I took my very first spin class almost three years ago at Fitness First. I arrived 10 minutes late, hopped on the first available bike, and attempted to blend in with the rest of the class. Did I finish the class? Yes. Was I a disaster? Absolutely.
Looking back, I was too proud to admit that I had no idea what I was doing, nor did I ever ask the instructor for help [insert head shake.]
What was I thinking?!
I understand that going to your first spinning class – or any new fitness class – is intimidating. Ease some of your anxiety by making sure that you are prepared. Trying new things is always a little unnerving, but hopefully you’ll find something that you love in the process.
1. ARRIVE 15 MIN EARLY
Especially with the unpredictable DC traffic and metro schedule, it is always a good idea to leave a little early. When you arrive, you’ll want time to buy a water or fill up your water bottle, go to the bathroom, peak around the studio, etc. And most importantly, arriving early will give the instructor enough time to properly set you up on your bike.
2. TELL YOUR INSTRUCTOR THAT YOU ARE NEW
Always, always, always tell your instructor that you are new! The main reason being that your instructor needs to help you get set up on your bike correctly. Proper knee and hip alignment are imperative to preventing injuries on the bike.
From an instructor’s perspective, I like to know when people are new so I can help ease any anxieties they have about riding for the first time. I also try to slow the pace of my beginning drills and include more detailed instructions in my warm-up sections.
3. WEAR THE RIGHT CLOTHING
Do’s: Crop leggings (my favorites here); bike shorts; tops made of moisture-wicking material (preferably something long enough that it won’t ride up as you come out of the saddle, or something more cinched at the waist;) hard-soled shoes (tennis shoes are fine) or clip-in shoes; regular, full-coverage underwear (seamless is ideal)
Don’ts: Baggy pants; sweatpants; running shorts (they will ride up uncomfortably;) barefoot running shoes; thongs (of course, this is personal preference but take it from someone who’s learned the hard way. Full-coverage underwear is the best! If you want to wear a thong, avoid lace at all costs)
Pro tip: You will sweat bunches in any spinning class, even if you’re not usually a ‘sweat-er.’ Wear clothing that is lightweight and breathable.
4. DRINK WATER (BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER)
As I just mentioned, you will sweat. So make sure you bring water and hydrate before and after class.
5. SIT WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE INSTRUCTOR
By sitting near the instructor, you’ll be able to pick up on both visual and verbal instructions. There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling totally lost in a class!
5. DON’T START OUT TOO QUICKLY OR TOO HEAVY
It’s your first ride, don’t get too overzealous with that resistance knob! Your first few spin classes are about finding your personal ‘scale.’ Finding what a small, medium and big hill mean to you. You don’t want to burn out in the first twenty minutes by adding too much resistance from the start.
6. CHECK YOUR HANDLE BARS TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE NOT MOVING
If you’re riding a stationary bike, the handle bars should not feel shaky. We use Schwinn bikes at Biker Barre and I always try to remind my clients to check their handle bars to make sure they are tight.
7. MAKE SURE YOU ARE UTILIZING YOUR LOWER BODY
Many times, I see new students leaning on their handlebars as we come out of the saddle. Spinning is a very lower-body intensive workout. Your arms are there to guide you, not to hold you. Make sure you are using your legs and core to bring you in and out of the saddle.
8. DON’T GET DISCOURAGED!
Your first spinning class is just an introduction. You will hopefully love it, but you might also walk away unsure of how you felt. Some of the drills take time to get used to, but the more you come back, the easier they will get!
9. YOU WILL BE SORE
Sitting on a stationary bike takes some getting used to. I can’t tell you how many people have gingerly asked me, ‘Is it normal to be sore…down there?’
Yes. It is normal. And it just takes a little getting used to. Following my advice about the proper undergarments (listed above in #3) will also help.
10. EAT! (BEFORE AND AFTER)
You’ll want to make sure you’ve eaten enough throughout the day before you spin. A hearty lunch is perfect for a great workout later. I typically will also snack on a banana or a pack of almond butter before I teach, especially if it’s an early morning workout and I can’t eat breakfast.
And of course, you’ll want to eat something protein-filled after you finish your class. I recommend either of these smoothies after a morning workout 🙂
So, are you ready yet? If you’re in the DC area, use the code “LAURENSENTME” for your first class free at Biker Barre. I’d love to see you there!