Beginners Guide to Spin Class
There is endless hype surrounding spin class, but is it really all its cracked up to be? What exactly does a typical spinning class involve and what are some basic things you need to know before your first class?
Whether you have gotten bored with running or simply want to try something new and challenging; spinning could be a good choice for you.
What is Spinning?
We have all heard of spinning, but what exactly is it? Well in a typical spin class, you engage in a high-energy routine on a stationary bike while you are guided by an instructor. Typically you will preform intervals, climbs, and descents in order to get a full body workout.
The speed will vary throughout the workout, its not always about pedaling at break neck speeds. A typical spin class lasts around 45 minutes, but in that short amount of time you will work it all. You can expect to burn between 500-700 calories in this amount of time, but it could vary depending on your weight and strength.
Setting Up your Bike
Setting up your bike for the first time can be a bit intimidating; but if you are attending a class there will be instructors there to help you do it right. There are many factors that go into adjusting your bike, such as: your height, length of your legs, arms, and torso. Some general rules of thumb:
- Your knees should be slightly bent when your legs reach down to the lowest part of the stroke
- Your seat should be about hip height when standing
- The position of the handlebars is based on personal preference, however for beginners keeping them a little bit higher might be better.
If you don’t quite understand how to set everything up, don’t worry! Everyone was a beginner at one point, so there will always be people willing to help you out.
It’s totally fine if you need to take a quick breather during the class. Spinning is intense and can be very difficult so there is no shame in taking a little break to catch your breath. The best way to do this is by slowly decreasing the resistance until your heart rate recovers.
What Should I Wear?
While you are free to wear whatever you like, it is best to avoid baggy non-fitted clothes. These types of clothes can restrict your movement and potentially snag on the equipment, which can cause some problems. Generally fitted indoor, cycling pants paired with a tank top are your best option. Wear something comfortable that isn’t going to move around a lot so you can get the most out of your workout.
When it comes to footwear, regular gym shoes should do the trick. Most places will have cages to keep your foot in the pedal so your usual footwear should do the trick. However, some places use bikes that only work with cycling shoes. Cycling shoes tend to make the experience more comfortable and safer, as your feet won’t slip out while cycling. If you think you will be cycling often, these could be a very good investment.
Generally, spinning classes are filled with lots of people and loud music. The environment is designed to be energizing and fun, and it gets you in the mood to move. Since spinning is an intense high-energy workout, you need an atmosphere that will motivate you to do your best. The type of music played varies from place to place, so find an instructor who plays music that you like.
Spin Class Terms
For your first class it is usually best to arrive a little bit early, so your instructor can help you get set up. There are also many popular terms you may hear during your spin class, and you may not know what they mean at first. Here are a few of the basic terms you may find yourself hearing:
- Get on Your Flat Road: The flat road is the foundation for your spin class. Basically its the point on your resistance knob that gives you some resistance. It should be a step above no resistance.
- Gear Up: This basically means increase your resistance. Usually this means giving your resistance knob a half turn.
- Intervals: Intervals are usually maximum effort segments with breaks in between. This could mean giving it your all for 20 seconds and then resting for 10 seconds before you repeat. If it is your first time spinning you may need to work up a bit before you can complete the full intervals, so don’t push yourself too hard.
Spinning may seem a little bit intimidating at first, but there isn’t really anything to be afraid of. Everyone was a beginner at some point so don’t be afraid to get out there and give it a try. Spinning gives you the opportunity to burn tons of calories in a fun and motivating environment, and possibly a chance to meet some new people.