What to Expect At Your First Spin Class

I often advocate for people to get outside of their typical workout routine to try something new. So why not try an indoor cycling class? It’s the perfect combination of cardio and muscle building. It offers your joints the relief they so desperately needed from too much time spent on the treadmill or other cardio machines. Here’s what you need to know before your first spin class!

As an avid cyclist living in Minnesota, a place with unpredictable weather, indoor classes are a must. Another benefit of our crazy weather means I have no excuse not to get my workout in!

With Anytime Fitness locations starting to offer Fitness on Request, I thought this was the perfect time to talk about what to bring, how to setup your bike, and what to expect out of a spin class!

What to Bring?

Spin class requires little equipment; most everything is usually there for you! You’ll want to wear something wicking, since you’ll be sweaty. Here are a few other items to bring:

  • Water
  • Sweat Towel
  • Headband/Sweatband

When to Arrive

Some spin classes are high in demand, which can mean the bikes get taken quickly. And when you plan your workout around spin, it can get frustrating to arrive on time only to find no bikes left. I recommend arriving at least 10 minutes early.

If you are using Fitness on Request, you can log into the portal to schedule the class to fit your timeframe. Sweet, right?

How to Setup Your Bike

Not all spin bikes are not created equal… so work with what you got.

  • Position your seat (also called a saddle) about hip level when standing next to the bike. This will allow for a slight bend in the knee when your legs reach maximum extension.
  • If you are able to adjust the distance between the saddle and handlebars, position it at about the length of your elbow to fingertips.
  • Finally, set your handlebars at a comfortable height, if you are able to adjust them. This height will vary from person to person. The key is to allow a slight bend in the elbows.

During Class

While peddling remember to keep your shoulders back and down, core engaged, and feet flat. Keep in mind the duration of the class and pace yourself. The appropriate pace FOR YOU may be completely different than the person next to you or the instructors (virtual or real).

There’s not much in terms of change in scenery during an indoor ride, so keep your ride interesting by mixing it up. You can expect that most spin classes will include all or some variation of the following: sprinting intervals, standing jumps, hill climbs, flat rides, or turns. This will keep your heart rate up (meaning increased calorie burn) and facilitate the building of muscle.

Analyze your energy level post ride — locate areas of the ride where you could have pushed yourself harder and areas where you should have backed off. It may take 2 or 3 practice rides to determine your perfect pace.

Even after numerous classes, your spin bike experience can be different every time. Roll with it, ride without judgment, and do what’s best for your body.

On average, you can burn anywhere from 400–600 calories during a spin class.

What questions do you have about spin class?

Let us know in the comments below!

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Carly Sippel is a registered yoga teacher, certified life coach, and nutrition nut. She has a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Dietetics from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She turns her passion into practice, promoting healthy bodies in both her personal and professional life.