What to expect at your first indoor cycling class
“Getting started is the hardest part.” I hear this statement echoed throughout the fitness industry when addressing beginners or anyone trying something outside of their comfort zone for the first time. In fact, we place so much emphasis on this phrase that we mentally jump ahead of the preparation stage and skip right to the action stage in any given activity. But the preparation stage is crucial. Here are some suggestions for getting started.
Of course, I would love it if everyone decided one day to hop on a stationary bike for the first time without worry or any self-doubt. However, if someone is just starting out, this is often unrealistic, and more preparation work is needed. The first step in preparing for an indoor cycling class is to decide you want to be there. I’ve been teaching classes for seven years, and I've heard various reasons why people picked up this format of cardio and how they fell in love with the results and the feeling they receive from it. We often hear our friends, coworkers, or family members who have experienced an indoor cycling class and are intrigued enough to try it for ourselves. Whatever the case, deciding you want to try something new is the first step.
Once the contemplation stage is complete, it’s time to start visualizing yourself in attendance. While preparing for an indoor cycling class does include the physical aspect, it means preparing yourself mentally as well. This is where that phrase, “Getting started is the hardest part,” starts to play a role. Doing something new that your body and mind have not encountered yet can cause anxiety, and self-doubt can begin to trickle in. Don’t sweat it! This is very normal and common. Something that helps me try something for the first time and helps me mentally prepare is watching videos of the action. If the indoor cycling studio you want to go to has videos, pictures, or anything visual that allows you to mentally grasp the idea of the class, this will help you feel more prepared. You'll know what to expect, like what type of instructor you may find, the type of music they may play, or the type of people that regularly attends the class.
Once you’ve visualized yourself at the class, it’s time to take action and plan what you’ll need at the class. Every studio is different in what they offer, but consider bringing a sweat towel, water bottle, and an open mind. Also, check if the studio and class you plan to attend has bikes that you can clip into the pedals with your shoes. If so, some studios offer cycling shoes to rent, or you can bring your own. Be sure to ask what type of cleats you'll need for your shoes to clip into the studio's bikes.
As you arrive at the spin class, the hardest part is now over. You've contemplated going, prepared to go, and now all you have to do is simply complete the action. Show up early to your class to ensure you can set up your bike, get a feel for riding clipped in, and potentially meet the instructor.
Now the fun begins. While you're in the class, find your rhythm. It is important that you go at your own pace to gain your confidence with the rhythm, choreography, and form being utilized. I always tell my classes that we are never in a rush, and everything is 100% optional. I want each rider to feel accepted at whatever level they are at. At the end of class, take your time to cool down. Your body exerted tremendous energy, and stretching the muscles that were being used (i.e., quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes) is paramount. Lastly, safely unclip yourself from the bike and begin to exit the spin room.
Ultimately, the instructor is there to ensure you are safely performing the actions to the best of your ability. Do not be afraid to challenge yourself because there's beauty in the struggle, and it's exciting to see how far you've come. Even though getting started is the hardest part, it is also considered the most rewarding part. Go out and try a class if you haven't; you may just fall in love with what your body can do!