t keep up or if you miss a step. Though instructors guide speed, cadence and heart rate, the individual controls the overall level of intensity–so you can make the ride as easy or as hard as you want.
Don’t give up
Indoor cycling can be hard work especially for first timers. Many newbies become fatigued early on in the session and may consider quitting in the middle of class because they feel it’s too hard to finish. If this happens to you, don’t give up. Slow down your heart rate by lowering your pedal speed, removing any weight off the wheel, breathing deeply and drinking plenty of H2O. This will give you a chance to recover and give you energy needed to finish the class. Don’t be hard on yourself though, it’s natural to feel this way during the first session. Stay committed to finish and know that with each class you will continue building endurance and cardiovascular strength.
Giovanni Massi is a certified Spnning® instructor with over 22 years of experience. Feel free to use Giovanni’s beginner Spinning® tips with your audience with proper attribution. Giovanni is also available to comment on any Spinning or indoor cycling story you may be working on and is available for phone, in-studio, Skype or Satellite interviews. Please call Andrea at (914) 715-6612 to schedule an expert interview. Follow Giovanni on Twitter: GioFitness