New to spin class? Intimidated by the fast pace and energizing music? Or maybe you’ve already fallen in love with it! No matter what your current relationship is with spinning, we know one thing for sure: it’s a calorie-blasting workout that will strengthen your muscles and get your heart pumping.
We not only want you to LOVE spin class, we want you to get the most out of your spin experience. That means working hard, realizing your goals and knowing what it takes to get there. Whether your goal is enjoy a low-impact workout or hitting your maximum heart rate, spin class is truly a great choice for all fitness levels.
What to Wear
I have to admit – the first time I entered spin class I was quite intimidated by the padded shorts and special cycling shoes I saw my classmates wearing. I looked myself over in the mirror: standard running shorts, a cotton t-shirt and worn-out gym shoes. Should I look like everyone else? Should I get spin shorts or cycling shoes? You don’t have to invest in a new wardrobe to spin, but there are a few things to consider when it comes to dressing for class. Firstly – you’re going to sweat. Choose moisture-wicking clothes that are breathable. Your usual athletic shoes will do just fine, so there’s no need to purchase cycling shoes until you know you’re in it for the long haul. Last but not least, don’t forget your fitness tracker! Both the Polar A360 and Polar A300 allow users to create a profile exclusive for spinning class.
P.S. Don’t forget to bring a towel or two! You’re going to need it for those sprints and hills!
When I arrived at my first spin class five years ago, I was shocked to find out that the class was full. I was a whole ten minutes early, so how could this happen? Turns out spin class is quite popular. There was even a sign up sheet to reserve a spot. After talking to some seasoned spinners, I found out I had to arrive about an hour early to sign in. While the day, time and instructor always play a role in when to arrive to spin class, my rule of thumb is to always get there 30 minutes early. Warm up on the treadmill and get some stretching in while you wait. Another piece of advice is to enter the classroom and choose your bike 10 minutes prior to start time. This gives you an opportunity to properly set up your bike or ask the instructor for help and/or tips.
What to Expect
Spin classes can be intense! If you have been to spinning before or have peeked in on a class in curiosity, you know it’s a high energy experience. Expect to be challenged. Expect to sweat. Expect to burn calories. Most of all – expect to feel an exhilarating post-workout high when you’re done! During class, the instructor will guide you through a series of hills, flat roads and sprints. He or she will let you know when to increase or lower resistance, change speed and where to place your hands on the handlebars. One of my favorite things about spin class? I am in control. Whether it’s your first class or hundredth, always remember it’s your workout. Take things down a notch if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Operating the Bike
Even after years of spinning, I always struggle to set up my bike. The handlebars are too far away. The seat is too high. My back isn’t flat. My advice? Always ask an instructor for help setting up your bike. If the instructor hasn’t arrived yet, ask a classmate for assistance. Improper set up can result in lower back pain, knee or shoulder pain. While asking for instruction is key, here are a few standard tips to get you started.
- Stand next to your bike with your feet flat on the floor. The seat should be right up against your hip.
- Once you’re seated, pedal your feet so one foot is in the 6 o’clock position. There should be a very slight bend in your knee.
- Adjust your handlebars to align with the height of your seat. Your will notice a slight bend in your elbows when placing your hands on the handlebars.
Hitting Your Zones
This is the fun part. One of the best things about spin class is that it’s a killer way to reach new fitness milestones – especially in terms of amping up that heart rate and working out in your target zones. As mentioned, your spin instructor will always guide you through the class, instructing when to increase resistance and speed. By wearing a fitness tracker, heart rate monitor, and participating in a few classes to get a feel for your cycling level, you will be able to get the most out of your spin class and exercise to your full capacity.
High Intensity: Now you’re feeling the burn. This zone will use 80-90% of your maximum heart rate, and requires a tougher and longer hill with an increased incline or a variety of sprints.
Maximum Intensity: Now you’re in an all out sprint or climbing the highest hill you can manage without giving up. Typical resistance setting will be 19 or above!
Tackle a spin class with the help of a Polar fitness tracker! Now through December 31st, enjoy 20% off select activity trackers and HRMs using code POLARFITPOST. US only. Accessories not included.