Top tips for the beginner Spinner

Spin/spinning/indoor cycling is a popular cardio group workout that involves cycling to music on a stationary bike, usually in the dark. Your bike has a manual dial to alter the bike’s resistance (simulating an uphill ride) depending on how challenging you want it to be, and what the instructor asks you to do.

Photo credit: @theglobalpanorama on Flickr

Photo credit: @theglobalpanorama on Flickr

Only certified Spinning instructors are permitted to teach the “Spinning” class but other group cycling classes exist with different names – cycle, ride etc. Most classes are between 40 and 60 minutes. Some places may offer beginners classes which are shorter, or “pro” classes which are longer.

I recently got back into Spinning and I even managed to hit a 9.15am class today – a Sunday of all days! I was introduced to it back in 2011 when Ben and I started dating. I’d always wanted to try it – but being a gym-phobic, slightly overweight couch potato – it wasn’t something I’d ever seriously considered. Ben inspired me to start swimming a few months prior, and that gave me the confidence to sign up for the gym. I’m a big believer in attending classes, especially when you begin working out since it’s harder to back out of your workout halfway through a class full of people.

The first class was really difficult but I felt tingly and happy afterwards which I find is the sign of a good workout (hello endorphins!). I really ached the first few times, but you should expect that if you are suitably challenged.

Spinning is great for all abilities due to self-managed intensity. It’s also great for those who want to look after their joints as it’s low impact compared to running for example.

What to expect in the class

It’s important to arrive early and let the instructor know you’re new so they can fit you to your bike. There are several parts that need adjusting, and you can do some serious damage to your body if you work out in the wrong position.

Your instructor acts as a guide, and trust me when I say some instructors are better than others which you will figure out quite quickly. You’ll be told to adjust your dial and how fast to “spin”, often to the beat of the music playing. You’ll also be asked to stand up for parts and sit in slightly different positions on the bike. Unlike classes such as Zumba, which I am terrible at, you don’t need to replicate complicated moves and no one can tell if you get it totally wrong!

It’s up to you to work out at your own level and adjust depending on how you feel and how hard you want to work.

The more effort you put in, the more you get out of spin classes – it’s been found that calorie burn can vary from 358 to 715 for a 45-minute class – however I think it could be even lower if you don’t increase your dial enough, so if you’re going to go to the class, you should make the most of it! No pain no gain!

Going it alone

I use the solo spinning bikes at Fitness First sometimes – if I want to do a bit of an extra workout after a treadmill run or elliptical i might do 15-30 minutes on the spin bike.

They look something like this: spinning

I wouldn’t recommend starting on this, but I find it more challenging than the standard exercise bike. You can set the program as if you’re either really cycling on the road or in a class.

Feel like you want to try? Ask yourself these questions.

  • Do you prefer working out in a group setting?
  • Do you enjoy working out to loud music?
  • Do you want a high intensity workout?
  • Are you looking for a low impact exercise?
  • Do you want some control over the intensity of your workout?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, I’d give spinning a go!

You can read more about Spinning on their website here.

Do you enjoy spinning? Why do you prefer it over other exercises? Let me know in the comments!

Coco xo


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