I decided to join a gym after 6 months of talking about it.

Joining a gym is an easy thing to do. Walk in, sign up, pay the money and you have a membership.

It wasn’t easy for me. Who the heck knows why, but it wasn’t.

Why on earth didn’t I do this sooner?

2 hours of childcare a day. All classes included [spin, yoga, boot-camp, etc.].

First day at the gym and I jumped right into a spin class. Here is what I have learned in the past couple of weeks. Hope it helps you if you are thinking of trying out spin!

  • You are going to sweat, most likely more than you ever have in your life. Bring water [it rests in a little spot on the bike between your legs] and make sure when you arrive at class you are hydrated.

 

  • Bring a towel. You are going to sweat and by sweat I mean that it may appear as if you have jumped in a pool. There aren’t any fans in the spin room I am in, so the sweat doesn’t evaporate, it just keeps coming. The towel will be great for wiping off your body but also good for keeping the handles of the bike dry so your sweaty hands don’t accidentally slip off.

 

  • Hydrate. You sweat a ton as previously mentioned. At night after the first couple of classes I had a terrible dehydration headache.

 

  • Don’t wear Hattori’s or other shoes that don’t have much between you and the peddle. I’ve been slowly adding in the Saucony Hattori’s on some of my shorter runs but they are best for running, not spin. On the first day of class I wore them and when getting out of the saddle at the end of class my feet hurt because I could feel the peddles pushing into my feet. Minamilist running shoes and spin do not mix well.

 

  • Tell the teacher you are new. I didn’t do this and regretted it. I didn’t know how to position my seat or that it even mattered. On day two when another new student informed the teacher she was new, she helped her get the bike all set up. At that point I told her this was only my second class and she helped me too. If you are worried about bothering others or being embarrassed, arrive to class a little early so you can tell the teacher you want/need help.

 

  • Don’t get discouraged. Wattage on the meter tells you how hard you worked during the session. On the second day the teacher told us her wattage for the day was pathetic because she was sick – it was around 200. Having gone to 5 spin classes at the time my average wattage hadn’t yet reached her pathetic level. I have however jumped in average wattage so I know either I’m doing it better or getting stronger. No one would expect to be good at running after only 5 runs so don’t expect you are going to be a super star after only a couple of classes. Like most things, it takes time to build up.

 

 

  • The teacher and music MATTERS There has only been one teacher I haven’t enjoyed so far. The music is low during her class, I don’t like most of it and the workout doesn’t seem to flow to the beat of the music. I think a good teacher makes all the difference in how much you will like the class. I also happen to think that LOUD music is REALLY good when you are in pain.

 

  • If money doesn’t grow on the trees in your backyard, I suggest joining a gym over a specific spin studio if you are a beginner. Joining the gym was MUCH cheaper than paying for a spin studio near me. It also gives me other cross training options as well as childcare.

 

  • You get of it what you put into it. This is a no brainer. If you want the class to be easy then it’s going to be easy. No one is forcing you to up the gears or peddle faster. It’s all up to you. If you want a workout and you want to see results then make it count. Half a$$ the workout and you will see half a$$ed results.

 

Are you new to spin? Thoughts? If you SPIN all the time what are you tips for those of us who are new to it??

 

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Comments

  1. I love spin and I’m still new! I used to spin years ago at LA fitness and it was fun. I recently got back into it and have been going to a spin studio- wow, what a difference! Both were good workouts, but I much prefer the spin studio. Besides the teachers seemed a lot more educated at the studio, I never had to show up to class early just to get a bike. You reserve your bike before you go – it just makes things easier if you belong to a super crowded gym. I also like to pay as I go since I have a gym at my office

  2. I started spin class earlier this year thanks to knee problems that have really put running on the backburner and I can say, I push harder than anything in that class! It is fantastic, and a month into it I already can see changes in my body and how it runs. Wish I did it sooner!
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  3. Just wanted to say “Great post!” I’ve been taking spin classes for about a year now and enjoy them very much. I totally agree that the instructor and the music MATTERS.

  4. I’m a spin instructor and my biggest tip is to get there early the first couple of classes to meet the instructor and get help with bike setup. You can really hurt yourself with an improper setup, we are taught all the proper angles and stuff. Never be embarrassed to ask for help, that’s what we are there for!

  5. I love spin class but have trouble fitting it into my schedule. Totally agree that the music and instructor make or break the class
    Amanda recently posted..Workout Recaps and Preview 2/11 – 2/17My Profile

  6. I have never ever gotten into spin. I sort of hate it. I always figure if I’m going to ride my bike indoors, I’ll just ride my actual bike in the trainer without anyone yelling at me, where I can watch TV. But, everyone else loves spin. So maybe I’m totally off base.

  7. While I was rehabbing my stress fracture, I went to spin. I loved it and loved the burn. I agree that the music and teacher do matter.
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  8. I took a spin class in college and couldn’t believe what I had gotten myself into! When I join a gym again, I’ll definitely make this part of my cross-training!
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  9. I’ve learned that for me, it is not beneficial to spin more than 2-3x a week. Takes away from my more sought after goals that involve running. As addicting as it can be, some of it just tires out my legs that I need “fresher” for speed work during the week. Also, I find that if I focus on the high gears (18-24), my thighs bulk up. I know, I know – they are getting stronger, but I am paranoid about it : )

  10. My Boston training plan calls for two days of spin. This post is dead on! I am already seeing the results in my running, I’m so much stronger and I’m not losing my form at the end of a long run. I can’t believe I’ve never done this before. In my spin class it’s dark, so I love it because I don’t feel like I’m on display, or if I need to cry about something, no one sees. It’s a GREAT workout.
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  11. Oh I had to chime in. I am a new runner sidetracked with a double injury. Stress fracture and posterior tibial tendontitis. Once my stress fracture heals a bit more I plan on getting back into spin so I can maintain some cardio until I can run again. I used to do spinning about 15 years ago and I was spinning about 5 days a week. Obsessed! I agree, a good instructor will kick your butt combined with a good soundtrack played really LOUD! And two hour daycare can’t be beat!

    p.s. I read your blog and say to myself that I want to be the runner you will be when you are my age (40!). a.k.a. a super-duper badass mom of three that totally gets it done.

    • Laura Degnan says:

      Oh you sound like me! I use to spin years before I had my kids, and now I’m back at it. I have plantar fasciitis (haven’t run in 56 days!) Spinning has been the next best thing!

  12. I love spinning!!!! It is great cross training for running. We don’t have a gym membership right now, but I missed spin so much that I bought my own bike. I use it all of the time.
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  13. I LOVE spin classes!! I def agree — if you decide you like it, spin shoes are a great investment. I have my road bike set up on a trainer so I can use my clips for that and not have a problem. :)
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  14. I love cross training with spin! Way to go girlie!
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  15. Jen Thoennes says:

    I love spin class! I started about 3 years ago and there was a specific beginners spin that I did for a few months to rly get it down. Then I branched out to the harder longer classes. By far loud good music does it for me. It’s hard to push yourself with boring quiet music. I cycle outside of classes and have progressed the clip shoes. It makes a huge difference for pushing and pulling the pedals and I feel like you get a better workout. It also made me run better doing that as a cross training.

  16. I love spinning. I go to a dedicated spin studio right now since I have two other gyms that I can access for free, and the instructors are amazing – they really do make or break it.

    You’ll notice a huge difference with the bike shoes!
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  17. I love spin. In fact, my most recent post is about it. Aside from increasing my VO2 max and strengthening my legs, it’s taught me just how strong I really am – in a way I never really learned from running. Maybe it was just a matter of timing and my mind finally being open enough to welcome the lesson, but it really changed my life and my running. I’m stronger, more confident and able to talk myself out of the dark places you can go on a long run much faster. As your core is constantly engaged throughout class, it’s made a noticeable difference in my run form. My studio has bike shoes there, so I haven’t needed to buy any. I highly recommend getting your hands on a pair as it will even out the workload on your legs. I’ve always been quad dominant and clipping in has started balancing out my hamstrings. Next step? Spin together – let’s make it happen some day. xo.
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  18. I’ve been spinning for a few years, but more consistently over the last six months. I completely agree on the teachers and music. My usual instructor is tough and tells you how high to put resistance and has great music, lots of songs you can ride in time with. She recently tore her MCL and has a sub, who I like as a person but isn’t a motivating instructor. She says, ‘it doesn’t matter how high your resistance is just do what you can’ I like to be pushed! I also agree with the too much pushing and not enough pulling. A seasoned spinner who sat across from me one class noticed I bounce too much when in the seat, and its because I’m not pulling up enough. Now I’m trying to correct it and it’s literally like trying to ride a bike again! I’ve looked into instructor training, because I figure why not, what a great skill to improve upon, and maybe I could be that sub and motivate some people! Great post!

  19. I’m pretty much on board with everything you’ve said (and yes, instructor matters a LOT), and would add the following:

    1. Pick a sneaker with a firmer sole (like, maybe a trail running shoe?), which will stay stiff and help you get more “pull” going up. One of the major characteristics of bike shoes is that they have a very still sole (among other things, of course).

    2. Wear bike shorts (or at least long compression shorts). Chafing because your shorts ride up is very not pretty.

    3. Accept that it will take a few weeks before you *really* get the hang of/feel for everything. When I started, I used to be so annoyed that the resistance dials on the bikes at our gym very from bike to bike (they’re a bit old). People assured me I’d “get a feel for it”. I was skeptical, but it happened, and now changing bikes hardly bothers me.
    Holly KN recently posted..Last Week’s Workout Roundup and Miscellaneous Food PhotosMy Profile

  20. Spin is awesome! But it’ll hurt your butt a lot the first few classes, so buy a pair of bike shorts. That makes a HUGE difference. The shoes make you work harder, and do work both push-pull on your legs. Great investment if you love spin. Definitely get there early enough to find out how to set the bike up properly for your frame. And don’t push yourself too hard the first class–worry about your own abilities, not the person sitting next to you. Some instructors want you to hit a certain wattage or RPM, but don’t feel bad if you don’t do that the first few classes. Do the stretches after class, too, because it’ll help keep your legs from getting sore.

  21. I used to spin all the time, and I loved it! I need to cancel my current membership and join a Y and get back into it.

  22. Great great post! I have been going to spin classes for almost 7 years and I FINALLY got a pair of spin shoes and they make a huge difference. You don’t need to focus so much on your feet in the cage, the hard, flat sole of the spin shoe allows you to pedal much more smoothly! I bought the pedals for my road bike as well so I can wear them with the indoor trainer for now (and outside when it gets warmer)! Shimano (cheaper on Amazon than what I paid at bike store. fail)–> http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-2013-Womens-Cycling-Shoes/dp/B005Z26872

    I think an important thing to add is to make sure to do the cooldown and stretches! You need to readjust your body after being bent in the riding position for a while! It will help with recovery as well!

    Great post, I am going to share!
    Ashley recently posted..Teaching My First Spin ClassMy Profile

  23. I have only taken one spin class and that was a few years ago. I really enjoyed it. I want to get a gym membership again one day and take advantage of the group fitness classes.

  24. I love spin. I got a great pair of shoes from Team Estrogen. You want SPD cleats for spin.

  25. Thanks for the great information. I totally agree about your gym v. spin studio advice. I couldn’t believe how much more spin studios cost than gyms. My experience is that the spin instructors at gyms are just as knowledgeable as those in spin studios, so I don’t see why someone would spend more money at a studio.

  26. Ilove hitting the bike for some weightless training but don’t have gym access now. I have loaded spin class audio to my MP3 player and have used it in my apartment complex and using the bike there for some heavy sweating….
    Fun but not the same as a spin bike.

    Thanks for the info.

  27. I agree with every single point above. Great all-inclusive post! Your tips are excellent–hydrating and sweating, getting what you put in, asking the instructor to help with your seat and handles, and the importance of instructor and music choices! That seriously can make the difference between a kick-butt, FUN, engaging “ride” and a boring, tedious workout. Gotta find a class YOU like. That’s trial and discovery.

    And thank you for linking to my “Meredith gets Spin Shoes” post!! Hope you and others find it useful. My instructor had been on me for months about getting spinning shoes, and BOY was she right. It really did make such a difference, like you said, in the “pulling” aspect of the workout. Plus, I quickly realized how much energy I had previously been putting into just keeping my shoes in the straps–energy that’s better spent on pedaling.

    Great post :)
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  28. Lorita Nowling says:

    Spin classes are great experience, I love I wen’t to one some time ago ;)
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  29. I’m a little bit late on this comment, but I go to spin pretty frequently as a cross training tool. I love it, but haven’t bought spin shoes yet. I’m just about ready to take the plunge and invest in some though. The cages are the pits!

  30. I love cycling. It made me stronger and healthier. It is a wonderful and thank you for your information.

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