• October 19, 2019 |

    spin

    cycle of your life

    article by , illustrated by

    In October, the Nelson Fitness Center presents “Workout to Win.” Whether you’re looking to win this competition, want to start exercising, or are just seeking a new social activity, the Nelson’s group fitness classes are great for a wide range of participants. In particular, spin classes provide a great workout that will leave you feeling empowered, stronger, and accomplished. While spin classes are advertised as “no experience necessary,” the first few classes can feel rather daunting. Thus, whether you are a routine spinster or a cycling newbie, here are a few tips to make your spinning experience worthwhile. 

     

    Practice Makes Perfect

    Not to scare away any potential new spinners, but the first spin class I ever attended was brutal. I had no previous athletic experience, so the 45-minute class felt never-ending—I was already huffing and puffing by the end of the second song. The first class (or second, or third) will be challenging and even discouraging. Between endurance, new choreography, and keeping up the proper pace, there are several unique cycling features that take some time getting used to. But never fret! Whereas I could barely keep pedaling during my first go-around, I now can confidently follow the instructor and even match their speed. So don’t be discouraged from attending a second class—practice really does help, so be patient. 

     

    Arrive Early

    If you’re trying to attend Cat’s 7:30 p.m. Tuesday spin class, I cannot stress enough the importance of arriving early. Admittedly, I’m an early bird for most activities, but without fail on Tuesday nights, by 7:15pm the latest, every bike in the room is sure to be taken. So with a roughly 10-minute walk to the Nelson, I suggest leaving around 7:00 p.m. to secure a seat. While this may seem tedious, the bright side is you will have ample time to set up your bike correctly, grab weights, and chat with your nearby biking buddies. 

     

    It’s Getting Hot In Here…

    Half the fun of going to a gym class is getting to show off your colorful leggings and matching activewear ensemble. However, I like to save my head-to-toe tracksuit for athleisure activities, and recommend wearing shorts to a spin class. Many people have no problem cycling in pants; but given the non-stop nature of the class and increasing heat with pedaling, I find my ride to be much more enjoyable when wearing shorts. 

     

    Choose a Lighter Set of Weights

    When the instructor recommends picking up a set of weights under five pounds, it truly is in your best interest to listen to their advice. While using weights typically only occurs during one song, this song tends to be towards the end of your ride. Therefore, by the time this song rolls around, you’re sure to be sweaty, exhausted, and dreading the thought of lifting one pound let alone five. While ambition is always encouraged, think realistically and maybe (heavily) reconsider using those eight-pound weights.

     

    Go At Your Own Pace

    Exercising alongside others in synchronization can feel daunting at times. However, spin classes are designed to foster an encouraging environment. Being in a dark room and having an individual gear shift eliminates pressure from those around you. If you are feeling good and want an extra challenge, pump up the resistance. Getting over a bad cold or still feeling wary about spinning? Take it down a notch and go at your own speed. As instructors will remind you throughout the ride, going at your own pace is recommended. Alongside getting in shape physically, spinning is beneficial in providing a positive mental mindset—the perfect place to take a break from midterm studying or a stressful week.

     

    If you are looking to start exercising but don’t know where to begin, consider taking a spin class or group fitness course offered at the Nelson. Forty-five minutes is the perfect time to take a break or socialize, all while feeling good from exercise. With these insider tips, your next cycling ride should be a breeze.