When I got my bike a couple months ago I thought, what’s the point of spinning?! Why would I cycle to a studio, cycle on a stationary bike, and then cycle home?!
Then I decided I would like to do a duathlon this year and realised that my casual cycle commute was not really gonna get me quite ready! So it clicked …that’s why I should keep up a spin class or two while cycle commuting.
One of my favourite studios is BOOM! Cycle in Shoreditch; but in all honesty it was just a little out of my way. But now, they opened a new studio on the doorstep of what I like to call my playground (Covent Garden) …in Holborn!
I went along to their pre opening event a couple of weeks ago and already the studio looked amazing. They opened on 29th January with free classes for two weeks! I went in and got my lunchtime fix on day 1! In the few times recently I have attended a spin class, I’ve been chatting to friends / acquaintances / fellow fitness fanatics and it’s been the first time for some of these seasoned gym bunnies! I wondered…what does this feel like for them?! Why have they never been before?!
My first spinning experience was pretty daunting. I knew it was hard work and at that time in my life I would usually shy away from really hard work! I was told that you work so hard you can become nauseous! In that class, I did become nauseous…I remember trying to recall the route to the bathroom in my head but I ended up being okay! The instructor was great and her music choice kept me going from start to finish!
So I asked everyone! I asked why they’d never been…I asked how they felt the first time…and I asked what tips they would share with a newbie! This is the summation of all the responses…
1. WHAT TO WEAR
Wear a pair of shorts or 3/4 length leggings so you don’t have your pants flapping around! A sports bra is still required; a medium impact one will do. A sweat wicking top would also go down a treat as you will work up a serious sweat!
You also have the option to wear regular trainers or use cleats (the bits that attach to the soles of cycling shoes to allow them to clip onto the pedal). Wearing cleats makes for a more efficient workout but may take some getting used to!
Don’t forget the usual gym stuff too – does your studio provide a towel for during class / showering afterwards? Do you need a padlock / coin for the lockers?
2. ARRIVE IN GOOD TIME
This will allow you to be relaxed at the start of the class, find your bike (most studios these days allow you to prebook a bike) and get your bike set up correctly. The most important adjustment is of the seat height. You can usually also adjust the handlebar height and distance from the seat. The instructor should help you with this!
3. YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT THE SEATS SUCK
No better way to tell you! If you cycle already you know that it takes a few rides before your nether regions acclimatise to the saddle! It might have you walking like a cowboy for a couple days at worse! But there are options available in the form of padded shorts, padded seat covers or you can sit on a towel!
4. PACE YOURSELF
If you are a runner you’ll know all about why you shouldn’t bolt out of the starting pen! We learn to pace ourselves so we can sustain a level for the duration. The same should be done for spinning! Don’t go full out in the first track…find the balance between pushing yourself and pacing yourself!
5. DON’T GIVE UP – IT TAKES TIME TO ADJUST
It seems most people don’t entirely enjoy their first spin class! But all the feedback I’ve had has said to keep at it! Most have said it takes 3 – 5 classes to fully adjust and get into the swing of things! THEN, you will LOVE it!
6. HYDRATE BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER CLASS
It’s important to get your fluids in to be able to ‘perform’ your best. It will help you to sustain your effort through class and then help you to recover! And you don’t have to wait for the instructor to say “take a sip of your drink!” ….just drink when you want! Oh and the obvious choice is water, but you can also use hydration tables which replace electrolytes lost through sweating.
7. YOU ARE IN CONTROL
My friend Tash had this to say: “First session of spinning was an eye opener, not gonna lie I felt a little bit intimidated! I didn’t understand how everyone was cycling so fast until I found the little dial that puts the resistance up and down and mine was high! My tip: don’t always put your resistance up when the instructor tells you if it’s you first session. I kept stopping and that was because the resistance was too high for me. Get to a comfortable resistance; I think it’s better to do that and keep going rather then stopping and starting – you will build up your stamina. Oh and beware of jelly legs when you get off the bike to avoid a Bridget Jones moment!”
8. THIS AIN’T A CYCLE IN THE PARK
You are there to get a great workout right?! You will hill sprint, hill climb, cruise, be seated, standing…you might even do muscle isolations and use weights! Hand positions change too but just keep an eye on your instructor (and the pro next to you) and follow what they do! The music will be akin to a nightclub hopefully so you will be feeling the beat at the same time! Tash says: “Its a tough session, don’t go into it thinking you are going for a lovely cycle ride cos you aren’t! It’s hardcore leg abs and shoulder work. Not forgetting your poor butt (the seats are very uncomfortable!) but once the adrenaline starts pumping you feel great!”
9. IT’S THE INSTRUCTOR THAT MAKES THE CLASS…
Neil from @Velocity_Cycle says – “It’s the instructor who makes or breaks a #indoorcycle class. Anyone can be a DJ on a bike, not everyone can instruct :)” …so if one instructor doesn’t work for you …choose a different one!
10. YOU WILL SURVIVE
Seriously, you will! The discomfort of the seat and all that, is only temporary! You will finish the class on a high having forgotten the moments that you felt like you couldn’t give any more, but you did! YOU WILL SURVIVE!
So what’s stopping you now?! Scared I won’t like it/won’t be able to do it?! Take a friend along for moral support! There is nothing quite like having someone to glance at when the going gets tough!
And a huge Thank You to everyone who contributed to this post via your tweets and text messages!
…do you have anymore tips for newbie spinners?! What was your first experience of spinning like?! Do you #LOVE it or #HATE it?!
Elle 🙂 x
p.s all pictures are from the Boom! Cycle launch album on Facebook 🙂