1. You’re not using resistance, or you’re using too much. Riding with little resistance kind of defeats the purpose of your workout, while riding with too much makes the workout feel grueling. Listen to the instructor and follow his or her lead on where you should be on that resistance scale. Remember though to listen to your body. What feels like a light hill to one person, might be a steep climb for another.
2. You’re not watching your form. Lots of classes call for different types of choreography — tapbacks, jumps, pushups — but if it feels wrong or like your body is out of control, don’t do it. Focus on keeping your core engaged, your back straight, your head up, and on the push and pull of each pedal stroke. Keep your grip on the handlebars light. Holding on too tight can inadvertently cause your shoulders to tense and your back to round. Your butt should be over the seat at all times, enough so that you can feel the seat between your thighs.
3.You’re not setting up correctly. Riding with the seat or handlebars too low, or too far apart can lead to joint stress and back pain. If you don’t know how to set up your bike to your height, don’t guess! Ask for help! Get to the studio 15 minutes before class and have the instructor or a studio associate get your bike set for class.
4. You’re not dressed for the part. This is not to say that you need to go out and buy a new workout wardrobe for your cycling classes, but there are a few items you should have. Wear moisture wicking fabric, not cotton. You’ll be sweating A LOT and your neighbor would appreciate not being sprayed with your sweat. Avoid loose fitting pants and opt for form fitting leggings or shorts instead. And remember that sweating thing? Maybe grab a headband to keep your hair in check.
5. You’re wearing the wrong shoes. You CAN ride in sneakers at some studios that have foot cages on their pedals. Choose thicker-soled shoes since thinner soles can hurt your arches when the pedal is in the middle of your foot. It’s best to ride in cycling shoes though since they give more support, more power, and more muscle engagement with every pedal stroke. Check out our Slipstream cycling shoe and take your class experience to the next level!
6. You’re not hydrating or eating enough. Keep a water bottle with you in class, you’re going to need it as you will be sweating. And remember to drink throughout class. If you find that you are extremely thirsty in the middle of your ride, you’re probably dehydrated already. As for what to eat before class, try to have a balanced meal 1.5 to 2 hours before class. If you don’t have time for that, be sure to have a piece of fruit, an energy bar, or some nuts. Same goes for after class! Try to eat within 20 to 60 minutes of class ending, and grab a meal full of protein. Your body is going to want to rebuild after your ride.
7. You’re skipping the stretch. Whether you’re a regular in your spin class or you’re brand new, stretching is important! After riding over a bike with your hips flexed for over thirty minutes or more, you need to counter it by opening your body back up. Don’t walk out at the end of class. Instead, follow the stretch routine with the instructor. If you absolutely have to jet out early, take a few minutes outside of the studio to stretch. Your body — especially your backside — will thank you later.
8. You have a negative mindset. If you walk into class expecting the worst, or completely closed off to the experience, of course you’re going to have a bad class! Try going in with an open mind. Walk in with a smile! Stop scanning the room and judging other riders and, most importantly, stop judging yourself! If you’re focused on how someone else looks on a bike, you are certainly not focusing on your own workout — which is the most important part!