Fitness Articles

What to Expect from a Spinning Class

The Most Fun You'll Have on a Bike!

233SHARES
I took a Spinning class for the first time after I moved away to college. I was active in sports throughout high school, and I knew that I wanted to stay strong and fit. Now it was up to me to do that on my own. I didn't know anything about Spinning or what to expect from a group class (I'd never taken a fitness class), but I had heard that it burns serious calories and kicks your butt. I was game.

I took classes a few times per week and enjoyed it most of the time—even though my legs dreaded it. Some of the instructors were better than others were, but I always came away dripping with sweat and feeling like I had really done something good for myself. When I became a certified Spinning instructor a few years later, I learned many things that my former instructors never told me (and some things they shouldn't have!). When I teach classes, safety and comfort are the priorities I emphasize to my students, so I start every class with a review of fundamentals and safety points so that everyone--regardless of weight, age, or fitness level—can have a safe and effective workout. I tell them this truth: Spinning is your workout. You control everything from your speed and resistance to your intensity level, so it can be as easy or as challenging as you want it to be. Like many things in life, you will get out of it what you put into it.

If you've been curious about trying those notorious Spinning classes, here’s what you need to know, whether you’re taking a Spinning class for the first time or the 50th time. 

What it is: Spinning is a specific format of indoor cycling. Only certified Spinning instructors are allowed to teach “Spinning,” but other group cycling programs exist by different names, and some have their own certifications. Spinning is a cardio (aerobic) workout set to music and led by a certified instructor. Most classes last between 40 and 60 minutes, although some places offer beginner or intro classes that might be shorter.

Whom it's for: Spinning is great for people who want a motivating workout that they can control at their own pace. Even if you’re not into choreography-based fitness classes, you can still enjoy Spinning because it involves neither rhythm nor complex moves. It’s low-impact, so it’s very suitable for people who want to balance out higher-impact exercises (like running) or for people who have some joint problems.

What to expect: Try to think of your instructor as a guide—he or she should give you general guidelines about how much resistance to add, how fast to pedal, how hard you should be working, and when to do certain movements (like standing, sitting, sprinting, etc.). Using these cues as guidelines, it’s up to you to work out at your own level and pay attention to how you feel. You can recover, go slower, use less resistance, or vice versa depending on how hard you want to work. In a class format, everyone feels a bit of pressure to keep up. However, Spinning is non-competitive. Especially if you’re a beginner, remember that it will take a few weeks to build up your fitness level to be able to work hard for the whole class. It’s important to honor your body and work at a lower intensity as you get the hang of it.

You can also expect to feel fatigue throughout your leg muscles when you’re newer to Spinning—even if you’re used to working out in general. But no matter what, don’t stop pedaling. At the very least, keep those legs moving slowly. Suddenly stopping any exercise has risks (like passing out and lightheadedness), so if you get tired, simply reduce your resistance and slow down to catch your breath.

You will also feel some saddle soreness from the seat, and that’s very normal. After coming to class regularly, that soreness will go away for most people. If it helps, stand up out of the seat a little bit when you need a break. You can also adjust your position in the saddle and take “posture breaks,” where you stop reaching forward to the handlebars to sit upright in your seat.

What to wear: Workout clothes (but no long/baggy pants, because those can get caught in the pedals/wheels) and flat-soled workout shoes are a must. If you have them, padded cycling shorts will increase your comfort, and cycling shoes with cleats (that clip into the bike pedals) can make your workout more effective. But cycling shorts and shoes are not necessary, especially not for beginners.

What to bring: At least one water bottle (trust me, you’ll need it!) and a towel for all that sweat. I also recommend a gel seat (about $15), which will fit over top of the bike seat and increase your comfort. If you have one, a heart rate monitor is an awesome fitness tool that instructors and students alike typically use to measure exercise intensity during Spinning classes. Check out more of my picks in my "Stuff I Love for Spinning" blog post.

Where to find it: Spinning is commonplace these days—you can find it (or similar indoor cycling programs) at almost every gym or fitness center, and there are even Spinning-specific gyms too. If you go to www.Spinning.com, you can find some locations listed, including locations that will allow you to come and try out a class for FREE!

My Tips: If you’re new, show up early! Let the instructor know that you’re new (and whether you have any conditions that might affect your ability to take part in the class), and ask him or her to help you set up your bike properly. The main thing I emphasize to my students is to monitor your intensity level and work at your own pace. Every person in a Spinning class is at a different level of fitness, and everyone had to start at square one. Don’t feel pressure to do more if you’re not comfortable doing so. Lastly, remember that every instructor is very different. You might not like it your first time, but you might like it better your second time. Give it a chance with a few different classes and instructors before you decide whether Spinning is for you or not.

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
Page 1 of 1  
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!
233SHARES

Member Comments

  • FLEXAPPEALRENO
    Looking for best spin classes ? Then you are at a right place. Visit famous blog http://flexappeal
    .livejournal.
    com/733.html for all the details about spinn classes.
  • I love the spin classes. Only pet peeve is people with really bad gas! Use the washroom first find an alternative exercise, etc so it is not enviromental warfare on your fellow classmates!
  • ETHELMERZ
    You don't have to do a spinning class if you are not up to snuff, buy your own exercise bike for at home, put it where you watch tv, and use it every day. Still does a lot of good. Increases stamina, burns calories, you don't need to be maniacal about it. We have two of them, husband and I climb on whenever we have free minutes, you don't need to sit for hours.
  • I don't think Spinning classes use recumbent bikes. That lets me out, since I have back problems. I also don't like to be yelled at because I'm not keeping up the pace. I'm 65, not 25, and a size 2.
  • I absolutely love spin classes. I started over 15 years ago. Not in regular basis, but every time I go to class I enjoy them. I started over in February and so far I loved them! Inmy opinion, is one of the most complete exercises available. If you push yourself, you will see results in no time. Thanks
  • MARYO125
    I find that I can't make it to spin class on a regular basis and when I try spinning on my own, I never push myself as hard as when I'm using this killer coached spinning album I found on iTunes. It's made by an elite cycling trainer to push you: http://bit.ly/Cyc
    leExpress_iTunes
  • The first spin class I ever took was the 8-week Grand Tour Program. I did NOT know what I was getting into, but really glad I did it. It was the best money I had ever spent on myself, it got me ready for road riding (this particular spin program is different than others). I loved it but it was hard work, it however, made me want to do it more! I suppose that is a good thing. My spin instructor, Linda, was energetic and made the class that much more exciting. She also put together a cycling club when the season began. I cannot say enough about Spinning, it is fabulous! Try it, you'll like it !
  • Thanks for sharing. I know of no classes near me.
  • Good article. But I don't think I would like to spin. That's something you need to think about very hard. I believe you could hurt yourself.
  • Spinning is aerobic exercise. It can be an awesome workout. Be cautious you are fit correctly on the Spinning Bike to avoid injury.

    Spinning is not cycling, it is an aerobic event that helps the body metabolism. Done correctly you will have gains in fitness and tone.
  • FABDIA
    I live in Bergen County NJ but spinning was always a bit challenging for me. I found a great spin class at Club Metro in NJ. I have lost 10 pound in 3 months. I spin 3 times a week and I have gain tone and reduced the most stubborn belly. I am over 40 years old so Spin has been my savior.
  • EDDYKLAT
    Living in Doha - Qatar, I use to spinn for almost 2 years, and since almost a year I am cycling 3 times a week for about 1h 30 minutes,,, I am looking to get a certified spinning instructor,,, can this be on line? appreciate your assistance
  • I've been a spin instructor for the past two years, and I think it's the most under-rated exercise at the gym. With the right routine and the right music, it's one of the best workouts you can get!
  • I've been doing ex. on a stationary bike and need some routines.
  • I love riding my bike for hours, so i thought i would like spinning. Turns out not only did i not like it; i think it was more like hate. glad there are so many classes and forms of other exercise.

About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

x Lose 10 Pounds by July 5! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.