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Stuff I Love: For Spinning

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Thursday, November 08, 2007


Spinning classes are my main form of cardio exercise. I teach three Spinning classes each week (and sometimes take one as a student), and I have always loved it. It's been the best form of cardio exercise I've ever done--even as I continue to get more conditioned, Spinning changes along with me since I have total control over how hard I'm working. I also like that it's lower-impact, so the chance of joint injury from impact or repetitive movement is smaller too, and that keeps me in the game.

Want to know what's in my gym bag for Spinning?

1. Gel Seat Cover ($25): As often as I ride, it's important to stay comfortable. I for one never got "used to" the hard saddles in Spinning so I invested in a gel seat—it's like sitting on a cloud! I bought mine from Spinning.com , but you can get them at most sporting goods stores.

2. Sigg Water Bottle ($20): Water is a must for Spinning! But forget those one-time-use plastic bottles that junk up the environment. I recommend Sigg bottles, which are eco-friendly, reusable and eventually recyclable. I have two, and you'll want to get one that fits your Spinning bike. If the bikes you use have small water bottle cages (these fit standard bike sports bottles), then look for a 75 Liter sports bottle with a sport cap . If you ride a top-of-the-line Spinning bike that has two large water bottle holders on the handlebars, then size isn't an issue. For those classes, I use a larger 1 Liter size (also with a sport cap).

3. Cycling Shoes ($125): Okay, well mine were expensive. But I've seen people buy them for as little as $40 if you get an end of season (or online) deal. Cycling shoes make a huge difference in your Spinning classes, and they last a really long time because they don't get worn down from impact the way running shoes do. They connect your foot directly to your pedal (no more pesky cages around your shoes) and with that better connection, you're able to pull up more strongly, which means greater speed, smoother pedal strokes and better hamstring engagement. That adds up to one great workout. Most Spinning bikes are compatible with SPD or LOOK cleats (cleats are usually a separate purchase from the shoe itself), so check your facility first. My shoes are by Pearl Izumi.

4. Heart Rate Monitor ($100): I can't imagine working out without my heart rate monitor. Once you get one, you'll wonder how you went so long without it. It's always important for you to monitor your intensity level during exercise, and Spinning is no exception. Most Spinning classes put large emphasis on specific heart rate zones too, so a monitor will help you know exactly how hard you're working so you can adjust if you need to. I love the feminine look and feel of my Nike Imara Heart Rate Monitor and Watch —it's cute enough to wear even when not working out.

Besides comfortable (and bright!) dri-fit tops and workout Capri pants, all this gear is always along for my Spinning rides.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KARSLOSINIT 4/14/2011 2:42PM

  I love spinning - I was going to do walk jog intervals tonight, but I think I might get on a bike instead. This blog got me really jazzed about spinning again.
It can be a really big calorie burner too! Be sure to get a proper snack before and/or after. My first class...I had the screaming bumm and then popped off my back and crumpled - I didn't eat breakfast before I went! Yikes! How totally embarrassing...

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RADIANTSTAR415 3/1/2011 10:49PM

    I went to my first spinning class tonight! I lasted 35 minutes out of the 60-minute class. I hated stopping short of completing the class, but I was so overheated that I needed to stop. I suppose I would try it again. The whole time I was preoccupied with thoughts of wanting the class to end!!! But that tends to be my frame of mind when I try any fitness class for the first time. I will try to pace myself better next time and wear a heart monitor. (That was good advice!) I am glad I tried it, though. It will definitely prepare me for riding my new bike, too. emoticon

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REVJVH 3/1/2011 7:03PM

    I've been spinning a couple of times a week since the beginning of January, and I like it a lot. It's hard work and I'm conscious of the passage of time (HOW many more minutes? Oh, no!! Ok, you can do it. What? Only 3 minutes since the last time I checked? Feels like at least 10!), but I love the calorie burn and I love that I'm keeping in good biking shape for when the snow goes away and I can bike outdoors again.

I do wear bike pants, and it helps. Terry.com has padded bike shorts and capris in plus sizes, as well as jerseys. It can be hard to find performance wear in larger sizes, and I really applaud Terry for their variety.

I haven't bought shoes yet, but I have my eye on the Keen Commuter sandals for both my regular bike and spin class. Soon, I think.

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ELLENSUN 3/1/2011 10:32AM

    When my knee is further recuperated from ACL reconstruction surgery, I will probably start taking spinning classes. Thanks for the great info.

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BHANSON6509 3/1/2011 9:40AM

    Thanks for the info!

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THYCKNSWEET 10/21/2010 11:43AM

    Thanks for the info ..im thinking about starting class

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MDPFIRRMAN 9/13/2010 3:35PM

  The gel seat is really optional. I have been doing Spinning now for 3 times a week for almost a year. Your butt only hurts usually after the first two times. Many people mistake it for being on the hard seat. Actually, what causes it is you have muscles in your butt (between your cheeks) that NEVER get used. Spinning uses these muscles and makes it feel like someone hit you with a bat between the butt cheeks after the first ride. After this, it gets much better. I had difficulty getting through the first classes, but now am an experienced rider.

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RUSTBUCKET1 7/5/2010 10:58PM

    This is a really great list. Especially the gel seat that makes the class bearable. Many people drop cycling because they aren't wearing padding between their butt and the seat. The misery makes them remember the workout for days. They don't have to suffer the indignity! Just buy the gel seat and/or padded bike shorts. emoticon

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PERRYR 5/5/2010 7:02AM

    I no longer take spin class but gotta tell you that it was a VERY tough workout.
The class was for experienced cyclists only and was amazing. Two water bottles and two towels for every class.
Greatest reward was the tremendous gain in my cycling abilities.

I really miss that class but schedule no longer allowed. Went back to karate for a couple of years and now taking a boot camp class. Can only afford one class per week and the boot camp provides better workout for the entire body.

Spin class will always rank high in the best ever experiences.

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BELLKISS2171 4/27/2010 4:01PM

    I LOVE spinning, I remember the first time I took the class I COULDN'T WALK, I didn't feel my butt! LOL I was in so much pain, but after a few weeks It wasn't so hard. I lose a great amount of weight every time I submit to a spinning class.

I'm starting a spinning class tomorrow!! emoticon

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GEOCACHEAZ 3/1/2010 10:49PM

    New to spin- still can't believe I am doing it. I was so intimidated by it! Thanks for this information. It was really useful. emoticon

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HOLLYNOEL75 2/23/2010 5:08PM

    I need a heartrate monitor, never tried one but would be interested to learn the benefits.

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COACHDNUKE 2/20/2010 3:45PM

    I will be starting my first spinning soon thanks for the info especially about the gel seat. LOL

ENJOY THE RIDE
Dennis

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MSSNOWY 2/20/2010 9:33AM

    Thanks for an interesting look at spinning. I have heard of it, but never saw it in action, as it were. I don't think I'll be doing it because it won't fit in with the rest of my life, but it is still nice to be educated.

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GOALS44T 1/31/2010 6:34PM

    I just started a spinning class 4 weeks ago and have found that the last 15 minutes or so of the class (it's 60 min), my toes get a little numb. I think I will be investing in some cycling shoes very soon. Other than that, I am enjoying my class immensely and am so glad I got up the nerve to try it. I definitely get an endorphin rush when I'm done. It's a great workout and easy on my joints (I've had knee problems).

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AKACATE 1/16/2010 12:22PM

  Good info for a beginner (like me!)

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PKTREKGIRL 1/7/2010 12:20PM

    I have been considering taking up spinning at home because there are no classes in my area except that the most expensive gym in town, which is far from my house and WAY out of my price range.

This blog post was very useful and gave me some great links! Thanks!

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MAY1984 1/7/2010 10:47AM

  i've always wanted to try spinning but never got myself to really go..i was always intimidated by them because they seem so difficult...i sure do enjoy group exercises so i think i'll enjoy spinning as well...thanks for the article it sure helped me realize what to expect and what i need before i try it

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CINDYY00 1/6/2010 10:53AM

    Thank you Great BLOG! I emoticon SPINNING!

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~VERMONTER 1/4/2010 10:01PM

  i've been Spinning for 10 years now. It's a fun way to burn 500-900 calories per hour and train for other sports...including outdoor cycling. I recommend cycling shoes and shorts for all Spinners. Cycling shoes have stiffer soles to efficiently transfer power from your feet to the pedals and to protect your feet. The lack of stiff soles in sneakers allows your feet to collapse through the arches while pedaling, which may cause pain, tendon problems and a burning sensation on the bottoms of the feet. I wear cycling shorts because it feels far better than wearing regular, everyday shorts. The chamois keeps it dry down there while I'm riding, pads the seat a bit and there aren't any seams to dig into my skin.
emoticon

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~VERMONTER 1/4/2010 10:00PM

  i've been Spinning for 10 years now. It's a fun way to burn 500-900 calories per hour and train for other sports...including outdoor cycling. I recommend cycling shoes and shorts for all Spinners. Cycling shoes have stiffer soles to efficiently transfer power from your feet to the pedals and to protect your feet. The lack of stiff soles in sneakers allows your feet to collapse through the arches while pedaling, which may cause pain, tendon problems and a burning sensation on the bottoms of the feet. I wear cycling shorts because it feels far better than wearing regular, everyday shorts. The chamois keeps it dry down there while I'm riding, pads the seat a bit and there aren't any seams to dig into my skin.
emoticon

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MAGOOSAN 1/4/2010 4:16PM

  Starting a spinning class tomorrow, never been too excited about it. But, I will heed the advice to start slow as a beginner and not try to keep up with everyone. I always crash and burn when I do that. NOT THIS TIME! 2010 is going to be a GREAT YEAR, and getting in to better shape is why! emoticon

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STORMTMB 1/4/2010 11:19AM

    I read the article and had to come check out your blog. Thanks for all of the advice and recommendations. I appreciate your explanations of why you do what you do.

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LOPEYP 1/4/2010 5:53AM

    Thanks for the info. I've been considering taking a spinning class. Think I'll give it a try.

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NMSLATTE1985 12/12/2009 5:51PM

    Great Advice!

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AMELIABOSOX 11/11/2009 7:18PM

    thanks for the advice

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MRSSHANNONC1970 9/27/2009 8:08PM

    thanks for the advice - I think I definatly need the seat cover

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TECHLADY 9/6/2009 11:23AM

  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!

As for the gel seat? I purchased it and used it once. Much more trouble than it was worth. Apparently my butt as calloused enough...cause I'm fine! LOL

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FOST40 9/1/2009 1:32PM

  I am having problems with programming my Nike Imara heart rate monitor. I keep getting 5555 and 2222. I am going to replace the battery to see if that will work. Any help is appreciated!

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FOST40 8/25/2009 6:56PM

  I love spinning as well! I try to go at least 3-4 times a week. I used to need a gel set, but, now I can sit without one. I think it has really helped me lose weight. I plan on purchasing the Nike Imara heart rate monitor. It would be more motivating to see the calories that I am burning in class.


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THEPHATPASTOR 8/14/2009 11:11PM

  I have been spinning (actually studio cycle at the YMCA) for three years and it has helped me to lose 160 lbs. I would love to become an instructor at some point. When I started I thought I would die! I weighed over 400 lbs and just paced myself....gel seat was a must at first! emoticon

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REZPEACH 4/3/2009 5:53PM

    I have fallen in love with spinning as well. By the way you can buy a gel seat cover at Wal-mart for about $10.

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TARAH237 1/27/2009 4:35PM

    I really LOVE Cycling Class, as mater fact I when 5:30 this morning and I will go tonight too. You think I am crazy.
Hey, I love it and I have gold to reach. I try my best to go Spinning Class at leas 4times a week. I usually when I am on the bike I close my eyes and thinking I am on side of Beach and try to be the First one to get there.
emoticon

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ACASTROTX 1/27/2009 11:41AM

    I have just recently joined a gym and I am very excited about taking the spinning class. They tell me you can burn up to 700cals per class. Thank you for your information this is very helpful for some one who has never taken the class before.

Thank You.

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GIANNA345 1/6/2009 9:15PM

    For someone who is new to spinning, how long do you think it might take to get the hang of standing? I've only had one class, and I found standing next to impossible. I have also been told to stay away from stair machines because of my overstretched pelvic and sacroiliac ligaments (thanks, kids) and I am wondering if cycling in the standing position might have a similar effect on the alignment of my joints. I plan to ask my doctor, but I am not sure if he is familiar with spinning. Any thoughts?

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BIRDLSLAURIE 10/16/2008 10:15PM

    I started spinning about four months ago. At first I felt a little awkward but I'm so glad I stuck with it. It is by far my favorite cardio workout. While there is the energy you get from the group it is also individual in that you get out of it what you put into it.

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CAROLISCIOUS 10/2/2008 10:05PM

    I started spinning in February '08 and I've lost 60 pounds. I spin 3 to 4 days a week.

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ALBERTAMW 9/17/2008 12:01AM

    Hi Coach Nichole!
I love you blog & website!

I bought a heart rate monitor shortly after I started spinning this year and what a difference it made in my endurance. Being in class and where I am usually 20 years older than the instructor I would have to remind my self to go at my pace and with the watch it makes it so easy to be in my target zone.

Also, the spinning has totally changed my body!

Yes, the next item I want is the bike shoes. emoticon Alberta

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HEY.ERIN 9/16/2008 4:26PM

    I'm a Spinning Instructor too and love it. Especially on weeks I'm not as motivated to get to the gym, I know I'll have to be there to teach and knowing I have members to push, helps me get going!
I'm good without the gel seat - its just something you get used to I guess... but an alternative for those that don't want to wear the spandex shorts is cycle underwear - padded underwear you can wear under any gym clothes you usually wear. I've never worn them, but one of my co-workers mentioned them to me and I thought it was a great idea for some of my members not yet ready for the spandex! :) I've seen them on rei.com, but I'm sure there are other options too. emoticon

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SASSYMOMMY 2/8/2008 2:24PM

    OMG - I bought one and I LOVE IT!! I think it should be a necessity when someone is trying to lose weight!!

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AIMZ524 11/27/2007 9:04AM

  I love spinning!! I also teach 3 classes a week, but if I had time I'd do it EVERYDAY! Even if I don't want to go in, after I'm done I feel great.

Question: My thighs seem to put on bulk really quickly. What is a good way to prevent this since I spin so often? I'd prefer that they slimmed down some, and trust me...my legs are the one spot on my body that there is not any fat.

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SALLYAVERSA 11/10/2007 11:34PM

  Hi! I enjoyed your article. I bought the Imara heart watch, shoes and a visor on the Nike website. I have a stationary bike and love to ride it. I also ride my bike trail bike on the bike trail in my city. Now I will have a way to monitor my heart rate. thanks
Sally

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AMBERDR9 11/10/2007 11:20PM

    I have tried spinning twice, the first time I used the regular seat. OUCH! No additional comment needed after that! The next time I used a gel seat and gel packed shorts. OUCH! What did I do wrong? Somebody told me I needed to develop a "callus" in the saddle area. ???? Ok, that is one place I do NOT want to develop a callus. Would the shoes make that much difference since I had the seat and shorts? Or should I just give up on ever spinning?

thanks,


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PATTIL1 11/10/2007 9:34PM

    Hi, sorry to bug you...I know you are probably really busy. I have a quick question: I have a lot of weight to lose but I really want to take a spinning class. Am I too fat? Is there a beginner one?
Thanks, Patti
P.S. can you answer on my page?

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KATECB 11/10/2007 5:29PM

    I absolutely adore spinning and our isntructor made it so much fun with chants, shouts, great music etc - sadly the gym put its fees up so high that I cannot afford to go anymore and I really, really miss it! It went from £30.00 (about $60.00) a month to £80.00 (approx $160) a month! No can do.....unless I win the lottery anyway!

I didn't have special shoes, but I did get a gel seat - and yes, you can use it on a traditional road bike! It still takes some getting used to and like others I felt bruised for a few days - didn't stop me going back for more though and I ended up where if I didn't do at least one spinning class (45mins) a day then I didn't feel I had had a work out!

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FREECLOUD 11/10/2007 5:21PM

    Your blog post couldn't have been more timely. I live in a rural area where we're lucky to have the opportunity to attend a group fitness class of any kind. I recently learned that a spinning class was going to be offered at the high school field house starting in December. How exciting!! And now I have some great advice to help me get started. Thank you!

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TRACKPANTS 11/10/2007 4:35PM

    I've had a go at spinning, and loved it. That is useful to hear about a gel seat, as an option. I've been road cycling to lose some weight. Hmmm. I wonder if I could fit a gel seat to my bike. What do you think? I'm also impressed that there is minimum risk of injury, because it's low impact. That's GREAT that you've found something that works really well for you & is loads of fun.

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