From what I’ve heard from those really into it, spinning can be a really powerful emotional experience in addition to giving you a great workout. I am not well versed in the spin world and I find it can be quite intimidating seeing Instagram posts of instructors and the speed at which they bike! But all this makes me wonder what there is to spin besides moving the pedals. So, I asked one of my closest friends, Julia—who is a certified spin instructor—some questions about what you need to know before your first ride.
What happens when I first get to class?
Julia started off by saying it “depends on where you go,” and “nine out of ten classes are going to be different.” But, from my understanding, if you’re new, the first thing that’s really important is to check-in with the instructor. Continuing, Julia says your: “instructor wants you to have a safe and enjoyable ride, and to do that, you need to set up your bike correctly.” Basically, the nature of spin is built on a foundation of support, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
What are some tips you have for beginners?
What is important to remember is that everyone started somewhere, Julia said. She described spinning as a community of people, and from my very limited experience, no one is there to look at you and dissect everything you could be doing wrong. Bottom line; Julia says the best way to start is to jump right in. A pro tip is to give the spinning studio a call and ask which instructor’s classes are for beginners, so you can dip your toe in the water before diving in.
What do I need to bring to class?
Obviously, no need to bring a bike, but what to bring can depend on the studio. Julia says well-established places, such as SoulCycle, have cycling shoes that you can rent in-studio, but other places will have adaptations, called toe cages, so you can just wear your sneakers during your ride. So, to play it safe, make sure to wear your sneakers to class. Also, the pandemic may change these regulations, so when in doubt, give your studio a call.
What makes spin so different, in your opinion, from just going on a run?
When I asked Julia this question she answered; “rhythm-based spinning reminds me of dancing, but on a bike.” She said moving along to the beat of the songs really distracts you from the exercise aspect and can evoke more of an emotional response. Coming from the perspective of an instructor who is well-versed in many forms of exercise; from rowing to weight lifting, Julia says spinning uniquely allows you to form connections through body language. So, if you haven’t experienced something like that, spin could be for you.
A final suggestion from Julia is; “if you’ve never tried spin, try at least three different classes,” because you don’t want to form an opinion on one bad experience. Of course, she says, spin is not going to be for everyone, but it’s so worth giving it a good chance.