Tap it back! Power Up! Sprint! Someone pass along a dictionary… please. Svelte instructors in yoga pants and studio-specific fan-followers can be scary – and that’s all before hopping on a bike and snapping in with special shoes.
But have no fear. Instead of encountering a Mean Girls moment, feel at ease. “Indoor cycling is for anyone: short, tall, athletic, out of shape, in shape, runner, biker, old and young. I’ve had just about every single type of person in my class, so don’t be intimidated,” says Francina Segbefia, Senior Instructor at Revolve DC. Phew! Ok, ok.
We found some people (ahem, professionals) who know their stuff when it comes to cycling. With these 10 tips, you’ll be safely seated and upping your spinning game in no time. Fair warning: You might get addicted.
1. “Come early!” suggests Segbefia. “Even if you’ve been to class many times, you know that waltzing in a minute or two after class has started is disruptive – especially in a dark room. It throws the instructor off a bit.”
2. “Do a little digging about the instructor and the studio before you go,” says Dyan Tsiumis, Head Instructor at SWERVE Fitness. “There are many outlets to check out other riders’ feedback such as rateyourburn.com or yelp.com. Ask around. See if you’re friends have been to the studio or taken the instructor’s class. If you like your friends, chances are you’ll like the same instructors too.”
3. “As a newcomer, you might not want to put yourself in the front row for the first time,” recommends Josh Taylor, International Master Instructor of BFX Studio. “When starting anything new in exercise, it’s always smart to take it easy in the beginning so you can learn good form, technique and how to the use piece of equipment.”
4. “As a new rider, it’s a great idea to let your instructor know and ask them to spend some time with you going over proper bike fit, set-up and then, some of the movements and safety precautions,” adds Taylor.
5. “When your leg is at the bottom of your pedal stroke, you should have a slight bend – about 5 degrees – in your knee and not be totally locked out,” says Ray Wallace, FIT RxN Chief Fitness Strategist and owner. “If you stop your legs mid stroke – 12 and 6 o’clock positions – your knee should be over the bridge of your foot: not all the way forward over your toes and not too far back.”
6. “You should never ride a bike without resistance,” says Amber Rees, Cycologist at Cyc. “When you don’t give that ‘full turn on’ that we ask for, you’re only cheating yourself.”
7. “You need to fuel yourself right for a good workout,” says Rees. “I’d suggest a good carbohydrate. I love oatmeal, a banana, a smoothie, or even my favorite Quest bar to get gear up for a good sweat.”
8. “Find something comfortable and easy to move in,” suggests Rees. “For females, I love Under Armour tops and tights. For guys, find a controlled short, with a nice, easy-to-move tank. Keep it tight and controlled. Keep it simple.”
9. “Do not hold on to the handle bars for dear life,” says Marion Roaman, Co-founder, Chief Content Officer, Peloton. “Relax your hands and wrists. This will result in more of a full body experience and remove tension from your neck and shoulders.”
10. “Spinning is fun. Enjoy yourself, close your eyes and listen to the music,” says Roaman. “The sweat and results will come!”