An indoor trek on a spin bike can be as effective, motivating, and challenging as any outdoor training ride, but it’s never a bad idea to assess your spinning skills and class culture to make sure you’re getting the most out of your ride. Remember that there are a few key ways to get the best spin class possible, and make sure you’re getting maximum results for your efforts.
Nourish Your Body
Whether you subscribe to eating protein a few hours before your class or are a fan of fasted cardio - at some point, you will want to make sure you are nourishing your body with the best fuel possible. We like to start with a protein smoothie made with Daily Shake, to get vitamins and micronutrients, or protein balls made with clean ingredients.
Engage Your Core
With so much focus on your legs, you might forget the importance of engaging your core muscles while spinning — but without adequate emphasis on your core, you won’t perform as well in class, you’ll probably hit fatigue pretty early, and eventually, you may get injured. Engaging your core helps you maintain good posture and breath control, but good core awareness doesn’t mean a super tight grip on the abs, either. For best results, watch your posture, relax your belly, breathe deeply, and let your core muscles contract and relax naturally as you ride.
Up The Challenge
If at any point your ride feels too easy, it’s time to add some resistance. You should be able to keep up with your instructor’s speed, but your class should definitely feel challenging. As your fitness level improves, you’ll increase strength and endurance — so keep upping the knob spins on your bike as needed to make sure you’re increasing resistance and making progress over time.
Pick The Best Class For You
Most indoor cycling sessions last from 30 to 75 minutes, and the intensity will vary throughout the class as your speed, body position, and resistance levels change throughout the workout. Your instructor should be motivating, clear, instructive, and approachable, and should communicate in a way that works for you. You want to pick a class that simulates a training ride that you’d do outside, so make sure there’s an emphasis on pedal strokes, leg speed, climbing, and acceleration/deceleration. Classes should be challenging, but should encourage you to focus on your own fitness level and development as a rider — and not so much about comparing yourself to others.
Get To Know Your Instructor
Take a few minutes to introduce yourself to your spin instructor when you join a new class, let her/him know what your fitness goals are — and definitely communicate if you’re hitting up against any challenges on your bike. Your instructor wants you to succeed and have a great experience, and she might have an invaluable tip, or suggest a tweak to your bike (like adjusting your seat height), that can make all the difference to the safety and effectiveness of your workout.
Arrive Early, And Check Your Set Up
Arriving early to class, and making sure your bike fit is right for you, is super important to your comfort level, reducing injury risk, and getting the best ride possible. Pop into class ten minutes early to make sure your bike set up is right, and make sure to stay for the cool down after class, too — taking the time to properly cool down your muscles after your ride is key to lessening your chance of injuries. It's good to balance weight training, cardio, and recovery like foam rolling or yoga to make sure your muscles gain endurance and strength, while maintaining flexibility.
Keeping a few key tips in mind as you embark on your next spin class will help set you up for the best experience possible. You’re putting in the time, and the effort, to take up the challenge and get in shape, so take some steps to maximize your results, while having the best (and most fun!) experience possible.
Written by Carolyn de Lorenzo
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