It’s that time of year for making new plans, big goals and healthy lifestyle changes. If you’re looking to whip yourself into shape in 2017, then it’s time to jump off the bandwagon and onto the bicycle.
Spinning, or indoor cycle classes, are an excellent form of exercise, challenging not only your cardiovascular fitness, but also your muscular endurance, power, speed and core strength. Spin class is a great way to burn calories and is a sure-fire start to dropping a dress size or two!
If you’re thinking about testing the pedals and trying out a spin class to work into your weekly fitness regime, here are a few top tips that you might want to think about before you go to your first class:
1) Get Padded
There’s no denying it – spinning hurts. You can’t avoid the fact that your delicate parts are balancing on a pretty hard and narrow bicycle seat for the better part of an hour. If you don’t want to spend the entire class thinking about your bruised behind then it’s definitely worth buying some padded shorts, or even gel-seat for the bike. If you’re only trying out one class and don’t want to make that investment quite yet, take a hand-towel to put over the seat instead.
The first 15 minutes or so of a spinning class are generally the most uncomfortable – but stick to and you’ll soon get a rhythm going and will find that you’re sitting more comfortably.
2) Psyche yourself up
Nothing worth having ever came easy – and spinning certainly isn’t that. The reason cycling is such an effective exercise is because it’s difficult. Spinning requires stamina, effort and motivation. Choose a positive mantra to repeat to yourself, or listen to those old-school tunes on your ipod. Whatever it is that gets you going, spend just 10 minutes or so psyching yourself up for the class. You’ll find that the positive energy will keep you going throughout the whole hour.
3) Prep to sweat
Spinning is a sweaty sport. Take a towel and a big bottle of water. If you’re prone to dizziness, take a sports drink or even a snack for after class. Even if you “don’t sweat that much” the spinning studios can become very hot indeed and you’ll need to rehydrate.
4) Go hard or go home
It may be difficult. You may want to give up ten minutes in. You may think it’s not worth it. You’re not alone – everyone has these thoughts at some point during the spinning class! Battle through it and go extra-hard everytime that voice in your head tells you to stop. At the time it may not seem worth the pain, but the post-workout satisfaction of a good spin class is second to none.
5) Use your core
It’s all very well spinning wildly at top speed, using every fibre of your being to push that next pedal. Don’t forget, however, to keep your core engaged throughout the class. This helps to support your lower back and stops you rocking from side-to-side as you cycle. It moves the focus of the workout from the legs, up into the abdominals, allowing for a much more effective and efficient workout.
6) Don’t forget to stretch
Yes you’ll be hungry, and thirsty and desperate to go home and lie down. But that 5-10 minutes of stretching at the end of the class is probably the most important part. Don’t skip it! Take the time to stretch out the muscles – particularly the glutes, hamstrings and quads- so that post-workout muscle soreness can be avoided.