1. Choose your class: Party or power?
The original Johnny G Spinning classes started 30 years ago and were A LOT different than what indoor cycling looks like now.
I was originally certified with Mad Dogg Spinning and learned to teach the old school method of riding. It took me awhile to come around to the modern, high-energy beats-based cycling classes like Soul Cycle, but I’d say I’m mostly there. There are still a few things I don’t love, but after forcing myself to try a shit ton of different cycling studios, I see what all the hype is about. A lot of the old school Spinning instructors will argue that the fancy dance moves have no place in a class because you would never do some of these moves on an outdoor bike. Nowadays, though, most of the riders are not outdoor riders. They simply want a challenging and fun workout…so who cares? As long as it’s safe, I’m all for it.
That being said, there is tons of variety in indoor cycling now. There is one main thing to note when you’re deciding which one to try…If you choose a class called “Spinning”, it will be the trademarked old school ride that mimics an outdoor ride and it will likely house a lot of the outdoor riders who need somewhere to train in the winter. If you’re going to a studio cycling class (like a Soul Cycle, Flywheel, Cyclebar, etc.), you’re in for more of a party on a bike with loud music, fun moves, and high energy.
2. Come early and come prepared.
If you’re new to riding, make sure you get to class at least 10-15 minutes early and ask for help if it’s not offered. Bring water and a towel, and cycling shoes if you have them. If you don’t, your studio may have rentals.
Bike setup can take awhile, especially for a newbie, so you want to give yourself plenty of time. Even after you get the bike in the “right” position, you may notice it needs some slight adjusting once you start riding for a bit. Giving yourself time to adjust will prevent you form going through an hour-long class in an uncomfortable position. Your knees will thank you.
Once you nail your bike setup, note where the resistance knob is and learn how to read the screen if there is one.
3. Focus on form first.
Form matters, but it’s not something you’re going to get right on the first try. Your instructor should cue you regularly, so just do your best to listen to those cues and really focus on getting your body into the right place.
Back is flat. Core is engaged but not so tight you can’t breathe. Arms and shoulders are relaxed, not tense. Release any deathgrip on the handlebars. Lower body holds the power as you push down and pull up with the pedals. Heels are down, feet are flat, and your toes are pointing forward.
You won’t get all this on your first ride, so don’t stress! Focus on making little improvements each class and you’ll be a pro in no time 😉
4. Start slowly and keep your eyes on your own paper.
Don’t do any move you aren’t comfortable with and don’t compare yourself to the cyclist next to you. Everyone is on their own fitness journey and you need to respect where you’re at. Set your own goals, and push towards them in a way excites you, but doesn’t overwhelm you.
5. Don’t forget why you showed up!
Remember- this is YOUR class. Don’t be intimidated!
You’re choosing to be there and you get to make it whatever the hell you want it to be. Enjoy it!
Now it’s time to try a class! Find a friend to go with you, share this page with them, and sign up for a nearby class! You won’t regret it 😉