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What to Expect from a Spinning Class

The Most Fun You'll Have on a Bike!

-- By Nicole Nichols, Fitness Instructor
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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.
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
Nicole was named "America's Top Personal Trainer to Watch" in 2011. A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, she loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Her DVDs "Total Body Sculpting" and "28 Day Boot Camp" (a best seller) are available online and in stores nationwide. Read Nicole's full bio and blog posts.

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Member Comments

  • 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 - 3/13/2014 10:45:03 AM
  • 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 ! - 12/20/2013 6:20:48 PM
  • Thanks for sharing. I know of no classes near me. - 12/9/2013 4:56:43 AM
  • 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. - 12/1/2013 4:32:26 PM
  • 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. - 10/26/2013 1:53:07 PM
  • 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.
    - 9/20/2013 9:16:26 AM
  • 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 - 9/16/2013 7:52:03 AM
  • 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! - 6/5/2013 7:14:41 AM
  • I've been doing ex. on a stationary bike and need some routines. - 5/29/2013 11:58:46 AM
  • 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. - 1/22/2013 9:45:25 PM
  • FLOWERJEN0
    Here is a good page with Questions and Answers on anything related to a spinning class: http://www.spinni
    ng.com/en/spi
    nning_program_faq - 1/3/2013 4:42:50 PM
  • I loved spinning so much, I became an instructor ! I've been teaching classes for over seven years. LOVE IT !! - 8/9/2012 6:20:03 PM
  • This article is so much like an article in the new issue of Shape magazine. I appreciate how much more in depth you were on the subject though. - 8/9/2012 5:52:58 PM
  • I have tried Spinning classes in the past and just hated them. I love cycling, but have found Spinning to be overwhelming. Perhaps I just need to find a different instructor. I have completely stopped the group fitness classes at my gym because most of the instructors do not give good directions and often the classes are more about watching the instructor show off how good she/he is rather than actually calling out directions, giving modifications, and encouraging the participants. - 8/9/2012 11:26:54 AM
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