Tips for Beginners from a Seasoned Spinning Instructor

Tips for Beginners from a Seasoned Spinning Instructor


“Push it…Push it. If you want that summer body you’ve got to start working hard for it today,” spinning instructor Nicole says as she powers the class on in their cycling workout.

The room was full of eager and hardworking exercisers wanting an inspiring workout. Her class was challenging because she encouraged you to work hard and she was the driving force of the class. We did hills, flats, and sprints.

I spent a lot of the class turning the knob on my bike for more resistance and then even more until I could barely move my legs. We biked with low resistance at first on a flat road and then gradually went up a hill with more resistance. We took some resistance off for speed. We also sat in the bike seat and hovered above the seat over the handle bars.

I hadn’t done a spinning class in a while and it wasn’t easy. When the class was done, I was glad I’d done it, but definably challenged myself.

Why should You Try Spinning?

I got the privilege of taking ten-year veteran spinning instructor Nicole’s class and I burned at least 400 calories. The number of calories you burn will, of course, depend on your weight and effort. Spinning is a great cardiovascular workout and is low impact while being lots of fun.

Before you Begin:

Before you even step out of your house to go to spinning you want to make sure you drink plenty of water and fuel properly. Nicole finds eating carbs like oatmeal with blueberries or any kind of fruit is a good way for her to prepare for class. The fruit will give you quick carbs that will give you energy. She says a lot of bodybuilders like to eat an orange before a workout. Eat a variety of fruits and if someone is heavy fruits and veggies are great for nutrition, but it depends on each person. Timing your nutrition correctly for fueling and recovery is important to get all of the benefits.

Setting Up for Sucess:

You’re properly fueled and you’ve had the courage to walk into class now what? It’s time to Set up. Have the instructor set your bike up correctly for you. If you don’t it could put pressure on your knees.

Another way to set yourself up for success is with biking gear. Gear you might want to have: padded shorts, gloves, shoes you can use for outside riding too. None of this gear is needed for class but some people choose to use them especially those who bike outside too. Nicole said don’t be surprised if your butt hurts when you start spinning, so some padded shorts might be nice. You can purchase shoes at any bike shop.

Warming Up:

Warming up gets your blood flowing. The workout will start with a lighter resistance in the beginning of class to get blood flowing, heart rate should be the same as cool down. You want to warm up and get into the fat burning zone.

Don’t Give Up Easily:

Stepping into a spinning class can be intimidating at first with all the bikes and fit people, but Nicole says don’t be intimidated and take it at your own pace. For your first spinning class, she suggests going at your own pace, if you feel overexerted bring it down reduce your speed, take deep breaths, you can also reduce resistance. And don’t worry because no one can tell how much resistance you have on your bike.

Cooling Down:

For the cool, you need to bring your heart rate back down to where it was when you started and if you can get it down in 2 minutes, you are in good cardiovascular shape.

As you are riding and cooling down you can teach your body to recover faster through your breathing. Nicole says that learning to breathe properly is key.

After the cool down on the bike, you will get off the bike and stretch out your muscles. Stretching is important. You will stretch your major muscles like quadriceps, and hamstrings. Don’t forget to also stretch your calves, deltoids or shoulders, and back because often people forget to stretch these muscles.

What to Eat after a workout:

Nicole eats a 4 to 1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. Here are some examples of what she would eat after a workout: oatmeal with cinnamon and blueberries and a protein shake. For her, it’s 30 grams of protein after a workout to replenish her muscles. Nicole says that if of you’re wanting to build muscle you have to eat enough protein. If you’re training hard cardio and resistance then you need to be eating your body weight in protein. People that train a lot need lots of protein. Protein supports muscle and also makes you feel fuller.

Mix it Up for Success:

Don’t limit yourself to just spinning. There are many exercises people can try if they like spinning, but make sure you mix it up because then the body doesn’t plateau as easily. Nicole recommended the elliptical for someone having problems with their knees. She told her student to increase resistance and plug away and she could burn as many calories on the elliptical as spinning.

If you haven’t tried spinning, try it!  It’s a fun workout that burns lots of calories.

Look out for the next post about what it’s like to be a spinning instructor and how you can be one too!

To see how I’m doing on my fitness journey check out this month’s journal entry.

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