Let’s go for a spin!

Its Winter, It’s cold and we all want to do something to keep moving, but don’t want to face the elements outside.  If you are like me, the treadmill gets boring after a few miles (which is why to myself and many of my running friends call it the dreadmill).  Which means it’s the perfect time to try something different – lets go cycling!

Indoor group cycling classes can be found in almost any gym and are a great way to change up your routine, challenge yourself and keep up your training (without having to go out in sub zero temps!

SO, what are you waiting for?  Ready to try a group cycling class?

You will need to learn how to set up your bike, but once you’re in the saddle the instructor will tell you exactly what you need to do to work your butt off!

Before you head to your first class, here’s a few things you need to keep in mind:

First, look up what to expect. I’ve been to spinning classes at the some gyms where you drag a bike from a closet out onto the gym floor. And I’ve also been to a trendy place where you get more upscale environment, including free water and towels, and everybody gets assigned a specific bike in the permanently set up studio…  Or it can be anywhere in between.  No matter where you go, you will have a chance to get in a great workout!!

Second, the cycling studio my be bright or it may be dark.  I have seen some studios that they turn down (or turn off the lights completely!) but don’t worry.  Either way, you are going to get the same workout.  Also, as far as the music – the volume is usually just loud enough to be immersive, but some people might find the volume to be a little too much.  If you are worried about the volume of the music, you can always bring a pair of earplugs to bring down the volume for yourself.

Third, Get there early and ask for help adjusting your bike, even if you think it couldn’t be that hard. It’s easy to miss one of the adjustment knobs, or to misunderstand what the right position should be. It’s going to be awkward to impossible to adjust mid-class.  Plus, a pretty fitting on your bike can help avoid unnecessary injuries down the road.

Speaking of keeping yourself safe.  Be sure to bring water with you!  You should be drinking 20-30oz of water during an hour long cycling class.  Make sure it’s a water bottle that is easy to drink from on the go!  Keep the water bottle with the screw off cap at home.  The last thing you want to have to do while cycling is try and unscrew the cap off your water bottle while you are riding!  Grab a bottle with a easy drink cap.  There are many version of water/sports bottles out there that you can easily squeeze or drink from, without having to open the cap.

We can’t forget the clothing.  Be sure to wear something comfortable.  You are going for a workout and you are going to be moving.  Please keep in mind that you are going to be on a bike, with several moving parts!  You will want to wear something that fits close to the body.  This is not the time for long, baggy shorts or long pants that might get caught in the pedals or wheel.  

Next, shoes.  Many gyms or studios may have all their bikes set up with SPD pedals, which means you need special shoes that clip in.  But since this is your first class, you probably don’t have cycling shoes already in your closet.  But that does not mean that you have to go out and buy new shoes just to take a cycling class to try it out. Most cycles used in cycling classes will also have pedals equipped with “cages” to slide your feet into and straps which will help keep your feet securely in place.  However, this does not mean that you can just go in with any shoes!  Make sure you have a good pair of sturdy shoes.  Those comfy canvas shoes that you wear running errands are not going to give your feet the support that you need when you are cycling.  

Now, as far as the class itself – Take it easy that first day. Enjoy it.  The instructor is going to give you cues and instructions throughout the class on pace and resistance.  Remember, you don’t have to give 110 percent today, even if the instructor screams that you should. Adjust the resistance on your bike to give yourself a good workout without totally trashing your legs.  I know it can be frustrating if it seems like everyone is pushing them self harder or going faster than you, but it’s not actually a race.  It is YOUR workout.  Make it the best workout for you today.  You can go all out next time, once you are familiar with the dynamics of the class.

This is your first class.  Enjoy this class.  This is the last time, you will get to go to a cycling class for the first time!

So, have you tried it? How did your first class go? What advice do you have for any indoor cycling newbies? And if you are thinking about trying an indoor cycling class for the first time, what else would you like to know?

Let’s get ready to ride!

Want to try out a cycling class?  Live in the Green Bay area?  Head on over to one of the 4 YMCA locations and give one of our classes a try!  We would be glad to show you the ropes and get you riding!

Cover photo compliments of Desiree Schmidt, Group Exercise Director, Green Bay YMCA

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