fitness · healthy lifestyle

Focus on Fitness: Spinning

Hello!  I wanted to pop in and talk about one of my favorite group fitness classes to teach and to take – Spinning!  I get a lot of questions from friends, family, and gym go-ers about Spinning and indoor cycling classes, so I decided to feature this awesome workout on the blog to help you get ready – or fully reap the benefits – of a class.

focus on fitness

What is it?
Indoor cycling is exactly what it sounds like – cycling on a stationary bike, indoors!  It is an aerobic form of exercise that is high-intensity, but low-impact.  The instructor will guide you through an indoor cycling workout, set to music to pump you up and make you sweat.  You’ll sit, stand, climb hills, and more!  Most classes range from 45-60 minutes, but vary based on the gym or studio.

What are the benefits?

  • Can work at your own pace – you get to choose your resistance, your speed (RPM), and your intensity throughout the class
  • Designed to be high-intensity, but low-impact for those who are looking to avoid high-impact workouts
  • May improve cardiovascular health
  • May help develop the large muscles in the legs (quads, calves, hamstrings, glutes)

What is the difference between Indoor Cycling and Spinning?

Spinning is a specific format of indoor cycling, and instructors must be certified in Spinning to be considered a “Spinning Instructor.”  There are other groups that have their own format of indoor cycling that instructors must be certified in before they teach.

Okay, I signed up…now what?!

What should I do when I arrive to class?

Arrive ready to cycle and select a bike.  From there, you can adjust your bike to your height and comfort preference.  There are typically three parts of the bike that you can adjust: your seat can go higher and lower, your seat can move forward and backward, and your handlebars can go higher or lower.

Don’t be afraid to ask your instructor to help you set up your bike for the first time – for your safety and for your comfort!  As a rule of thumb, you never want your knees to fully extend at any point in your pedal stroke.  You can move your seat forward/backward and your handlebars up/down depending on your comfort level and how you prefer to ride.  Once you’re set up, get to know your bike and how the resistance increases and decreases.

Throw your towel over your handlebars, put your water bottle in the holder, and get ready to ride!

Spin Bike

What should I wear?

Exercise clothes and athletic shoes are best for an indoor cycling workout.  However, this is not the time for your boot-cut yoga pants or baggy sweatpants – you don’t want anything that could get caught in the bike!

There are a couple of items that help with comfort and efficiency when it comes to indoor cycling.  First, there are specific shoes that you can purchase (or sometimes rent, depending on your facility) that clip in to the pedals to make for a more efficient pedal stroke.  Ask your instructor about clipping in and out of the pedals…they would be happy to help!  Also, if you have padded shorts, those help make your time on the saddle that much more comfortable.

What should I bring?

A full water bottle, a towel (yes, you will need one!), and a positive attitude.

Any other tips?

Arrive early to class.  It can take a few extra minutes to get used to setting up your bike, and ask your instructor for assistance if you have any questions.

If you have one, bring a gel bike seat cover.  These range from $10-20 and can make a big difference in your comfort level as your booty gets used to the bike seat!

Take your first few classes to get in the groove, and go at your own pace!  It’s easy to get caught up in the energy and burn yourself out trying to keep up, but remember – everyone in that class was once a beginner, too.  It’s more important for you to be consistent and slowly progress as you return to class, you’ll feel stronger and more confident every time!

Enjoy your class!

If you’ve taken a class…what tips or advice do you have to someone trying the class for the first time?

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