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From Sneakers to Saddle: 5 Tips for a Great Spinning Class

October 10, 2013

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As an avid runner, I never thought that I would enjoy any cardio as much as I love running.  When a serious hip injury struck, my physical therapist forbade me from any high impact exercise, and I discovered the only cardio that could give me that “runner’s high.” Spinning.

I was so intimidated to go to my first indoor cycling class.  All of the other students seemed to know what they were doing, and I had no idea how to set up my bike or what the different positions were. I pushed back my fear and jumped on the bike anyway. This one spinning class changed my workout regimen for good. I took classes frequently, even using the bikes when there were no classes available. After one year of spinning, I became a certified spinning instructor. Now, I teach at least two spinning classes per week. Who knew my injury would lead to a new passion and a part-time job!

I know new classes can be tough and scary, but it feels great to step outside your comfort zone. So head to the gym or studio, hop on the bike, and follow these simple tips to make the most of your time on the saddle:

1. Don’t be intimidated. You hear the music blasting through the door and see a highly energetic instructor yelling at their students. Don’t let this stop you from walking in the door. Instructors are trained to choose music and give verbal cues that motivate you to perform at your highest level.

2. Listen to your body. From stress to lack of sleep, there are a lot of variables that can affect your performance. Indoor cycling classes give you complete control over your resistance. A good instructor will give cues and modifications for those in the room with aches and pains. But in case they don’t, take a step back and reduce your intensity if you’re feeling under the weather.

3. Hydrate. Depending on your body, you’ll be burning nearly 500 calories per class and sweating a lot. Always bring a water bottle with you and sip frequently throughout the class. Don’t stop there. Keep drinking H20 after class.  In addition to your daily water intake, use the 40:40 rule: 40 ounces of water for 40 minutes of cycling.

4.  Show your muscles some love. Warming up and cooling down are always an essential component of a good workout, and the cold winter months make it even more critical to not neglect the stretch. Stretching prevents injury, reduces tightness, adjusts your body to a calm state, and reduces your heart rate.

5. Have fun. Take the time to find a class, studio, and instructor that you love.  Every instructor is different and each class is unique. Whether it’s the music or verbal cues that make you motivated, finding the right class will make your workouts even more effective, and yes, believe it or not, fun.

Have you ever been intimidated to try a new form of exercise?