Fit Fridays: Spinning!

I really love spinning. I know a lot of you may be intimidated by the prospect of taking a spin class.  This is because of the connotation of  “spin” that has evolved since it’s inception, that it’s a hyper intense cardio workout only serious fitness fanatics take part in. This is completely untrue!

Take me, for example, yes I workout quite a bit and teach fitness classes. But I also had baby 4 months ago and am not exactly in prime cardio shape. I’ve been doing a lot of walking and muscle toning work, but other than that I haven’t really amped up the cardio. I felt the need to last night so signed up for a spin class at my gym. I’ve been missing spin classes, the people, the music and the instructors enthusiasm really make it a fun workout experience overall.

Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of your spinning experience:

1) Cushion Your Seat. The seats on spinner bikes are much harder then on regular ones. I highly suggest considering wearing padded bike shorts (available for about $30 in sporting goods stores). Or many clubs have gel-filled seat covers you can put directly over the bike saddle.

2) Stay Hydrated. Spinning works up a great sweat and the rooms are often warm, bring a BIG water bottler with you as I guarantee you will drink at least 20 oz.of water before completing the class.

3) Bring a towel! I didn’t bring one tonight and ended up taking off my shirt (sports bra underneath:) and using it as a substitute. It was pretty drenched by the end.

4) Pace Yourself!  According to Prevention Magazine Stationary cycling is especially good for people who have joint problems or trouble with weight-bearing exercise. Classes can be high energy and vigorous, however; if you’re new to exercise, remember to go at your own pace and don’t get swept up in the class enthusiasm and ride beyond your comfort level.

5) Make Sure You Click With the Instructor. Some instructors lead a more fast passed class while others focus on higher resistance and are therefore not as fast. The music choices are always inportant as well, I find it’s key to keeping me motivated so if I don’t like the music I generally don’t like the class. The instructors overall style and the way they conduct class vary quite a bit so try out a few. Don’t give up on it just because the first class wasn’t your cup of tea.

6) Keep it about you. It’s important to place the most importance on yourself and what you feel comfortable with. You can push yourself as much or as little as you want and in the end you’ll still get a pretty good workout. Take me tonight, I was up front next to two women who clearly take spin very seriously and were in really good shape. I was a little intimidated and at first felt like I had to keep up and if I didn’t I wasn’t trying hard enough. This happens at the gym often. I’ll get on the treadmill next to someone running at 7 RPMs when I’m only at 6, I’ll be on the elliptical for a half an hour when the person next to me has been on for 45 minutes. The important thing is to focus on you, not the person or people around you. It’s good to have the added motivation of competition but if it’s all-consuming and ruining your workout experience that can be very damaging and result in your making excuses not to go back to the gym.

I know my body and what I can handle. I also know that I don’t need to kill myself to get a good workout. I really enjoyed the spin class tonight because I kept it about me and what I could do. I pushed myself but didn’t obsess with keeping up or doing better than the others. In the end, if I simply make it through a spin class with some resistance on my bike, I’m going to get a decent workout.

Do you have any suggestions for how you make your gym experience more enjoyable and relaxing?

Thanks for reading…



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