Spin class “ or, in layman’s terms, indoor stationary cycling class “ is an appealing exercise for anyone. It’s easy on your joints, will make you work up a sweat, and can be done in any weather. But starting out for the first time can be a little daunting, especially when you don’t know what to expect. Besides the obvious exercise tips (such as stretching beforehand and drinking plenty of water), we’ve come up with five things you should be aware of when starting out your first spin class.
1. Get there early
Some spinning classes allow you to reserve a bike, but if not, you might want to arrive in class 10 to 15 minutes early to scope out one you like. It’s a good idea to get one with a good view of the instructor so that you can make sure you’re following along as well as you can.
2. Let your instructor help you get set up
It’s also a good idea to let the instructor know that this is your first time in spin class. He or she will take a few minutes to get you set up on the bike properly “ setting the proper seat height, getting the pedal straps set up properly, and other safety measures. The last thing you want is to pull a muscle or, heaven forbid, fall off your bike because your bike was improperly set up for you.
3. Your instructor is there to offer guidance during your workout
That’s just it: Guidance. He or she will make suggestions for how hard to work and how high the resistance on your bike should be “ and while it’s good to try to increase your fitness, never push yourself beyond what you’re comfortable with. If the resistance is too high, or you feel faint or too out of breath, lower the intensity and work up to a higher level over several classes. You’ll get there!
4. Bring a towel
Even though you shouldn’t overexert yourself, you should be working up a sweat, and it’s helpful to have a small towel hanging from your handlebars. Sure, you’ll wipe down the bike after class is over, but it’s still no fun to ride a stationary bike that has your sweat pooling all over it.
5. Your butt and legs may hurt afterwards
We don’t mean your muscles will ache from the workout (because of course they will; that’s a given). No, we mean that your body won’t be used to the hard seat of the stationary bicycle, and the friction of cycling during class may cause your butt and legs to feel a bit raw afterwards. This feeling should go away once you acclimate yourself to spin class, but you can help your sore behind with some lightly padded shorts. Try a pair of Women’s Journey Cycling Shorts from Mountain Equipment Co-op, $42.