Spinning is definitely no ride in the park but all that pedaling will work the quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and core and give you a total calorie burn anywhere from 400 calories and up! Good news for anyone with joint issues, indoor cycling keeps impact on the joints to a minimum.
I’ve been totally addicted to spin class at Full Psycle recently! Once I powered myself through my first class I was absolutely hooked. Since some of you guys have been asking me questions about spin class on Instagram, I thought I would share what I’ve learned so far. I’m no expert, but I hope that these tips will make spinning seem a little less intimidating and maybe inspire you to try a class! I mean, it’s just a stationary bike… how terrible could it be?! haha.
CATHERINE’S QUICK TIPS
Reserve a bike before class: Spin class popularity is on the rise, so make sure to call or reserve a bike online beforehand if your studio requires it.
Don’t sit in the very back row: I know, we’re all tempted to snag a bike in the very back row our first time, but if you sit towards the front (second row) you will be able to watch the instructor and veterans. Its often helpful to watch a pro and use them as a guide.
Don’t go faster than the veterans: If your legs are going faster than the veterans or instructor, you probably don’t have enough intensity and you’re not doing yourself any favors. When your instructor says “give it your all” or “go go go” think of it as intensity, not leg speed.
Kick your heals out with some force to unclip from the pedals: I saw a girl a few days ago take her feet out of the shoes and leave them on the pedals after class! No need to do that haha, unclipping is easy!
Bring water: Seriously, I drank an entire 1 liter bottle of Smart Water my first class!
If you have a Heart Rate Monitor Watch: BRING IT! You will be so motivated and inspired by your endurance and the amount of calories you burn!
(source: Full Psycle)
What to expect: Expect a vigorous workout! You will burn upward of 400 or more calories per 45 minute class. Every class is different, but you’re going to get a hardcore workout no matter what. For those of you who say “I never sweat,” you will!
Don’t be intimidated: Yes, there will probably be some seasoned pros in your class, but there will also be some newbies and people of all different ages, sizes, and level! Spinning is less intimidating than you may think. Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you from trying an awesome workout! Remember that anything new is always scary. It’s just spinning!
My new PR calorie burn from Spin class at Full Psycle!
Polar sent me their new Polar RC3 GPS to review, and I am so obsessed with it. Aside from the clips I have been wearing to class, this is one of the biggest reasons I am so addicted to spin. You can watch your progress and see your exact calorie burn, minimum, average, and maximum heart rate, distance, and more! I’ve been wearing the heart rate monitor to class and it has been life changing you guys! I will be doing a full review on this watch and it’s functions in a couple of weeks!
Suit up: You will definitely work up a sweat, so throw on some moisture-wicking clothes to keep cool and dry.
Girls: I recommend crops and a fitted tank that’s tight so you don’t have a lot of extra fabric. Oh, and it can’t hurt your ride to put on something you feel confident in!
Guys: Shorts and a tank. A lot of guys end up without shirts by the end of class because it can get pretty hot in the studio.
Thoughts on padded bike shorts: The saddle can be an issue for some people and I’ll admit, the seats can definitely take some getting used to, but my advice would be to take the class in your normal workout gear and see what you think before buying cycling shorts. I don’t think padded cycling shorts are 100% necessary since you do spend a good amount of time out of the saddle, but it’s all about preference. If it makes you more comfortable, go for it!
Shoes matter: Make sure to call ahead or look at the FAQ online to see if your shoes are okay for class. In most cycling classes normal athletic kicks are just fine, but in others, cycling shoes are required.
My two cents on cycling shoes: I suggest finding a studio that has cycling shoes to rent, because with cycling shoes the feet are connected to the pedals much more securely. “Clips” as they’re called, can also make you more comfortable on the bike, give you more power, and allow you to get more integration of muscles in the legs for an overall better workout.
WHAT TO BRING
Towel: Bring a towel if your studio doesn’t provide them and keep it draped over the handlebars for easy access.
Water Bottle: You are definitely going to want a big bottle of water nearby! Swigging water is encouraged mid-ride to stay hydrated, although the spin n’ sip may take some coordination haha. Sport cap bottles are suggested.
BEFORE YOU ARRIVE
Eats: It’s important to feel like Goldilocks before class. You know… not to be too full and not too hungry.
Hydration: Stay well hydrated before, during and after class! You know you are properly hydrated if you are not feeling thirsty. Probably a good idea to use the restroom before class too!
Arrive 15 minutes before class begins, especially if it’s your first time. You will probably have to sing a waiver and it takes a few minutes to get properly situated on your bike.
Bike setup is key to a great ride: Don’t be afraid to ask your instructor for help setting you up on the bike. It’s the best way to prevent unnecessary discomfort and injuries!
Resistance: There are no real gears to change, but there is a resistance knob (or computer screen in some cases). There should always be some resistance on the pedals. It takes a few classes to get familiar with the right amount of resistance for you, but you’ll get the hang of it.
Don’t give up: If you start to feel exhausted or overwhelmed, just sit down in the saddle, take the tension down, and continue to peddle through the end of the class if you can. You’ll be prouder of yourself for enduring the class than walking out! Give yourself permission to build into this activity and you’ll find that you enjoy it more each time.
Stretch: Take full advantage of stretching those legs to keep tightness and injuries to a minimum.
Eat: It may seem a little counterintuitive, but immediately after your workout is the best time of day to eat. Try to eat a high protein meal right away, because your body’s ability to refill muscle energy stores decreases by 50 percent if you wait to eat just 2 hours after your workout! Everyone loves an incentive to eat, right?!
Hydrate: Drink plenty of water and stay well hydrated following your workout.
Indoor cycling puts things in full gear with its awesome tunes, control over resistance and speed, and overall intensity. Hop on to the nearest bike and give this class a go!
Do you have any additional tips for first time spinners or a story about your first class? I would love to hear about it!
AlisonJuly 23, 2013 at 3:31 pm (10 years ago)
As an spin instructor I always warn new people that the saddle takes about three or four rides before it feels ok. The muscle memory is developing and will eventually help support riders. A cheap gel seat cover can help and is a lot cheaper than padded shorts ($10-12 vs $25+). Target usually has them in the sporting goods section. If you find an instructor whose music doesn’t work for you then try another class. Music is key and a primary component in a great class! I love my bike!
CatherineJuly 23, 2013 at 4:35 pm (10 years ago)
Awesome advice Alison! I forgot about the gel seat covers, greta tip! xo
AprilNovember 27, 2015 at 4:47 am (7 years ago)
I went to my first spin class last week, needless to say it was hard. I noticed that a girl on the next bike was wearing some workout shorts with the name Trimbo. I spoke to her after the spin class and she told me that they harness her body heat and make her sweat around her hips waist and bottom, resulting in inch loss and weight loss over several weeks, plus she said it helped reduce cellulite.
Iwas going to buy a pair but they’re quite expensive, Has anyone else used these shorts, and were they any good? Thanks April.
JulieJuly 24, 2013 at 5:06 am (10 years ago)
Two things for new riders to remember: bike set up is super important because if the bike isn’t adjusted correctly, you can injure your knees and lower back.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask your teacher about form! If you’re not wearing clips or aren’t used to certain positions, slight adjustments in your form can affect how you feel the workout.
CatherineJuly 24, 2013 at 11:00 am (10 years ago)
Thanks for sharing your advice for new riders! xo
Angela BergeronJuly 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm (10 years ago)
I wish you wrote this article 1 week ago! I just tried my 1st class this past Thursday. It was good, I didn’t hate it like running, but my butt was so sore I kept standing up on the bike. LOL it was so sore after I couldn’t even let my husband spoon cuddle me. I’m going back tonight to try my 2nd and I’m going to try a padded seat that they have there. Thanks for the article!
CatherineJuly 24, 2013 at 1:25 pm (10 years ago)
Oh no! I’m glad you saw this and didn’t give up! Definitely give the padded seat cover a try!
ChristinaJuly 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm (10 years ago)
I tried my first spin class on a whim a couple weeks ago and became completely addicted. Your tips are great and spot-on! For my first class, I showed up early and introduced myself to the instructor, and she set up a bike for me in the first row. I was worried that I was going to make a complete fool of myself in front of everyone, but I kept up the best I could, and by the second… ok, maybe third… class, I felt much more confident. I would definitely recommend it to anyone considering taking a class!
CatherineJuly 24, 2013 at 1:59 pm (10 years ago)
That’s awesome Christina! I’m so happy you loved your first class 🙂 It’s so important to get set up on the bike by an instructor, it can make a huge difference in your ride! xo
DanielleJuly 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm (10 years ago)
I became very inspired by your recent posts on spin and decided to try it out at my gym – I LOVED it!! I’m totally hooked now. I figured I’d give myself a month to make sure I still love it before I invest in ‘clips’. Do you have any recommendations for buying clips?! I’ve been doing some research and it seems there are so many options :/
CatherineJuly 30, 2013 at 3:15 pm (10 years ago)
YAYYYY!!! That makes me so happy!
I went to about 3 different bike shops to try on clips. I found that Shimano and Mavic fit me the best. I bought a pair of Specialized cycling shoes & clips and they gave me really bad shin and ankle pain so I took them back and opted for Mavics, which I am really happy with! The Place I spin at (Full Psycle) has Serfas which are really affordable and super comfy! I definitely recommend trying on as many as you can 🙂 It can also take a couple of classes to get the clips situated in the correct spot on the bottom of the shoe!
QBNYNJOctober 9, 2013 at 7:27 pm (9 years ago)
I wish I read this before my first class. I did everything wrong. Got to class just in time so I did not know what I was doing on the bike. I had no clue what to expect! Teacher talked to me afterwards and encouraged me to try again but i don’t know if It will never not hurt my butt!
CatherineOctober 9, 2013 at 9:07 pm (9 years ago)
Oh no!!! I wish you saw this before too! Definitely give it another try! I had to give it a second chance as well 🙂
debbieNovember 30, 2013 at 9:38 am (9 years ago)
glad i found this blog!!! took my first cycling class yesterday….loved it, just need to get use to that painful seat!!!! ouch!!!
Michelle SFebruary 14, 2014 at 8:20 pm (9 years ago)
Five years ago I completely stopped exercise. Yep, gained a lot of weight with that terrible choice.
Anyway, I used to LOVE spinning, and after a couple of months working out again, I took an introductory spinning class last Sunday. I felt fantastic afterward, but of course, it was just a “baby class”. I’m going to an hour long “real” class tomorrow, and I’m beyond freaked out!!! I didn’t go out and buy a seat cover, I don’t know what to eat before class, I don’t know if I can get through an entire hour, and I don’t know why I ever stopped to begin with!!! I want to look forward to spinning again, not dread it.
Well, wish me luck!
MeganFebruary 20, 2014 at 3:11 pm (9 years ago)
Oh my gosh, SO glad I found this post. I’m trying my first spin class next week and am super anxious and nervous to try it. Awesome tips!
DraganaMarch 24, 2014 at 9:18 pm (9 years ago)
Thanks for this awesome post! My first time was horrendous… I hated it!
But I am in a bit of a rut and really want to give it a second chance.
In terms of resistance training, is it just pilates that you do? I read somewhere on this site that you used to do Bar Method? Do you still do that?
Jen smithApril 5, 2014 at 8:26 pm (9 years ago)
Ugh…had my first class today and feeling it big time! I had no idea what to expect and was completely intimidated but got through it. I ended up sitting thru 90% of the class and felt bad about that but I was happy to get thru it. I found the seat very painful and distracting as well. I can’t imagine building up to a point that I can stand through most of the class!
Quite a workout for sure!!
PatriciaApril 28, 2014 at 6:30 pm (9 years ago)
Oh I wish I saw this before my first class today! Luckily my instructor was awesome and patient with me. Will be investing in a pad for the seat – I kept wondering how the pros were able to deal with it. Thanks for these tips!
ashliJune 2, 2014 at 6:47 pm (9 years ago)
I’ve been doing spin for a few months and hated the Butt pain so I bought maxi pads and wear one to class. Way cheaper than padded shorts! Just a cheap DIY for beginners like me who don’t want to spend a lot of money on something new!
CatherineJune 3, 2014 at 12:09 am (9 years ago)
That’s awesome Ashli! Great tip!
LuanaJune 10, 2014 at 10:27 pm (9 years ago)
I’ve tried 3 spin classes so far. I’m soooo tempted to just give it up. It’s all about pain and frustration. For the life of me, I cannot hear what the instructor is yelling out. I just cannot get my seat or handlebars in the right place. My feet go numb halfway thru. The pain in my knees is almost unbearable. And I feel like I’m falling forward the ENTIRE time! What the heck am I doing wrong?!??
CatherineJune 11, 2014 at 12:26 am (9 years ago)
Oh no! It might have absolutely nothing to do with you! Have you tried taking classes at other spin studios? I was absolutely MISERABLE in my first class, and I realized that not all spin classes are created equal! It took me a while to find the right studio for me and be setup in the correct way on the bike. Also, do you wear clips (cycling shoes)? Make sure those are set at the correct place for your knees as well! I really hope that you can try another studio before giving up! It’s been so much fun for me! Try to find somewhere with music that you love, the class will go by so fast! Also, call studios and ask for the best instructor for beginners, someone who explains the class well for newbies, it makes a huge different! Don’t give up! xo
VanessaJune 4, 2015 at 10:27 am (8 years ago)
Hi there. Thank you for all your awesome tips. First time as well spinning i really enjoyed it and loved the sweat. But my bottom really is super sore. My question is my foot started to get numb and hurt a bit. I continued thru it. But wondering why that would happen?
CatherineJune 4, 2015 at 12:47 pm (8 years ago)
Hi Vanessa! It is completely normal for your hiney to be sore for the first week or two of spin classes but it WILL go way before you even know it! The first time I went to class I couldn’t even walk the next day my behind was in so much pain haha! Trust me, the pain goes away and the seat becomes comfortable! Oooooo numb feet usually have to do with your shoes!
Did you wear spin cleats? If so, talk to your spin instructor about adjusting your cleats on the bottom of your shoe. Most of the time, cleats are placed in a position that aligns the middle of the pedal spindle with the ball of the foot. You may need to move your cleat towards the heel of the shoe to get the ball of your foot off of the pedal spindle pressure point. After the adjustment, the ball of your foot will be forward of the spindle and that could help the numbness issue. I am not a professional though, so I would definitely go into your spin studio and ask an instructor or pop into a cycling shop that sells shoes and I’m sure they would be able to watch you pedal and help place the cleat in the right spot for you! I have to tighten my cleats a lot and adjust them because I’m very hard on my shoes and my cleats tend to slide around after a while, so make sure to check them!
If you don’t wear “clips” or spin shoes, it could be that your actual shoes are too big or too small. If the spin bike at your studio has little cages for your shoes on the pedals, you may also need to adjust the placement of them. Numb feet usually tends to be an indication of your shoes though, so I hope that this can help you figure out what is causing it! Let me know! xo
AllisonJuly 31, 2014 at 1:13 pm (9 years ago)
Just tried my first spin class this morning! I meant to get there early, but it was a 5:30 class and I ended up running in 2 mins before the class started :P. The instructor called out directions to set up my bike as she did the warm up! Embarrassing, but helpful. It was an 1hr10 min class and it definitely kicked my butt, but I was surprised and proud to have made it all the way through and even hit a bit of a groove (even though my legs were burning within the first 5 mins of class!). I found your blog because I was searching the ‘net for some commiseration about how sore my pelvis is right now… Good to know that fades. Thanks for writing.
Cheryl MorrisonAugust 4, 2014 at 4:06 pm (9 years ago)
Great article Catherine. You covered all the great points. One item on padded shorts. That was a great investment and I have had them 3 years so I would get them right away. Shoe the same they last a long time and I went to a bike shop for clips where they installed them and made sure they were angled right by having me ride in the store with a stationary bike. Also heart monitor a must! You feel like you are going great guns until you read the number and it’s barely over your start rate. I was fooled into thinking I was working hard until I got ” lie detector” on my wrist. Great for legs, butt and cardio and if instructor has great music it’s awesome! You go girl!
NicoleSeptember 21, 2014 at 9:10 am (9 years ago)
What I remember most about my first spin class was how sore my butt was the next day! I couldn’t hardly sit!\
Sara ScottNovember 11, 2014 at 8:19 am (8 years ago)
Thank you so much for this article! I’m going to my first spin class tonight so I googled “what to expect from my first spin class,” and your article came up in the search results. I’m glad I read this because I had no idea what it would be like. I’m very excited about the class but also a little worried that I won’t be able to make it through the whole thing or walk tomorrow! But we’ll see. Thanks again!
CarolJanuary 8, 2015 at 5:49 pm (8 years ago)
I am going to my first spin class on Saturday, I was happy to find these tips and suggestions now I just have to do it.
amybalcombJanuary 9, 2015 at 8:18 am (8 years ago)
I’m going to my very first spin class tonight. Have no idea what to expect but very glad to read Catherine’s great tips. May have to dig out my padded shorts though!!!
vanessaJanuary 14, 2015 at 3:47 pm (8 years ago)
found it boring what is great about spin class ?i bought padding short turned up but not impressed ???
been an addict to gym ,love zumba body pumps yoga pilates and ty rex class but spinning is so boring
EmmaMay 31, 2015 at 6:09 pm (8 years ago)
First time visiting this site, and because of my first spinning class xD Well, I went to my first spinning class yesterday, and I completely died in there!! I´ve never been dripping sweat like that in my life! I’m only 20 and weight about 89 kg (196 pounds) give or take… It was my first week in the gym and my PT said that I should go to spinning class, that it was good for me to try something different and see my limits 😀 Being a big girl I thought she was crazy but i trusted her and I went to the class after a bit of warming up in the treadmill… The lesson had already started so that’s why I think the instructor didn’t have much time to explain to me how to position myself correctly and all (nothing that a half an hour youtube video couldn’t teach me, i know it all now (not) xD ) The whole class was so disconfortable, and I think it was because of my incorrect position on the spinning bike, that I was praying for it to be over the whole time!! By the way, it was a 1 hour class!!! I was shocked xD I thought about leaving some times, but i kept saying “just 5 more minutes and if you can’t take it you leave”… i didn’t leave untill the very end, and I have never been prouder of me (in terms of physical matters and fitness). So, although i arrived to the locker room dripping sweat, I was so happy I got through it, I couldn’t contain myself!! This is an extremely intense class!! I am so damn happy a 196 pound girl like me got through it!! I know my theory now, where to put my feet, how my knees and elbows should be, and a lot more!! So next time, because i will come back to those classes, I can feel more confortable and can cope better with the intensity of the lesson and give more of myself, sweat more if possible, AND BURN BABY BURN!! I want my bikini body someday 😀 I won’t talk about the ass, I’ll just say i can’t seat down properly yet xD
Will follow you Catherine 😀
CatherineJune 4, 2015 at 12:39 pm (8 years ago)
That is SO AMAZING, Emma!!!! I’m so proud of you for sticking through the entire class and for not giving up! The endorphin high after spin class is unlike anything else, its unexplainable until you experience it, which you totally did in the locker room! I wonder if you could arrive earlier and ask to be set up properly by the instructor for your next class? It’s important to have someone help set you up and look at where your legs and arms are positioned to prevent injury and make sure you are as comfortable as possible! I’m sooooooo incredibly proud of you! You will reach your goal, you are already a HUGE leap closer than you were!!! xo
WendellNovember 29, 2016 at 5:29 pm (6 years ago)
Ha. Found this post 10 mins before I left for my 530AM class today. I am a bike rider so grabbed my bike shoes and threw them in bag, thanks for that tip. I was looking for something to burn off the 10lbs I gained since summer ended. Ended up being good. My issue was opposite of most of the folks that posted. As a bike rider the seat was fine, but not used to standing up and spinning at high reps. Usually only stand when absolutely needed and tend to move bike to help generate power. Spinning standing while bike remains static was awkward! But now my winter ride substitution.
CarlaFebruary 19, 2021 at 2:46 pm (2 years ago)
This post and these comments have been super helpful! I’m going to my first spin class tomorrow. I’m used to horseback riding, so I’m not sure that the seat pain will be an issue for me. However, why chance it?! LOL I’m going to wear period underwear and see how that goes! Thanks everyone 🙂