Cycling first-timer? You're not alone. Riding a bike to exciting, heart-pounding music in a room full of people sounds intimidating at first, but fear not – by the end of reading this, you'll know exactly what you're in for.
Not only does cycling have amazing benefits for your body (lean muscles! major weight loss!), but it's also a great way to get both endurance and strength training in a short period of time. And if you experience joint pain when you run or use the elliptical — specifically in your knees — you'll love this low-impact alternative that takes the pressure off the places that hurt the most. An added bonus: It's actually really fun.
One person who definitely does know a thing or two about spinning is Keoni Hudoba. As the creator of the Cyc Method — which has studios across the country, from New York City to Austin, Texas — the trainer and fitness expert is a pro at making people sweat. You get your sweat on accompanied by drumming, black lights, and literal pools of sweat on the floor.
We hate to say it, but you probably won't find a class outside Cyc that's (basically) a live performance like Hudoba's, but wherever you decide to ride, there are some things you should know. When we caught up with the trainer after Wellthily's recent Resolutions Refined event, we got the scoop on what we should know before putting the pedal to the metal.
1. It's not as scary as it looks.
Really. It's always daunting trying any new workout, but you won't know if you like it until you try it.
"I love the quote 'Don't let your fear of what might happen make nothing happen.' If you want to come to a spin class, test it out," Hudoba says. "The first time I guarantee you won't perfect it, but it's always great going in and getting a challenge. After the third or fourth ride, you'll really start to get it and see why so many people love it. Make sure you're giving yourself those challenges,"
2. You don't have to stretch beforehand, but definitely get there early to warm up.
Hudoba always recommends getting to class a little early to warm up your legs.
"The last thing you want is to get in there and go all of a sudden, but that's also why the opening song at whatever class you go to is a jog. You can settle into the pace and get your heart rate up a little bit so you're not instantly going into double-timing your legs," he says.
3. No matter how horrible your day has been, spinning will turn it around.
We all know exercise is a great way to get your endorphins flowing, and the feeling you'll have after a spin class is truly euphoric.
"I'll always know the first-timers because they stand their with their jaws on the floor when we first start class. But once you feel the energy of the room, it changes you. One rider said 'I came tired and I left alive.' That's always stayed in my mind. No matter how your day went, you can come in and shut it off and have an amazing time," Hudoba says.
4. You don't have to go as fast as everyone else.
If you're worried you won't be able to keep up, don't. The great thing about cycling is you can always go at your own speed. (And no one will notice, we promise.)
"Fast tempos aren't easy — keeping up is actually very challenging. But there's always the option to do a half-time tempo or a double-time tempo," Hudoba says. "I didn't start out going that fast — it's something I had to work up to."
5. Have an injury? Not a problem.
You'll often see spinners with broken arms or even spinners who are pregnant, and that's usually fine.
"There are modifications for everything. The instructor should always make sure you still leave energized and leave feeling safe," Hudoba says.
Just make sure you avoid class if you're still healing from something serious.
"Don't come to class when you haven't recovered yet. That's a huge thing for me — and same for women who are pregnant. If you're two weeks out, I highly recommend you not spinning. Take a breather — this is your time to relax...and eat," he says.
6. Don't worry about knowing the correct spinning form — you'll learn it quickly.
No beginner goes into class knowing exactly how to adjust their bike and ride correctly - that's the whole point of going to a class, right? Your instructor is there to teach you.
"There are a few things to keep in mind: Make sure you never ride with no resistance, always keep your knees behind the brake, keep your shoulders relaxed, and make sure your spine is neutral." Hudoba says. "So many times you'll go to class and see people with their knees hovering over their shins. It's like you're in a squat — you're constantly through your heels, your chest is proud and forward, and you're sitting back."
Not quite sure what Hudoba just said? After your first class, you definitely will.
7. Your butt will be sore. But(t) it's a good kind of sore.
Sorry to break it to you, but you're definitely going to be feeling a little discomfort in your toosh region after — if not during — your first workout. The seat might be uncomfortable during the first class, but after a few more your body will get used to it. A sore butt is worth it. We promise.