Things to Know Before Your First Spin Class as a Beginner (Plus 3 Tips to Survive!)

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By Robbie Ferri CPT

CPT & Indoor Cycling Instructor

Spin classes are a huge amount of fun, and we highly recommend spinning to anyone who wants to get fit. There’s nothing like embracing the bike and having a go. I remember my first class. I couldn’t have been more nervous, and I didn’t know what to expect. Looking back, I really had nothing to worry about. 

Check out my YouTube video with tips for beginners in spin classes!

I wish I had known a little more about what I was in for before my first class because it was scary at the time. In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know before your first spinning class and give tips to help you survive. 

how to ride as a spin beginner

What You Need To Know

Here’s what I wish I would have known before my first spin class. It would have made it much easier and made me much less nervous. 

Arriving Early Is Best

If you get to a spinning class early, it comes with a lot of benefits. You get to introduce yourself to others around you, including the instructor. You have the time to set up your bike, and it stops you feeling rushed. 15 minutes early is perfect for getting everything you need to do.

Ask The Instructor To Setup Your Bike

Many people who enter a spinning class for the first time end up just jumping on the bike at the back and hoping it’s correctly set up. It is the instructor’s job to show you how to set the bike up. Ask them and enjoy the much better, more comfortable ride you will get from a correct setup.

Wear The Right Clothing

When it comes to spinning, you must be comfortable, cool, and functional. I highly recommend leggings and a sports top for women, and shorts and a T-shirt for men. You will also want shoes with a large, solid base, such as running trainers. 

Water And A Towel

It’s also a great idea to take water and a towel. In a spin class, you will get so hot and sweaty. The towel is going to keep you and the bike clean. The water is going to replenish everything you use. 

Listen To The Instructor

You will get so much more out of a spin class if you listen to the instructor and follow their lesson plan. As an instructor myself, I used to put together amazing profiles that gave enough work and rest to suit everyone. Spinners who went off the plan never looked like they were having fun. 

Don’t Be Nervous

It’s important not to be nervous of the instructor. They are there to help you get fitter and have fun. They want to motivate you, not bully you into being stronger. I recommend sitting at the back of the first session just to observe and learn what instructions mean while trying them, as it’s much less intimidating than being at the front.

how to hold the handlebars as a spin beginner

Your Bike Your Rules

It’s important to understand that when it comes to spinning, you each have an individual bike and resistance. You don’t need to be competitive and don’t need to impress anyone with your sheer power. Just focus on what you’re doing and follow the instructor closely. 

Do What You Can

When it comes to your first spin session, you’re not there to push limits and get new personal bests. You’re there to learn how it all works. Don’t feel pressured to stand if you don’t feel comfortable, and just ease into the exercise. 

Clean Down

After you’re done, it’s important to clean down. The instructor will never ask this of you, but it is important to do so. Using your towel or provided clean products, give your bike a good wipe and clean, ready for the next person. Nobody likes a dirty bike when you turn up for a class.

Have Fun!

It’s really easy to fall into the trap of taking a class too seriously. Remember you and everyone else there come to have fun. Listen to the music, have a laugh with the instructor, and just enjoy the miles while you’re getting fit. If nobody speaks, it’s because they are working super hard. 

One of the best feelings for an instructor is when people are connecting and engaging with them and cheering. Have fun and let the instructor know you’re having a good time! They will love it, and it’s going to push you and the rest of the group further. 

clip in in a spin bike as a beginner

3 Top Tips To Survive!

Now you know exactly what to expect from a spinning class. What about some top tips to ensure you get the most out of the session and hit the ground running? 

Hydrate And Fuel Properly!

Before the session, you are going to want to get some carbohydrates in the system to fuel you. During the session, you are going to want water with an electrolyte tablet in if required. After the sessions, you need protein to maximize your recovery. Ensuring you tick these three boxes, you will be stronger in the session and recover much faster after. 

Pace Yourself!

If I had a dollar for every session that a new indoor cyclist came into a class and burned out before the halfway mark, I’d be driving a new car. Pace yourself through the session and listen to your body when you’re getting too tired. It’s good to work hard, but completely breaking yourself is detrimental. 

Mental Focus!

Finally, we have mental focus. You can beat yourself before you have even got on the bike if you have a poor attitude. You need to go into the class and leave everything at the door. Bad day at work? Forget it and focus on the bike and your body. It would be best if you were positive, motivated, and confident. The difference in performance will be huge!

riding a spin bike as a beginner

A Final Note

It’s important to remember that everyone had to go through their first spin class, no matter how confident they may seem. They were probably the same or even more nervous than you might feel right now. We hope you enjoyed our article, and make sure to check out the video on this on our YouTube channel.

Robbie Ferri CPT

Robbie from “Riding with Robbie” is a Personal Trainer living in in Norfolk, UK. He has bikepacked all over the World, and also raced ultra distance at a top-level. He has worked closely with industry leaders such as Shimano.

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