Thanks for plugging into the third leg of this Mission Sexy series! In the first two legs, I discussed the “why” that made me venture into spinning and how to develop a love for the art. So if you’ve missed out, click below to catch up:
The purpose of this post is to provide you some tips to navigate through the world of spinning. I will warn you that this one is quite long, so it is broken up into clear sections if you need to skip around.
Getting Down to Business…
Spinning is a culture in itself. They are rules and practices that aren’t written down anywhere and you will only find it by discovery. It is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing someone walking around aimlessly looking through each aisle of bikes with towels, water bottles and other items…but no people on them. They walk out of the room looking dazed, confused and deceived.
If you don’t want this to be you, then follow the tips below. They will spare you some time, energy and aggravation. Yes, it is a lot of crap to remember but you’ll do it if you want to be ready for ‘prime time.”
Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second. Give your dreams all you’ve got and you’ll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you.” —- William James
Make observations and get referrals. Everyone has different preferences and you have to see what works for you.
- If you are a member of a gym, talk to the people at the desk and ask them who the most popular instructors are. This will be assessed by the number of people they normally have and how many times their names are listed on the monthly calendar. Once you assess those folks, go by the class while it is going on and check it out. Go in and sit on the sideline.
- You want to see the personality of the instructor, the interaction with the class, the energy of the class (the response to the instructor and the overall enjoyment they appear to have) and the type of music. If all is well and good the class should be packed.
- Biker type shorts/pants (padded ones aren’t necessary) or capris/. I wouldn’t advise sweat pants unless that’s all you have. If you have on some pants that have the potential to show some “crack action” when you bend over, sit in the back. Nobody wants to see that (you never know but most of the time NOT). You can wear shorts but may run the risk of your bare leg rubbing on the seat when you have to do some standing exercises.
- The shirt is your preference.
- Bottle of water and a hand towel.
- A bike pad (preferred). Don’t want any soreness issues.
- Sneakers but avoid the thin, cross-trainer like ones (you can sometimes feel the pedal because the soles are thin). I wouldn’t advise buying a pair of spins shoes unless you’ve been spinning for a few months and you know you will make this your thing.
You want to arrive early for a number of reasons.The most important—to actually get in the class.
- A good class will have a line forming and a sign-in sheet out 30 minutes prior to start. You will see a lot of interaction and synergy there. A few of the classes that I attend have gotten so treacherous, the attendants have to guard the sheet, write your name for you and provide a ticket to show the instructor.
- As soon as you sign in, immediately go in and claim your bike if the room is clear. You can do this by putting a towel, bag or water bottle on your bike. The etiquette is not to touch a bike that has one of these items on it. Then go change your clothes.
- If there is a class, quickly change clothes and get in line at the spin class door to claim your bike.
Getting set up. You want to be able to get the spot where you feel most comfortable.
- If you are a newbie, go to the back row.
- Test your bike out and make sure that everything is working. Ask the instructor for help (a good instructor will ask if anyone needs help).
- Make sure that the bike doesn’t wobble (if get stuck with one of those just get some paper towels and slide it under the uneven side).
- Ensure the tension works correctly. Jump on the bike and begin pedalling to see that the display comes on. Ensure the tension moves up and down to make sure it goes from level 1 to the 20’s.
- Ensure your handle bars, seat height and seat slider adjusts correctly.
- All of these things need to be checked before you get situated. You can still ride, you just won’t get your best experience. Click here to for a cheat sheet.
- I eat about 1 ½ to about 2 hours prior for an evening class. For a morning class, I eat something light as soon as I get up. Otherwise, I run the risk of some digestion problems in class (and ya’ll know I have heartburn and digestion issues anyway so I make sure I get this part right).
- Stay away from greasy and oily stuff (which you should be avoiding anyway). 30 minutes prior you can snack on some nuts, banana or some type of vitamin B/C supplement ( I like Emergen-C) for an energy boost.
- Bring a water bottle with a minimum of 16 ounces of water. I like water with electrolytes to drink during or after class because I tend to get dehydrated. I would avoid Gatorade-like drinks because of the extra sugar and calories. My drink of choice is a straight electrolyte water(no colors and other ingredients) from Trader Joes or Whole Foods.
- Have a protein shake to drink after you ride. I keep one in a small cooler.
Other Quick Stuff
Am I too fat?
Let’s fix this fallacy first…Uh, NO! I have seen some MAJOR booties on some seats and if they can do the class you can. And some of them out-bike me. So scratch that excuse off your list.
Breathing & Focus
Make sure that you keep your head up and look ahead. Usually there is a mirror in front of the class and in the gym it is socially acceptable to look at yourself as much as you want. Breathing through your nose and out through your mouth will exert control and reduce fatigue.
Sanitizing your bike
Always wipe down the entire seat and handle bar area before and after you spin. Don’t assume that the person before you did and no one wants to touch your sweat. As Ms. Glenda says, “That’s just NASTY!” Sanitizer and paper towels will be available in the room. If you sweat like a pig, wipe the floor too.
How long is the class?
Most classes last an hour. There are some beginner classes that last 45 minutes. In both classes there is usually a 5 minute warm up and a 5 minute cool down.
What if I can’t keep up?
The instructor will guide you through, but don’t worry about keeping up with people in the class. You can try to follow and if the pace is too much, go at a pace that is comfortable even if its slow the entire class. Your focus is staying on the bike..and in the room.
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” —Jack Welch
As you can see, I’m serious about my spinning. Overall it has helped me with my breathing, calorie burning and I have toned like you wouldn’t believe, particularly my legs ( I feel like I can give Tina Turner a run for her money…ijs). Beyond the exercise part, I’ve met some of the most friendly, hysterical and bizarre people who look forward to seeing each other each week. They have included me in their circle. I have also been able to encourage and mentor some newbies as they go through their journey (shout out to Mary Spencer).
I hope to see some of you or hear about your work out journeys whether it be spin or something else. Just do something consistently on a weekly basis. Mission Sexy baby!