If you’re thinking about trying an indoor cycling class or know someone who is, the following points will help you get the most out of your first few classes, and get you hooked on studio cycling…for life!
Phone (or text) a friend
Connect with a friend, family member or co-worker and check out a class together. When you find a workout partner, you have the support and accountability you’ll need to succeed. And it goes both ways, when someone seeks you out to be their fitness partner…just do it!
If at first you don’t succeed…
Try a variety of classes…studios, instructors, time of day, class format, music selections, etc There are many moving parts involved in each class and your performance may vary from day to day…so you’ll need to try at least 3 or 4 classes before you throw in the towel. Consider selecting a studio that has options for you to find your personal “sweet spot”: classes from early morning to evening, even a mid-day option, weekday and weekend classes, a variety of instructors who will bring their own style (and playlists!).
Because not all cycling classes are created equal, you’ll want to explore programs such as Les Mill’s RPM®, the original SPINNING® program, performance metric-based programs, or even a “dance party on a bike” program like those offered at Soul Cycle, where you ride to the beat of the music.
While you’re shopping studios, gyms and fitness clubs, make sure the cost fits in your budget…before you get hooked.
Don’t be tardy
This is SO important! And for the first few classes, arrive early…at least 10-15 minutes prior. Take time to meet the instructor, ask for assistance with proper bike set up, learn how to work the on-board performance tracking monitors (if any). Proper bike fit is the key to a safe and comfortable ride. Taking time to meet the instructor will raise your confidence and comfort.
Dress for success
You don’t have to spend a week’s pay on a complete set of cycling gear and clothes, but you’ll be more comfortable and feel like part of the class by showing up in appropriate wear. Avoid full length, loose fitting clothing and opt for snug fitting shorts. Cycling shorts are a great option with extra padding in the seat for added comfort. A short sleeve or sleeveless sweat-wicking shirt will keep you cool and comfortable. A basic gym shoe will work, but a pair of cycling shoes that clip into the pedals will make for a much better experience and more comfortable ride. Don’t forget your phone (pre- and post-class selfie!), water bottle and a towel…not all studios provide these necessary items. Bring your heart rate monitor if you have one. And if you’re sensitive to high volume music, you may want to bring a pair of earplugs.
IT’S YOUR RIDE!
Be sure to take time for the warm up and cool down…there’s plenty of time to work hard, so let your body ease into the ride and be well-prepared for the work ahead. Always work at YOUR pace! It’s easy to get caught up in the energetic flow of a class…maybe even intimidated by the regulars who have been cycling for months or years. Do your best to follow instructor cues, but also take time to listen to YOUR body and make modifications appropriate for YOUR workout. If you start to feel discomfort, racing heart beat or breathlessness…dial it down to an active or full recovery until you are ready to pick up the pace. If you just need to leave the studio…take time to wave and signal the instructor that you are okay, but have had enough this time. It often takes 3-5 classes to get a good grasp of the class format, instructor coaching style, bike, movements, etc.
Check in with the instructor after class to discuss pros, cons, and next steps. Consider sharing your music preferences too…many instructors will consider recommendations that are appropriate for the class. Take extra time for full body stretches after class.
Be prepared for typical discomfort in the rear (most common complaint) and legs. By the 5th class many riders notice much less discomfort. Recovery goes beyond post class stretches…keep well hydrated for 60-90 minutes after class and get some form of protein.
Find a balance…mix things up!
Balance your new cycling routine with other beneficial classes and fitness practices such as yoga, Pilates, strength training, etc. While Studio Cycling is undoubtedly an AMAZING workout, it should be part of a bigger wellness plan that involves proper nutrition, adequate sleep and other healthy lifestyle choices.
Don’t keep it a secret
Share your experiences in the cycle studio with others and invite them to join you along the way.
Remember…indoor cycling is a fun, safe, high energy and low-impact fitness program that has many physical and mental health benefits and that can continue into your senior years.
A good start will go a long way to help you ENJOY THE RIDE…INSIDE!