An indoor cycling class is more than just a workout on a stationary bike: You will sprint, run, climb, and jump all on the same ride with your group, covering an imaginary course that might include steep hills, rolling plains, and coastal roads (but never bad weather).
You will pedal intensely to quick beats and enthusiastic coaching.
You will challenge yourself to keep up.
And, you might do all of this in just under forty-five minutes.
Sounds like fun? Definitely. Plus, done the right way, you'll work your entire lower body (especially your hamstrings) while getting your heart rate up to the max. We asked two BFX Studio coaches, Juan Hidalgo and Terrell Pruitt, for some tips about the best way to get started.
Tip 1: Make sure that you have a great spin instructor. What qualities should you look for? "A great spin instructor is a coach!" explains Terrell Pruitt. "A great spin instructor cues the class playlist! A great spin instructor has musicality!"
Tip 2: Dress to sweat (a lot). You will be burning calories like a machine—a 150-pound person can burn up to 700 per hour—so leave the sweatpants at home and opt for lighter fabrics.
Tip 3: Consider spin shoes. If you're going to stick with spin, consider investing in a pair of spin shoes. Most studios now will let you rent or borrow spin shoes, but having your own is a great investment and completely changes the ride—especially if you're working out at a NYSC or a gym that doesn't rent shoes.
Tip 4: Bring a water bottle. A very large water bottle.
Tip 5: Get to class early. "Make sure that the setting of your bike is correct, and have it checked by the instructor," says Juan Hidalgo, "and notify your instructor that it's your first class." Having the correct setting will make the difference between a great workout and a sore back or knees.
Tip 6: Spin, spin spin. "A good tip for a new rider is to 'Keep moving!" says Terrell. But, adds, Juan, make sure that you don't put your body weight over the handlebars or spin with no resistance at all—both of these are very common, newbie spinning mistakes.
Tip 7: Don't forget to have fun! You're challenging yourself during the ride, so go at your own pace and don't get too stressed out about keeping up with your fellow cyclists. Plus, "a relaxed, poised posture while spinning is essential to good form," says Terrell.
This November, join the launch of Ketanga's unique 'spin' on cycling--The Silent Spin Battle!
And check out our previous post: Which Spin Studio is Best?
By Ona Abelis
Ona is a Brooklyn-based writer who will spending the next year getting back into her fitness groove. And maybe skydiving.