The first time I attended a spin class I was incredibly scared. Everything I knew about spin was from movies and I can’t say they were good things. Although my first class in 2006 was incredibly challenging because of the shape I was in, spin has become my absolute favorite workout!
Spin is truly for any body! It doesn’t matter if you’re short, tall, thin, overweight, buff, pregnant, male, or female, spin is an amazing workout that can meet you where you are at, while taking you to a whole new level!
The key in my opinion is to go into your first workout with a clear mind and a few tips of the trade in your back pocket. I have taken spin for 8 years now and have seen many people attend classes for the first time. Whether you’re new to spin all together or just attending a new studio, I wanted to pass along my tips for attending your first spin class.
1. Let go of any preconceived ideas you may have about spin – Every person’s experience is different, so don’t let others’ opinions of the workout scare you.
2. Dress for spin – I recommend capri leggings or biker shorts and a tank top. Most spin studios get warmer as the class goes on, so you can always start with a sweater on and then take it off after you’ve warmed up. If the studio is freezing when you walk in, don’t be scared. Trust me, it’ll heat up! I also discourage full length yoga pants or running shorts. Maybe this is just me, but I often find that yoga pants are too warm and shorts don’t give you enough coverage while on a bike.
3. Bring a large water bottle – I personally drink a full 32oz of water during a 45-60 minute ride and can’t imagine not having water with me. Trust me, you’ll want to drink water throughout your ride.
4. Arrive to class EARLY! – Most studios recommend arriving at least 15 minutes early for your first class and there’s a reason for that. Each studio wants you to be able to find a bike you’re comfortable with and to be able to work with the instructor to get fitted on your bike. I’ve found that each bike is a little different, depending on what the studio uses, so even if you’ve attended a spin class before, it’s really important to ask the instructor to fit you on your bike. Your ride will be completely different if you’re bike is adjusted exactly for you! Remember, spin is for every body, so there usually are a number of adjustments that you’ll want made in order to be comfortable and safe.
5. Don’t compare yourself – It is really important that you listen to your own body! I always think it’s best to do what the instructor is doing but to gauge how much tension you should add to the wheel. Just because the instructor says to add on more tension doesn’t mean you have to. Who cares if the person next to you is spinning like a crazy person or barely moving as they climb up that hill, listen to your body and be content with your own workout! Wearing a heart rate monitor is another great way to gauge the intensity of your workout.
6. Sit or stand if you need to – Sometimes you’re just going to need to get out of the saddle for a minute, and that’s ok. Don’t be scared to stand up if your booty is hurting or to sit down if your back needs a break. Remember, this is your first class! Take it easy that way you come back. Pushing yourself too far during your first class will only lead to you hating spin.
7. Your butt will hurt – This isn’t because you just gave your glutes a killer workout, although you did. It’s because you have been sitting on a thin, semi-cushioned seat for the past 45-60 minutes off and on. Don’t let this discourage you. It’ll take a few classes before your booty doesn’t hurt anymore (and by booty I mean your crotch).
8. Come back for a second class! – Whether you love it or hated it, always go back for a second class! Do it within a week, that way your body doesn’t have to start from scratch again, but trust me, don’t let the first class be your only impression of spin.
– Every instructor is different. I have taken some REALLY bad spin classes and always feel bad for those who think that is what spin is always like. If you don’t mesh with an instructor, find a new one! An instructor can truly make or break a class.
– Music makes a world of difference. Some people love spinning to older songs and some love spinning to Top 20 songs. You need to find an instructor or studio with your style! Music will make a workout either fly by or crawl. I have learned to avoid holiday theme rides. The last thing I want to do is spin to Michael Jackson’s Thriller or Mariah Carey’s All I want For Christmas Is You. It’s just not my idea of a fun ride.
– Don’t be scared to take spin while pregnant! You OF COURSE need to talk to your doctor first. If you’ve never taken a spin class then starting while you’re pregnant is not the time to start. If your goal is to have kids, now is a great time to get comfortable in a class that way you can keep riding if your doctor and body allow. I have found it to be exactly what I need during pregnancy.
– You’ll meet a lot of arrogant jerks, but don’t let them affect your workout! I have been to some “swanky” studios here in DC and there are a lot of cocky people in those classes. The only reason I don’t let them get to me is because I have been spinning for years and love the workout regardless of who’s in the class. I share this though because I can only imagine how insecure some people must feel if they walk into a studio for the first time and are surrounded by judgmental and conceited people.
– You will meet some amazing people, you just have to find the right studio and/or class. I can’t say enough about the studio I’m currently at (The Pedal Studio). They have truly become my spin family and I love my time with them.
-Enjoy!! Whether you end up loving it or hating it, enjoy your first class. Make the most of your time there and appalud yourself for trying something new!