What to expect at your first SPIN class
1. BUILD UP YOUR FITNESS ON THE BIKE
Real talk: this is going to be hard.
SPIN classes are high intensity and fast-paced, and even the most seasoned and fit persons can struggle during their first session.
If you don't feel up to scratch, try this for a few weeks before you jump in the saddle: cycle for 10 minutes on a low to medium intensity 3 times a week, increasing your time by five minutes every week.
Try to also increase your resistance at the same time – most bikes have a knob that controls this so gradually turn yours up as you feel more confident.
This will make your legs stronger and help you feel better prepared for your first class.
After a few weeks, you'll be cycling on a medium to hard level for at least 25 minutes of without a break, feeling totally capable.
2. CHOOSE YOUR INSTRUCTOR CAREFULLY
If you pick a good instructor, you'll enjoy SPIN class infinitely more – fact.
Anything from the music the instructor chooses to their tone of voice can affect your motivation, so don't be put off if one instructor doesn't work for you.
Just try someone else.
3. ARRIVE EARLY
Classes start on time so arrive a few minutes early to give yourself enough time to find your perfect bike and set it up correctly without feeling rushed.
When the instructor arrives (also, a few minutes early) she or he can help you set up your bike so it feels comfortable for you and you're ready to go.
4. CHOOSE AND CHECK YOUR SPIN BIKE
Choose (or pre-book as some classes requires this) a bike where you can see instructor clearly, whether that's in the first, second or last row – this will make it much easier for you to follow the routine.
And don't worry about being watched by the rest of the class – most of the time the lights are turned down really low (and the music is turned UP) so it's difficult to see or hear what the people around you are up to.
Most of the time, the staff look after the bikes and make sure they're all in working order, but you may run into bikes with issues that haven't been reported yet, so it's a good idea to check the bike properly before you start your workout. Here are the things to check:
Saddle: Is it stable?
Bike: Is it wobbly? Sometimes the solution is as simple as tucking a sweat towel underneath the bike.
Pedals and straps: Can the straps be adjusted so you can secure your feet safely? Are pedals moving smoothly?
If you've been given SPIN shoes, ask to be shown how to click in and click out.
It's a lot easier than it looks, but you just need to be shown once.
We'd recommend using proper SPIN shoes if you're going to go regularly (most gyms and studios will rent them to you). When you're clicked in you can pull the pedals up and push them down again with more power, working more muscles in your legs and bum.
That means a better workout overall.
5. DRESS THE PART
SPIN rooms are full of people who are working hard and it gets HOT in there. Wearing breathable and moisture-wicking clothes will make your workout far more comfortable and enjoyable.
Also, don't forget a proper sports bra, your breast might not be bouncing as much as if you were running, but you still need lots of support as you tend to be hinged over the bike for most of the class. Padded 4D pants also help a lot, you will see whyt after your first classes.
6. BRING A TOWEL
It seems obvious, but towels really are essential during indoor cycling classes – a lot of studios provide one, but it's a good idea to bring your own the first time if you're not sure whether or not your studio does.
SPIN is sweaty work, and having a bottle of water with you is essential.
Take small, regular sips of water during the workout to replace the lost fluids – it will help you keep going for longer and the small sips should prevent you from getting a cramp.
8. DON'T BE AFRAID TO GO AT YOUR OWN PACE
The beauty of Spin is that you're in control of how hard your workout is, because you change the resistance yourself.
The instructor will tell you when to make it harder or easier, but you don't *have* to listen or be at the level everyone else is – do it at the level you're comfortable with, just try to keep pushing yourself so you get the most out of the session.
As you get stronger, you can always add resistance and speed.
9. TAKE A BREAK IF YOU NEED IT
Many classes include sprint intervals, where you pedal as hard as you can before taking a short rest to pedal slowly.
If you find the breaks between the intervals are too short to catch your breath, just rest for longer. Or even skip the interval altogether. This is your workout…enjoy it!
10. HAVE FUN, ENJOY THE RIDE. ENJOY BEING PART OF THE PACK.