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What You Should Know Before Your First Cycling Class

Taking your first workout class can be very intimidating. It’s hard to know what to expect from workout classes when it’s your first time. But here at CHI-SOCIETY, we’re here to help! Our knowledgeable and professional cycling trainers and studios shared their expertise on everything you need to know before your first cycling class!


Whether you are a pro, beginner, or have never even heard of cycling, we got you covered! Don’t know what to expect from your first Spin Class? From tips to general knowledge about Cycling, we put together a master guide to all things cycling and spin! Read below to learn more!

WHAT EXACTLY IS CYCLING & SPIN?

You’ve probably heard these terms – cycling, indoor cycling, and/or spinning. But what exactly is it? Let’s define it for you! Indoor cycling is an incredible cardio workout that is low impact on your body and accessible to all ages and fitness levels. This workout focuses on endurance, strength, intervals, high intensity, and recovery. It also involves using a special stationary exercise bicycle with a weighted flywheel in a classroom setting.


CHI-SOCIETY is proud to partner with two amazing Chicago cycling studios — SALT & Spynergy. Below, we list what these partnered studios offer!


SALT: “At SALT, our indoor cycle classes are a 45-minute endurance challenge. You will become one with the beat of a song and reach new limits as you conquer steep hills, your fastest speed, and more.”


Spynergy: “Spynergy’s “spin” on classes involves riding to the beat of the music with a mix of endurance and interval training. You will be motivated by the music and our inspiring instructors. Spynergy offers 30, 45, and 60-minute class options. Meet us down the alley!”



HOW ARE CYCLING CLASSES SET UP?

We mentioned earlier how cycling classes focus on endurance, strength, intervals, high intensity, and recovery. We also mentioned how cycling classes obviously involve using a special stationary exercise bicycle. But how else are classes set up? Every class can be different, depending on the studio or even the instructor. What’s important to know is that all cycling classes aim to give you an outdoor cycling workout in a condensed time with higher intensity exercises over a shorter period. Most cycle/spin classes can vary in condensed time, however 45 minutes of sweat, cardio, and fun is usually the norm! Cycling classes usually have climb drills as well to give you strength and springs to help you work on cardiovascular throughout the workout. Make sure to read up on your classes’ site to know how your workout will be specifically set up! Below, our partnered studios explain how cycling classes are set up at their own respective studios.


SALT: “At SALT we have two formats. Cycle 45 is a 45-minute ride with a meditation to reconnect with your intention before your last two challenging songs. Our 30/30 format is 30 minutes of cycle followed by 30 minutes of strength to provide a full-body workout.”


Spynergy: “During Spynergy’s classic 45-minute ride you can expect two or three hills simulated by adding resistance and slowing the pace over the course of several songs two to three times after about 10 minutes to warm up and settle in. Our classes always end with a burnout sprint so that you leave feeling strong and accomplished!”



HOW TO PREPARE BEFORE YOUR FIRST CLASS

Preparing for your first cycling class is crucial. By reading this article, you are one step closer to being prepared, but there’s still a lot to do beforehand! Here are the most crucial tips:


  1. Bring plenty of water to class! Being hydrated is key as well so drinking water an hour before class will allow you to go in hydrated not hydrate as you're sweating it all out.

  2. Dress in athletic attire – preferably with compression material on your legs.

  3. Check to see if you are required to bring your own cycling shoes! However, most studios will provide you with shoes to rent or allow you to use your own sneakers.

  4. Stretching and or rolling before class can set you up to feel extra comfortable and strong on the bike!

  5. Bring a positive attitude!


All studios run differently. Here’s what SALT & Spynergy says!


SALT: “We provide cycle shoes and sweat towels so arrive in comfortable workout attire and bring a positive attitude. If you have shoes our bikes are compatible with both SPD and Delta clips.”


Spynergy: “At Spynergy you can wear sneakers or rent our cycling shoes to clip into the pedals. Stretching and or rolling before class can set you up to feel extra comfortable and strong on the bike!”



HOW TO EXPECT DURING YOUR FIRST CLASS

It’s finally time — your first cycling class is beginning! Get ready for a fun ride and an intense workout!


Make sure to arrive early for your first class so you can get fully situated and ready on your bike. It’s important to arrive early so you can get properly fitted with shoes and on the bike – this is key to having an enjoyable and safe ride!


Spynergy also says, “My favorite thing about our classes is that they are meant to be FUN. If you have fun and follow the instructor you’re guaranteed to get a great workout and be excited to come back! One common misconception is that new riders worry that more resistance on the wheel makes the class harder when in fact resistance can make you feel comfortable and safe on the bike by slowing down the weighted wheel. Often if you aren’t feeling in control the answer is more resistance. We would rather you go slower and feel in control than sprinting the whole class. At Spynergy, we do not have a leader board so your experience is personal and private to you in the group setting. You can push yourself as much as you need that first ride. Expect to need three classes to really get the hang of the workout and feel confident!”



HOW TO EXPECT AFTER YOUR FIRST CLASS

You’re all done! You survived your first cycling class! We hope it made you feel on top of the world. Make sure to recover properly, it’s so important to keep your body feeling good. Because cycling is low-impact, you may not be as sore as you’d expect after a tough workout. Drinking lots of water and electrolytes, stretching, and eating nutritious foods will make your recovery even swifter.


SALT also expresses, “At SALT, we also plan about 3 minutes of stretching at the end of class but we recommend that everyone continue to stretch when they get home or before bed to avoid soreness. Try stretches that target, your glutes, calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, and some chest openers to work against the anterior position of being on the bike. If you have a foam roller get into the IT bands!”


Wherever you may take your class, you are always expected to walk away smiling, sweaty, and potentially with a song stuck in your head!



TIPS & ADDITIONAL INFO

Cycling can instantly become your new obsession or it may take a while to adjust. Here are some last few tips from our partnered studios on cycling classes!


SALT: “Have fun and don't put any pressure on yourself! Your seat/glutes may be sore if your ride is in the saddle a bunch, but that goes away. Stay with it, even if you think it's not for you, as we promise it will get easier and more fun after each ride you take!”


Spynergy: “You will get a great workout even if you just move your feet the whole 45 minutes. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to match the other riders. You’ll get there soon enough!”



* All tips and expertise were provided by SALT Studio Owner, Tami Conway, & Spynergy Studio Owner, Liza Solberg



Head over to CHI-SOCIETY.com to discover the best of Chicago Health & Fitness!



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