6 Good Reasons to Try a Spinning Class

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
6/24/2009 3:00 PM   :  108 comments

As long as I can remember, I was into fitness. I was an active child, athletic and competitive, always trying new sports. Even as a teenager, I loved lifting weights, trying challenging workouts and pushing myself physically. I remember when I was about 17 years old, I read a small blurb in a fitness magazine that talked about this workout called Spinning. It mentioned that it was a major calorie burner (somewhere near 600 calories per hour, if I remember correctly), and that it was a great workout. "What is this Spinning thing," I wondered. Whatever it was, I was definitely going to try it.

By the time I moved away to college a few months later, I got my wish. Not wanting to gain the notorious freshman 15, while trying to maintain a good level of fitness (without the aid of the after-school sports practices I was accustomed to), I started going to the university rec center and tried Spinning for the first time.

That magazine was right. It was intense and challenging. But they didn't tell me that I'd be so sore for a few days (from sitting on that rock hard seat known as the "saddle") that I'd barely be able to sit on my cushioned desk chair in my dorm room—ouch! Despite the challenge (and the discomfort), I made it to Spinning class three times a week and I was hooked. Fast forward a few years later, and I became a certified Spinning instructor myself so that I could share my love of Spinning with others.

I believe that Spinning, which is an indoor group cycling class, is something that people of all ages and fitness levels can benefit from—I've seen it myself and in my students. If you think Spinning isn't for you or tried it and didn't like it, here are 6 reasons to try Spinning that will change your mind.

Burn More Calories: I may be into fitness, but like everyone else, I have trouble motivating myself. Gone are the years when I lived for pushing my body to the limits. If I have the choice now, I'm most likely to choose light, comfortable or moderate exercise vs. challenging myself. If I head toward the cardio machines at the gym, I'm more likely to breeze through a so-so workout wishing I were doing something else. That is why I love Spinning so much: It makes me push myself. If I were left to my own devices, sure I'd work out; but I'd go easier on myself and put less time in. Spinning classes help motivate me to work harder and get a better workout (which means better results and higher calorie burn) than I know I'd do on my own. If motivation is an issue for you, or you'd rather walk when running starts to feel tiring (I'm right there with you!), then Spinning class could be just the ticket you need.

Give Your Joints a Break: Spinning is a low-impact cardio exercise, which means it's easier on your joints, including your knees and ankles, than many other forms of cardio. Many people who are rehabilitating injuries or recovering from surgeries are advised to try low-impact forms of exercise (like biking or Spinning) in lieu of jarring activities like running. If you have an upper body injury, you can still ride the bike and get a good workout. Even if you don't have joint issues now, it's a good idea to alternate your high-impact exercises with some low- and no-impact exercises like Spinning to avoid overuse injuries and give those vulnerable joints a break every so often.

Stay in Control: How many group workouts have you ever tried that can easily seamlessly accommodate beginners, people with injuries, hardcore exercisers, young and old, and advanced exercisers in a single room? Not many, I'm sure. That is the beauty of Spinning: It's something everyone can do. You should think of your Spinning instructor as a friendly guide for your workout. He or she usually has a general plan in terms of movements, intensity changes and pace, but really, YOU are the one in control. You decide how much resistance to add, how fast to pedal, and how hard to work. This means that people of all fitness levels can take the same class and all get a great workout. I always encourage my students to listen to their bodies, monitor how they're feeling, and to go easier or harder than I dictate, if they choose. My classes have included teens, seniors, beginners, triathletes, people with joint injuries, runners whose doctors told them to lay off the running for a while—you name it. We're all there and we're all getting a great workout!

Enjoy the Great Indoors: Many people love biking—and the benefits it provides as a great cardio workout with low-impact on the joints—but don't love biking in traffic on the streets. Spinning will provide the same benefits without the uneasiness of cycling in a high-traffic area that's unfriendly to bikes. If seasonal allergies or extreme weather (too hot or too cold) forces you to take your outdoor workouts inside, Spinning is a great alternative.

It Doesn't Cost Much: Many fitness trends and classes cost a pretty penny. Spinning has been around a while and at most gyms, classes like Spinning are included in your membership fees. If your gym doesn't have Spinning (or you'd like to try it), most locations will allow you to try a class for free. Spinning.com also includes a directory of gyms that offer free class passes. (Be aware that not every gym is part of this database; call a gym near you to ask if they offer a free class.) If you commit to Spinning or join a gym that has it, you don't need any special equipment or attire to get started. Sure, a padded gel seat ($15) might ease the discomfort you feel in the beginning (yes, it does pass with time), and cycling shoes ($80 and up) could help you get more out of your workout, but you really don't need anything except a water bottle.

Feel the Energy: I always say that people either love Spinning or hate it. When you're at a class, chances are that everyone there loves it (otherwise, they wouldn't be there). That creates a positive, high-energy atmosphere that can motivate you to push yourself and make you feel good about working out. It makes the whole workout experience more fun—and helps you feel connected with the people around you, like you're all in it together. Sometimes, when I'm taking a class, I challenge myself to match the pace of the instructor—or another student—for a little friendly competition that only I know about. But at the same time, Spinning is non-competitive. You don't have to feel self-conscious for "modifying" the workout—probably no one even notices if you're going slower or choose to sit instead of standing. And if anything, they're secretly rooting you on. Look around at all the different people who are all there for the same reason, and you can harness that energy for a great workout that you can feel good about!

If I haven't convinced you to try a class yet, read What to Expect from a Spinning Class for more info or join the Spinning Enthusiasts SparkTeam to ask questions and get tips. It might take more than one try before you can really decide if Spinning is right for you, so I always recommend trying something at least 3-5 times before you give up on it.

Have you tried Spinning? If so, what do you think about it? If not, are you willing to give it a chance now?


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Comments

  • LAUREN088
    108
    I have Been going to a spinning class 4 times a week for almost a year and i have not loose a bit of weight. In fact i am gaining more fat, i know for sure that it's not muscle the weight that i am gaining. Before i Took spinning class i would weight 115 but now i weight almost 130. I am dont eat a lot i only eat two meals a day and drink a lot of water throught out the day. Can someone tell me why i am not loosing any weight??? - 10/31/2013   10:58:42 PM
  • 107
    The gym i am working out at has that spinning class.. honestly i never had or thought about joining them .. but now you gave me a new idea.. I might try it next time and tell you about it. - 10/20/2013   2:04:40 PM
  • 106
    I love Spinning! It's a super hard workout but it's a great atmosphere and you can push yourself as much as you can by turning the resistance up or down yourself. I like having that control. I would recommend it to anyone - 9/23/2013   8:36:48 AM
  • 105
    There is a spin class at the fitness center in my office and apparently people love it; but apparently it is a very tough class. One of my friends took it recently and she is in pretty decent shape, but she had to leave the class for a few minutes because it got to be too much for her. I have thought of trying it but am a little afraid to for a couple of reasons....one, I don't like my exercise bike at home at all so I think I might not like spinning either. Two, I think I need a beginner class. I understand that this instructor is just super tough and I think that they do intervals. I am not at that level of fitness and I think it just might be too much for me at this time. - 9/21/2013   7:58:22 PM
  • DALLASCHIC
    104
    Spinning has been one of the best things to happen to me. I am a reasonably healthy person for someone who has been living with MS for the last 12 years. Two years ago, I had a relapse which impacted my legs - I did recover almost completely over time. But whenever I run, or do any cardio, my left leg goes numb making it really hard to maintain activity. I do love to bike, and had noticed that I could bike despite the numbness. But biking on the road was difficult, and I dont think I was able to get the kind of exercise I was looking for. That made me try spinning - and boy did that work! I absolutely love it! My leg does go numb with the heat generated, but since I am sitting it does not impact me like running for example. I am able to get a solid workout that leaves me sweating and feeling good about myself. - 7/16/2013   11:44:20 PM
  • STANDFIRMAJ
    103
    I have been wanting to try spinning for awhile. I will will make it one of my goals for next week to give it a try. I have to say I'm kinda scare of the seat. - 6/19/2013   2:47:45 PM
  • 102
    I've tried it a couple of times. My rump doesn't have enough padding for it. I wonder if the regulars have grown a callus. - 5/29/2013   4:28:04 PM
  • 101
    They have some spin classes at the gym. I have always been a bit leary but will definitely give it a try now! - 5/23/2013   4:58:22 PM
  • CASSIDY12
    100
    I am 61 years old and began spinning 5 years ago in the winter so I'm ready for the first bike ride of the spring. I love spinning class. It's fun being with other people and I can ride as hard as I want while following the instructor. I'm always the oldest person in the class, and I try hard to stay up with the young people (including my 20 something daughter!). - 8/25/2012   7:47:26 AM
  • 99
    I love spinning! It is challenging and a great workout! - 2/2/2011   7:46:37 AM
  • 98
    I went to my first spin class about a month ago.
    I was sweating like crazy, my legs were screaming- I LOVE D IT!!!
    It's my new favorite cardio workout. - 11/16/2010   12:44:58 PM
  • 97
    I love spinning for all the reasons you state. As a former couch potato, I tried spinning after I wanted to crank up my workouts after becoming comfortable with walking fast and doing some basic exercises. I did not know how I would do because of my age and unfit condition. I was able to monitor my heart by wearing a heart rate monitor and ease my knees into a stronger condition by going at my own pace and starting with a lighter resistance. We have a great instructor at 24 Hour Fitness who, along with pounding music, keeps our energy level high.

    I would suggest anyone try spinning. Start at your own pace and resistance, then work up from there. - 11/16/2010   9:32:06 AM
  • 96
    I LOVE spinning!!! I do it once a week to change it up from my running...and my teacher is AWESOME, she plays the most pumping music (very important for my spinning experience) a lot of bon jovi, beatles, michael jackson and it gets you super pumped! Ive noticed my legs get toner, which helps with my runs, and my obliques and back toning up nicely too!!! - 11/10/2010   10:19:07 AM
  • 95
    I tried spin class for a few months a couple ofyears ago and completely loved the results! My lower body toned right up, and I lost weight without even really trying all that hard. I plan on going back since I still have the gym membership. If only I can get myself up out of that bed... - 10/6/2010   12:42:41 PM
  • ZOE20101
    94
    i have recently started spinning, and i love it, my bum hurt the ist and second time but its fine now, ive been going for about 3 weeks and 3 times a week, i burn about 450 calories in 40 mins, and can do 500 cals in an hr, id go every day if i could, and would recommend it, it makes me feel great after, - 9/28/2010   4:19:36 PM
  • 93
    Is riding an incumbent or recumbent bike the same as spinning? - 10/25/2009   10:20:09 PM
  • 92
    My boss has been all but harassing me for 2 years to give it a try, and this blog is helping to change my mind about not going. I've done it in the past, and I could never get past the seat issue. Also, my heart rate was always over 210, and I could never get it down. But, I'll ease into this time. I'm not in my 20's anymore, that's for sure : ) - 10/1/2009   12:32:59 PM
  • GREENBEAN20
    91
    I love spinning! And I have been able to convince seven of my coworkers to get into it, too! Some of them complained about the seat at first. I started out wearing padded shorts. Now I just wear whatever. You can also get a padded seat, just don't forget to take it with you when you leave. - 10/1/2009   10:18:52 AM
  • TECHLADY
    90
    I've been spinning for about 3 years now.

    I love love LOVE to spin. It truly is my drug of choice! Unfortunately, because of my schedule, I only get to do it once every other week. HOWEVER, this summer, I did it TWICE a week!! Yippee!!

    Using my HRM, definitely pushes me further because I know how much I usually burn, and I definitely don't want to be below that! - 9/6/2009   11:26:14 AM
  • 89
    I have been thinking of Spinning, but am too chicken, ha. It's definitely something that I should further investigate though. - 9/1/2009   12:31:23 AM
  • 88
    Spinning is amazing! I started about 3 years ago and absolutely love it. Since I live in northeast Ohio the weather is not always conducive to biking outside, but this is the next best thing. I can tell it has helped me be stronger when I bike outside (especially when climbing hills). When the weather is bad and I go to class, I think about all those beautiful mornings I ride outside in the summer and it makes the ride enjoyable. - 7/2/2009   8:10:15 PM
  • 87
    with the mosty great things everyone has mentioned about spinning I might have to try the Sunday class near me. A friend tried it and she said it is tough and the class is always full. Since I'll be 49 in August, I want to start trying new and different things. Thanks Nicole and everyone for the motivation!! - 7/1/2009   12:35:15 PM
  • 86
    I dug spinning the couple times I went... but I did not dig the pain from the seat. Bike rides don't give me that same unfortunate sensation... I imagine because it's not as intense? But man, the uncomfortable pain was enough to deter me from going back a third time. Perhaps now that I actually bike more and have suitable gear (padded pants) I can try it again.. thanks for the information and motivation to give it another shot! - 6/30/2009   1:40:07 PM
  • 85
    I have fibro so too intense. I've not done it and don't plan to in the future. I will stick with my method of weight loss and exercise since it really works for me. - 6/30/2009   8:02:47 AM
  • AMELITA2
    84
    I tried in my country, but the bike was too high, it would not lower enough so I couldn't do it. Maybe here in USA I could try in smaller bikes.I consider it great!I would try it if I could. - 6/29/2009   9:42:59 AM
  • 83
    It took me months to get brave enough to try a spinning class. I am 50 years old and went to a class at the university I work at. I was the oldest one there and the only one who sat when everyone else is doing a standing section, but it was okay. I have gone 5 times, but plan to go regularly in the fall. I sweat so much, I have to make sure I go to a class at the end of the day, because I don't have time to shower & prep before returning to work. It is a great workout especially if you live in a rainy winter climate! - 6/28/2009   10:59:42 AM
  • 82
    I LOVE spinning - overweight, exhausted and pregnant spinning is great exercise. I only wish there was a gym that offered spinning classes within an hour and half of my house I miss it so much! - 6/27/2009   9:39:11 PM
  • 81
    Thanks Nicole for a great, and interesting blog that really caught our attention about Spinning classes. It is seems now to be less "scary" for more overweight people to try it. I think for myself, I would wait till I am the size to be able to fit into padded shorts to help my poor butt! lol I now have challenged myself to have this as a goal. WooHoo! - 6/26/2009   10:42:35 PM
  • 80
    I found a new "used" spinner at a used sports center for 2/3 of the original cost you would normally pay. My first attempt lasted for only 5 minutes, but I could tell it was going to be very beneficial. I am now up to an hour and I love burning so many calories. If you don't like the idea of taking this class, do as I did and use it in the privacy of your own home. You'll gain stamina and have calorie deficits that will make it all worth the effort. - 6/26/2009   9:40:38 PM
  • MEOWSER2
    79
    Even with the gel seat and the padded shorts, the rubbing can be too much to handle. I also think that people who are prone to thunderthighs should not use too much resistance. It is a great calorie burner though! - 6/26/2009   5:24:36 PM
  • OBSHORTIE
    78
    O.k. the first time I tried spinning.....I was on the bike for 10 minutes and by then was wondering what the heck I had just gotten myself into!! It was very hard for me to stand up at all but there were 2 other ladies who were sitting the whole time as well, so I didn't push myself (And trust me, I shouldn't have pushed myself!). I sweat so much, couldn't get enough water in my body .....and by 30 minutes I was praying to my Lord above to PLEASE make the time go faster and my legs go slower ;) I am sure I was quite a site praying and pedaling! But.....I actually did feel GREAT after class was over and I will be going again this coming week. I was happy to just get through it, and I will be happy when I get through my second class too :) - 6/26/2009   3:56:35 PM
  • 77
    I started Spinning four weeks ago, and have done it 4 times now. I am building up to loving it - it is so terribly hard, but I believe my body and mind will adapt to the pain and it will become easier - mentally, if not physically! I look forward to the class every week now, because I know it is doing great things for me (even if during the class I'm begging for it to finish so the pain will end!!!). - 6/26/2009   2:09:24 PM
  • 76
    I tried it ONCE. It was a "beginners" class which lasted 45-min. I had been exercising w/cardio and strength training prior to taking the class and figured I was in adequate shape to handle the spinning class. I got about 30 minutes into it and had to climb off the bike. It was TOO tiring. That was over a year ago. I've continued with my cardio and ST workouts on a regular basis....bicycling also. So maybe it's time to give spinning another try. - 6/26/2009   9:41:36 AM
  • 75
    OK, now I am convinced that I need to try this. My neighbour keeps asking me to go with him, but I am little uncomfortable with exercising and sweating beside him ! - 6/26/2009   9:22:35 AM
  • 74
    By myself, maybe, but I'm not into "group activities" - that's probably why I enjoy running more than any other form of cardio.
    But great blog! - 6/26/2009   8:15:58 AM
  • JUICE68
    73
    I LOVE spinning..No matter how tired I am I some how make it through the class. A lot has to do with the music and the instructor. It took me awhile until I was brave enough to take a class, but I'm glad I did. - 6/25/2009   9:29:29 PM
  • SWEETNATTY786
    72
    Spinning is so hard when you first start but i think it great now!!! - 6/25/2009   8:09:09 PM
  • MANDI814
    71
    I am addicted to spinning! I have been doing it now for five years, and three weeks ago, was pulled off of it by my physical therapist. I have a really bad ankle sprain that is not healing. Anyway, I feel like I am having such withdrawl. Back in February, I spun for 4 hours straight to benefit a charity, and it was the biggest rush of my life. I have lost 60 pounds, and attribute a lot of it to spinning! - 6/25/2009   7:41:30 PM
  • JANNALEE1
    70
    Spinning rocks! As far as I am concerned, (and I have tried a lot of different fitness classes) it is the best cardio you can get in a class. I totally agreed with Coach Nicole, if I was left on my own to workout on a cardio machine, there is no way I would work as hard! I would recommend the gel seat AND the padded cycle shorts. Your butt will thank you! - 6/25/2009   5:43:46 PM
  • 69
    No, I have never tried a spinning class, but this sounds like loads of fun and a interesting way to lose weight and manage your weight. I am going to add this to my bucket list and do this within the next month. Thanks for the encouragement. - 6/25/2009   5:34:52 PM
  • KNELSO2
    68
    I love spinning! It's great cardio and and I always get a great workout. Check out the instructors when starting the class, though, to find a class that is a good match for you - 6/25/2009   5:12:25 PM
  • 67
    I've tried a spinning class but would like to. - 6/25/2009   4:52:46 PM
  • 66
    I've tried a spinning class and although it was one of the hardest exercises I've ever tried, I loved it!! I think the difference in my experience and some that I see here is that I knew I couldn't keep up with the more experienced spinners so for the most part I didn't try. I did what I could do. When I was at my limit, that is where I stopped. And when I felt that need to challenge myself I followed the class as much as I could. I am looking forward to getting better at it. It is a great workout. - 6/25/2009   4:31:29 PM
  • CARTERSGRANDMA
    65
    I would love to take a spinning class--but my gym doesn't offer it. - 6/25/2009   4:29:54 PM
  • 64
    I have never tried it.. i am not sure if i could keep up with it.. it may be something that i could give a try - 6/25/2009   2:33:06 PM
  • 63
    I've taken a few spinning classes and really like them - what surprised me most was what a great UPPER body workout I got from it as well! At the beginning there was no way I could keep up but like others have said, no one else is watching to make sure you are doing exactly what everyone else is - they are very supportive (at least in my group) of sticking in there and doing as much as you can at your own pace. - 6/25/2009   1:55:40 PM
  • PINKPUNKPIRATE
    62
    I have contemplated this as a new exercise for my routine but have not moved forward. I like to bike but I hate the booty pain the next day. After reading the article and the comments posted I think I've been conviced to give it a try. I do wonder about the overall level of fit I should be in at teh beginning as some comments intimidate me but I'll remain objective here and consider that the majority of comments are encouraging of trying this out. Wish me luck!!! - 6/25/2009   1:53:13 PM
  • 61
    Wow, looks like there are a LOT of spinning enthusiasts on here! I haven't tried it, and probably won't during the summer and fall months, when I prefer to work out outside, but it's always a possibility to try it in the winter months, since it is offered at my gym. Still not convinced that it wouldn't be boring, though doing it in a class with others to motivate me would be much more fun than doing the elliptical at home alone. Great blog, Nicole! - 6/25/2009   1:47:14 PM
  • 60
    I really DID NOT enjoy spinning class. It's very fast pace.. for "beginners". If you're out of shape, it's kind of embarrassing to be the only one who can't stand up on their bike while peddling. The music was really low and I had to leave early. This is good for someone who is already fairly on the fit side. - 6/25/2009   1:32:56 PM
  • 59
    Since I love riding my bike, I always wanted to try Spinning. And then a few months ago, I finally got the chance to try it, when some collegues at work decided to get a group together to work out during lunch time on Friday. And I have to say, I love it. It's different from riding your bike outside, since you don't have to watch traffic, and you have music to stimulate you. And you can make it just as hard as you want to. And it is really something everyone can do, no matter what age or fitness level. A great way to challenge yourself! - 6/25/2009   1:11:34 PM

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