A review of fundamentals and safety points so that everyone—regardless of weight, age, or fitness level—can have a safe and effective workout. You control everything from your speed and resistance to your intensity level, so it can be as easy or as challenging as you want it to be. Like many things in life, you will get out of it what you put into it.
What it is: Spinning is a specific format of indoor cycling. Spinning is a cardio (aerobic) workout set to music. Classes typically last between 40 and 60 minutes.
Whom it's for: Spinning is great for people who want a motivating workout that they can control at their own pace. Even if you’re not into choreography-based fitness classes, you can still enjoy Spinning because it involves neither rhythm nor complex moves. It’s low-impact, so it’s very suitable for people who want to balance out higher-impact exercises (like running) or for people who have some joint problems.
What to expect: Think of your instructor as a guide—he or she will give you general guidelines about how much resistance to add, how fast to pedal, how hard you should be working, and when to do certain movements (like standing, sitting, sprinting, etc.). Using these cues as guidelines, it’s up to you to work out at your own level and pay attention to how you feel. In a class format, everyone feels a bit of pressure to keep up. Spinning is non-competitive. If you’re a beginner, remember that it will take a few weeks to build up your fitness level to be able to work hard for the whole class. It’s important to honor your body and work at a lower intensity as you get the hang of it.
You can expect to feel fatigue throughout your leg muscles when you’re newer to Spinning—even if you’re used to working out in general. But no matter what, don’t stop pedaling. Suddenly stopping any exercise has risks (like passing out and lightheadedness), so if you get tired, simply reduce your resistance and slow down to catch your breath. You will also feel some saddle soreness from the seat, and that’s very normal. After coming to class regularly, that soreness will go away for most people. If it helps, stand up out of the seat a little bit when you need a break. You can also adjust your position in the saddle and take “posture breaks,” where you stop reaching forward to the handlebars to sit upright in your seat.
What to wear: Workout clothes (but no long/baggy pants, because those can get caught in the pedals/wheels) and flat-soled workout shoes are a must. If you have them, padded cycling shorts will increase your comfort, and cycling shoes with cleats (that clip into the bike pedals) can make your workout more effective.
What to bring: At least one water bottle (trust me, you’ll need it!) and a towel for all that sweat. Also recommend is a gel seat, which will fit over top of the bike seat and increase your comfort. If you have one, a heart rate monitor used to measure exercise intensity during spinning classes.
Spin class suggestions: