Tips for making indoor cycling more enjoyable (really!)

Today, I wrote a guest post for Trainer Kim about spinning. More specifically, about why I think spinning is a great workout for just about everybody!

I thought I’d follow up with some specific tips for making indoor cycling more enjoyable.

  1. Prepare yourself for fun. That’s right. Arrive on your bike, expecting to have a great time. Nothing puts a damper on an enjoyable workout faster than a negative attitude.
  2. Don’t ride the horn. You know, the front part of your seat? Horn riding not only takes the fun out of your workout, it also makes for sore ‘lady parts’ the next day. Enough said.
  3. Dress the part. Long, flared pants are not only too warm for spinning, they also run the risk of getting caught in pedals and wheels. I’ve seen this happen and it’s not pretty.
  4. On the other hand, full coverage of your upper torso (especially if you’re large chested), will make you (and your instructor!) feel less self-conscious when you lean forward over the handle bars in ‘aggressive’ stance.
  5. Bring your singing voice. I love to sing in spin class. It not only makes the time go by more quickly, it makes me feel happy!
  6. Pedal with a flat foot. Pointing your toe will reduce the power of your stroke as well as lead to sore calves the next morning.
  7. Pull on your pedals as much as you push. Pushing from the top of the stroke down targets your quads. Pulling up from the bottom of the stroke targets your hamstrings and glutes; you know, the part of your body people look at when you walk away from them.
  8. Drink lots. You can expect to sweat more than usual while spinning. Make sure you’ve got at least 750 ml of water to replenish as you go. If there’s not a puddle under my bike at the end of class, I know I’ll be dehydrated later that day.
  9. Go at your own pace. Ignore your neighbour. Unlike a road bike race, indoor cycling has no destination so it doesn’t matter who gets ‘there’ first.
  10. Adjust your tension accordingly. While you needn’t add as much tension as your instructor requests (particularly if you’re new to spinning or just tired from a late night out), it’s really boring to spin at the same tension for the entire class. Variety will make the workout infinitely more enjoyable.

And finally,

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t love it the first few times on the bike. When I started spinning, my instructor told me that many participants hate it for the first 5 or 6 classes. It’s a challenging workout and even those who exercise regularly find it very different from running and group aerobics. I considered myself lucky, in only hating the first 3 classes I took 🙂

How do you make exercise more enjoyable?

Comments

  1. Well I don’t spin, but I recumbnt bike. Let’s pretend that counts:-) as I caint do that in flared pants either!

    • My hubby is a recumbent bike fan; his resides in the kids’ unused treehouse (they don’t like it because there are spiders!). A great option for days when it’s too rainy to get on a road bike! (and he doesn’t wear flared pants either; unlike your hubby!)

  2. I LOVE spinning – but it took a few times for me to start to like it. For me, it is all about the music. I have to have good music to listen to or I just can’t get into it. Luckily the spin classes that I can get to have great instructors with awesome playlists 😉

  3. Spinning is pure fun! Unfortunately I’m not a huge fan of the new instructor at my gym. She’s not as into the fun aspect. There’s a lot of yelling. For me, spinning is like dancing. I get really into the music and yes, sometimes some singing gets out 🙂

    • That’s the first rule of group fitness instruction; make it fun for your participants! Not everybody likes to exercise and if it’s too much work, some people won’t bother! Sing loud and long!

  4. Spinning classes are great, but I prefer my own interval routine. I have my music on, or listen to a podcast, while riding, maximizing my time.

  5. Great tips! I go to company’s spin class twice a week after work and I loved it! The music was super upbeat so as the trainer. I definitely love going to trainer more than just the regular weight training or running on the boring treadmill.

  6. Although spinning classes are interesting, I love my interval routine at home, because I can do other things at the same time, such as watching TV, listening to music or a podcast.
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  7. You are right about not competing with your neighbour. During my first spin class I tried to keep pace with the person next to me, turns out they were a lot fitter than me and I had to stop about halfway through because I felt like I was going to be sick.