Spinning, which is also known by the more accurate but also more boring name of indoor cycling, is a high-intensity activity that’s great for burning calories.
It’s not a complex exercise at all. You just sit on a stationary exercise bike with a weighted flywheel and pedal. It’s good for strength, endurance and cardio too.
Most people who use spinning as a form of exercise will do so by going to an actual spinning class as opposed to doing it by themselves.
You can spin by yourself but you are probably better off taking classes so you can be sure that you are doing it correctly by following the guidance of the instructor.
Despite its simple premise, it’s always going to be a little bit intimidating to try new things and so you should make sure you go into a spinning class knowing what to expect.
Here’s 5 things that you should know before you take a spinning class.
Drink Lots of Water
Hydration is key to a high-intensity cardiovascular activity such as this one and it’s something that people tend to forget when focusing on the exercise itself.
The thing about spinning, is that it’s something you do indoors in what is probably going to be a pretty crowded room.
There’s no cool breeze and an awful lot of body heat radiating through that room. You’ll build up a sweat pretty quickly.
Exercise becomes unproductive and potentially dangerous if you don’t drink water while you’re doing it.
You won’t be provided water when you arrive so make sure that you bring your own. The bike should have a bottle holder built into it.
You could also drink energy drinks if you’d prefer that but just make sure that you’ve got enough of it to keep you going.
If you empty the bottle during the workout, don’t be afraid to take a break so you can refill or replace your supply.
Get a Good Pair of Cycling Shoes
If you think that spinning is going to become a regular thing for you, then you should definitely consider investing in a pair of cycling-specific shoes.
Like cycling, you can spin in a pair of regular trainers or running shoes, but you will have a much more efficient pedal stroke if you have a good pair of cycling shoes.
They are basically cleats which will clip into the pedals and sometimes they will be provided to you by the gym where you’re training, but this is by no means a guarantee.
You might as well just get a pair of your own so then you won’t have to worry if the gym runs out or if you have to change to a different gym that doesn’t provide them.
If your shoes have a better grip, you can pull up as well as push down while you’re pedalling which means that your progress won’t be slowed.
It also makes it much less likely that you’ll fall off which is something that tends to happen when you are using a bike that isn’t static.
You should just assume that the class is going to start on time. And you should probably try and be there maybe 10-15 minutes before the scheduled start time.
You’re going to be sitting on this bike for the next 45 minutes to an hour and you want to be comfortable during that time.
The instructor isn’t going to wait around for you to be adjusting the seat and the handlebars, and the rest of the class isn’t either.
Get there with enough time to do all of that stuff beforehand. Especially for your first class when you are completely unfamiliar with these bikes and how they work.
Depending on who last used the bike and how they were set up, there could be a lot of stuff that you need to do alter.
The last thing you want is to be still moving the seat around when everybody else is already 5 minutes into their workout.
Don’t Get Overworked Too Early
Remember, this is going to go on for close enough to an hour and you need to pace yourself all the way through.
Cycling fast is not a particularly taxing thing, you can go at a high speed pretty much straight from the get go.
And you can sometimes trick yourself into thinking that you’re not wearing yourself out. But you almost definitely are.
Unless your cardio is already outstanding, you will start to get tired pretty quickly if you don’t pace yourself and could spend a good portion of the session barely hanging on.
Hopefully if you have a good instructor they will guide you with this, but make sure you spend a good 5 minutes going relatively slowly just to warm up.
And if you’re a beginner you don’t have to try and keep up with everyone else because some of them could be on their third or fourth class by that stage.
Go at your own pace. Push yourself of course, you want to get some benefit from it, but don’t overwork yourself, especially not at the beginning.
Be Conscious of the Resistance Level
Everyone in the room is given full control over the resistance level of their own bike and it is an important factor.
It will usually be a little dial on the handlebars and your instructor will more than likely draw your attention to it before your start.
You shouldn’t set the resistance low and use it as a crutch, but you also shouldn’t set it so high that it feels like you’re pedalling through a swamp.
Everybody is different and how high the resistance level should be set will depend on your own strength, experience and endurance.
While you’re setting the bike up, give it a bit of a test drive and fiddle around with the resistance dial to see what level is comfortable for you.
There should be moderate resistance. Enough so that it’s a challenge but not too much that it’s almost impossible to pedal.
The thing is though, as intense as it is, spinning can be a lot of fun and it’s a very rewarding experience too.
And as I said, eventually you can even do it at home. Check out these reviews of some great home spinning bikes from Groom and Style.
But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Take the classes first, it’s too beneficial of an activity to not at least give it a try.
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