Attending Your First Spin Class: What To Wear, What To Bring, and What To Expect

Walking into your first cycling class may feel a bit like the first day of school: you feel anxious about wearing the right thing, having the necessary supplies, and avoiding major social disasters. Luckily, spin classes usually lack the sort of drama you might experience upon returning to classes after a long summer. Still, there are a few tips and tricks you may want to keep in mind so your first cycling class goes as smoothly as possible.

Cycling Attire

Those who plan to do a lot of cycling would be wise to invest in specialized types of clothing. Consider a few categories of apparel you may wish to address on your next visit to a sporting goods store.

Shoes

Don’t forget your footwear as you plan out what to wear for spinning class. Cycling shoes are designed to help you get the most out of your workout through key features you won’t find in your everyday sneakers. First, cycling shoes have two or three cleats that snap into the pedals of your bike. This way, you can maintain a consistent form and work as many muscles as possible. Bike shoes also have much harder soles than, say, running shoes, so your muscles and the pedals work together efficiently. 

To purchase cycling shoes, you may wish to stop by a bike store near you. These professionals can help you select the right pair, and may even be able to install the cleats. Note that some shoes that work well for indoor cycling may not be as well suited for mountain or road biking.

Pants

If you have done much bike riding in the past, you are likely familiar with the soreness bikers feel on their behinds after long rides. This feeling may be intensified at a spin class because you may have to pop up and down frequently. For this reason, avid cyclers often invest in padded pants. There are many types of shorts, capris, and pants that come with this sort of support. Additionally, you can opt for underwear with a padded section, also known as a chamois, so you can continue using the outwear you already have. Chamois come in various styles and materials, so you may have to try a couple before you find one that is comfortable for you.

Tops

The best type of shirt to wear while cycling is one that is moisture-wicking, airy, and not too baggy. Those first two qualities are essential when considering what to wear on the Peloton bike because you will likely become very warm and sweaty during your workout. Additionally, women will want to be sure to wear a high-impact sports bra for maximal comfort while riding. 

Extra Gear

There are a couple of additional items you don’t want to forget when you arrive at your first spin class. First, be sure to bring a water bottle so you can quickly rehydrate without getting off your bike. Opt for a bottle style that doesn’t require you to remove a lid to drink. It’s also critical that you bring a towel or borrow one from your gym so you can mop up sweat before it starts stinging your eyes. Don’t worry about bringing headphones; your instructor will no doubt play songs specifically chosen to move the class along.

If you’re a novice cycler, you may be concerned about how much it will cost you to get all this gear. Take a deep breath and know that none of this equipment is essential. You can cycle in regular shorts, a t-shirt, and your running shoes. The fancier apparel can certainly make your workout more comfortable and effective, but you can wait to start investing until you know whether you enjoy spin classes. 

A Typical Class

Adjusting Your Bike

On your first day of spin class, be sure to leave for the gym a bit earlier than necessary so you have plenty of time to set things up. Most importantly, you will need to adjust your bike’s settings so you can comfortably pedal without sustaining any injuries. Start by standing next to the bike. Raise or lower the seat until it is level with the upper portion of your hip. Next, sit on the bike and push one pedal to its lowest position. Modify the seat’s height if your knee is completely straight or bent at an angle of more than 35 degrees. Finally, put your hands on the handlebars and adjust their position until your elbows are moderately bent.

Warming Up

Though every instructor may start class a bit differently, you will likely begin by doing a few basic stretches to prevent muscle strains. You may then start pedaling at a low level of resistance as you warm up. On your first day, be sure to experiment a bit with the resistance settings to get an idea of which levels you can safely pedal at.

Pushing Through

As your workout builds in intensity, your instructor may encourage you to do various exercises for a certain amount of time. You may be asked to increase the resistance to a specific range or pedal while standing up, for instance. Don’t be afraid to keep your resistance lower than the instructor suggests, especially when you are starting out. It takes time to build muscle and adapt to these intense workouts.

Cooling Off

Finally, the class will begin to slow down, pedaling at a lower resistance level for a time. After everyone’s pedals are still, be sure to take a moment to briefly stretch a second time. Most importantly, hydrate! Once you quell worries such as what to wear to a cycling class and how to adjust your bike, you are free to push yourself to greater levels of fitness while meeting new people. If you are looking for information about the world of cycling, be sure to visit BikeLVR’s most recent postings where experienced bikers share key insights about everything from the best bike seats to sun protection.

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