The 12 things I’ve learned indoor cycling at a spin studio
February 4, 2019
I have personally learned quite a lot of things over the course of the months I have committed to riding at Biker Barre and, now, at CYCLEBAR, Columbia Pike, though I am still a neophyte and am neither an expert nor am I remotely fit and trim. Hopefully, this is a list for the rest of us:
- Your instructor is there to help you. If you’re having a hard time with your clipless pedals or how to set up your bike or any other questions you have… this is an interactive fitness class and your instructor wants to be as helpful to you as a yoga instructor is or a personal instructor is. Be sure to get to class early because it’s easier to get the help you need before and after class than during.
- Your ride is your own and you’re never obligated to race, to compete, to follow all the commands of standing, sitting, pressing, and the upper body or weights workouts.
- If you workout is so hard that you leave your spin class hating it and never wanting to come back, you’re doing it wrong. Rule number one is to have fun!
- Always aim to arrive 15-minutes early even if you’ve already booked a bike
- When it comes to attending class, 15 minutes early is on time; on time is late; and more than 5-minutes late forfeits your class.
- People are gross so it’s OK to discretely blow your nose or spit into the towels that are provided at your bike as they’re laundered immediately after class.
- Spin class might feel like crew practice (many Spin instructors are little and loud like coxswains) or Basic Training (other trainers can look and act like Drill Instructors) but you don’t actually have to comply with any of their orders.
- Each ride is scientifically designed to exhaust you, at your level, and to motivate you to put as much energy and force into only 45-60 minutes as possible using something called HIIT (high-intensity interval training) which is why each workout is a series of intense sprints or climbs or heavy pedaling separated with lower-intensity rest periods and even some stead state pedaling and recovery time.
- While it feels like a night at the disco club, with all the music and lights, these classes are designed to challenge the limits of your fitness, endurance, and conditioning. The pop and disco music and the lights and challenges are fun distractions to keep you motivated and distracted from how hard you’re working.
- I wore over-shorts and over-pants over my bike shorts for weeks until I realized that I should be focusing on my ride more than hiking up sweats that were either falling down or getting caught on the saddle. I drop trou right before I get on the bike and just ride with my stretchy Pearl iZUMi bib shorts with awesome chamois padding. I mean, I am still shy about it and put the sweats back on right after stretching, but life’s too short to not get the most of the class. Besides, nobody has shunned me for showing my bottom in stretchy pants to my face, so I assume everyone in the class is in this together.
- I try to wear sound-reducing earplugs every time I ride for two reasons: one, the music can be very loud; and two, I find that the foam earplugs I use make it easier for me to understand what the instructor is saying over their mic. For whatever reason, the earplugs take out the biggest noise and make the instructor’s instructions a lot more comprehensible to me as I ride as opposed to distorted and mixed up with the bass-heavy music.
- Finally, every spin class I have ever been to has been supportive and fun and friendly and as hard or as easy as I made it.
That’s all I can think of in the time I have allotted to myself this morning. The next list I am going to write are all the things I don’t do at the spin classes I attend–there are a lot. I am a very non-compliant rider!