- Bikes! Stationary or not I love bikes!Music- When an instructor composes the perfect playlist it really gives me the urge to turn that resistance knob a little more than usual.
- Sweating- I know its not the most attractive thing (which is why I am never disillusioned by the fact that I will never find a mate at the gym), but man at least you feel like you did something.
- Friends- Despite having crazy instructors that only want to hear their own voice, spinning does have the advantage over actual bike riding in that it is way less dangerous to converse with friends while riding. In addition, some of my friends are particularly fond of activities involving two wheels. And although I haven't taken a spin class with the one specific friend I'm thinking of, I imagine it would be enjoyable (especially since she has some life changing momentum going right now).
- Fitness/Tired Level- Maybe the biggest PRO for spin class is the fact that no matter your fitness level you can do spin. If your having a rough day or you just aren't going full force you can easily adjust your workload.
- It's not a real bike- Maybe it is obsession with bikes, but one of the things I despise about spin class is the fact that I am indoor. Riding my bike is the equivalent to mediation for me. I have had many "Ah ha" moments about myself and my life while riding a bike.
- Instructors- Sometimes the most convenient time period for your workout is when your least favorite instructor is teaching. As a former group fitness instructor I understand that not every instructor is going to cater to your preferences, but man it is really annoying sometimes to hear people talk. Especially when they feel the need to talk to the entire time. As a positive this is a good time to practice tuning people out and getting into your own zone.
- Music- Argh! I am not a fan of the techno/workout remixes of songs. Stick to the originals people.
So if you have the opportunity to partake in a spin class grab a friend and jump on. Here are some helpful tips if your a little intimdated by the spandex clad fitness junkies piling into the room with you.
- Don't be afraid to ask. Get to class a few minutes early and let the instructor know it's your first time. They can easily set you up without the embarrasment of trying to figure out which knobby-thingy moves your seat down.
- Figuring out your basic bike fit is fairly simply. Most spin bikes have three basic adjustment. First, saddle height. You can eyeball it by standing next to the saddle (seat) and adjust it to the height of your hips. Then hop on and, with the ball of your foot on the pedal, push down until the pedal is at the very bottom. When you foot is parallel with the floor your knee should be slightly bent. Once you get that squared away you need to adjust the saddle forward and backward. This is the most difficult part I think because you kind of have to find the "sweet spot" on the saddle. I usually slide around on the saddle and pedal for a bit before I decide that's the spot. Once you find it place the pedal at the 3 o'clock position (crank arm parallel to the floor). In this position you are trying to get your knee cap directly over the center of the pedal. Finally, the handlebar height. In the beginning go for what is comfortable, which is probably going to be higher. Shoot for the same height as the saddle or higher. As your fitness increases you may find that you want to lower the height of the handlebars. This will increase the demand of your core muscles to support your body. Once you get everything set start spinning. Don't be afraid to change things, even during class. These are basically guidelines that are "biomechanically" correct, however not everyone is built the same. A few millimeters of change in adjustments can make a big difference. So experiment.
- Those padded-ass shorts were made for a reason. A good pair of shorts is a wise investment if spinning becomes part of your regular fitness regime. Again the guys, or gals, at your local bike shop can help you out in your decision. Your looking for a good chamois that is not just a giant pad. Giant pad= feeling like your riding in a diaper. So avoid that. Also bad, chaffing....nuff said.
- Hydrate! Unlike riding a bike outdoors there is limited air flow. Its gonna be hot so remember to drink.
Hope this post has given you a lil spark of desire to go forth and experience what might be your favorite new activity. Don't be afraid to try something new. A lil change never hurt no one!