Today, I am sharing one of my favorite workouts! I started my spinning journey about a year and a half ago when I was working in Philadelphia. I was bored one night and had always wanted to try these spin classes that I kept reading amazing things about. Walking into my first class (at FlyWheel), I was extremely nervous and didn’t know what to expect. The class was extremely difficult for me – I had to sit down for a few minutes to catch my breath and wasn’t sure if I would make it through class, but I was in love! I was hooked on the change of pace and trying to reach new goals on my bike!!
Ever since then, I have tried to visit as many spin studios in the cities I am visiting! I took classes with my co-workers every Wednesday in Charlotte, I tried SoulCycle in L.A. and NYC when I was there for work and on the weekends I jetted all over Houston to find my favorite spin studio. Every studio offers something different for riders – FlyWheel brings out my more competitive side by monitoring metrics and, if you choose, showcasing your score on a screen in the studio and posting the metrics to your account to allow you to track your progress, whereas other studios push me to ride differently on my bike to test different muscles and SoulCycle has taught me more about pushing my limits and is really a soul searching/defining experience for me – they really mean the Soul and the Cycle together.
When SoulCycle announced that they were bringing a studio to Houston (no less only a mile away from my apartment), I was ecstatic! Ever since the grand opening almost 6 weeks ago, I have attended classes at least weekly and the studio has almost become a home away from home for me. I am able to find my release on the bike and the mental transformations I have made in the studio have started to reflect in my personality off the bike (as I re-read this – I know it sounds cheesy, but it is so true. I am pushed all the time on my bike to fight for what I want and to have a smile on my face while I do it. A lot of the lessons on the bike can easily relate to the challenges/fights we make off the bike). To showcase my love of this hobby, I wanted to share with you a few tips that will help you to rock your first SoulCycle class (or really any spin class)!!
Properly fuel your body prior to class
I have been to multiple spin classes where I could physically not move on my bike anymore. It can be a scary experience, but every time this has happened, I can attribute it to a lack of proper nutrition/hydration prior to the class. I’m no nutritional expert, but I have found that 2 scrambled eggs and a piece of whole wheat toast at least an hour before class helps me to perform my best on the bike. I constantly remind myself that I am going to work my butt off (literally and figuratively) and I need to be able to get the most out of my workout and eating right will help me to do so.
Book your bike towards the back of class
What I love about studio/boutique spinning classes is the ability to book the exact bike that you want to ride on. If this is your first couple of classes, I recommend sitting in the third or fourth row. Not that you can’t handle the first or second (I totally know you can), but there are a lot of moves on the bike that may seem foreign until you get the hang of them. (I know there are still times that I am like “wait, how do you want me to move again?”). By sitting in the last couple of rows, you will be able to watch the people in front of you and it may help you to get the moves quicker.
Wear comfortable high-waisted pants and a longer top
You will be doing a lot of bending over during the class. I would definitely recommend wearing a longer top or higher waisted pants, so you aren’t worrying about what is riding up or down. The same goes for low cut tops – I know I am more comfortable and focused on my workout when I am not worrying about my clothing. These capris and top from Lane Bryant’s Livi Activewear line are perfect for my ride because they are extremely soft and have enough coverage so that I can conquer my ride. But, at the end of the day – wear whatever you are comfortable in because they will motivate you to have your best ride!
When choosing a shoe size, go up
So this tip may no pertain to everyone, but I am in between shoe sizes and have found that if my shoes are too tight, my feet will feel numb throughout class. Definitely not a good thing! So if you are a half size (or even somewhere in between), I recommend requesting shoes that are a bit larger. You can always adjust the velcro straps to fit around the width of your foot! Oh and side note, in these pictures I have on regular tennis shoes, but at most of the boutique studios you will need to clip into the bike with spinning shoes. These will give you more traction and, I think, give you a much better workout. I bought a pair of my own spin shoes since I attend frequently, but all of the studios I have been to allow you to rent them!
Introduce yourself to your instructor
Trust me, all of the instructors I have taken with are extremely nice and just want you to succeed on your bike! When you introduce yourself, tell them this is your first class (ever or just at this studio) and even let them know if you are nervous or aren’t sure what to expect. The instructors often keep a closer eye on newer riders to make sure that your form is good, so we all can stay injury free!
Have the staff at the studio help set up your bike
Every studio has different bikes and may have a different way of riding. I always recommend having the staff help you to set up your bike before your first ride. This will ensure that you stay safe and get the most out of your ride. For example, at SoulCycle, you ride much farther back on your bike to engage your core muscles. Each studio has their rhyme or reason, so it is always a good idea to check in with them before hand. But, if you know something is not right for you – speak up! I ride with my handle bars higher than most people because of a shoulder injury – just let the staff know of any injuries/past injuries you have so that you can be safe during your ride!
Grab one of those gel seat cushions
I am not going to lie – your tush may be sore during the ride, the next day, heck, even the next few days after your first ride. Trust me, riding with a gel seat cover will make your ride a bit more comfortable and your bottom will thank you the next day! I have gotten used to riding and don’t need a cover anymore, but I probably used one for the first year I was spinning! Usually the seat covers are next to the weights. If you don’t see them, just ask the staff – they may be hidden some place else!
Go light on the weights
For 6 minutes of class, you will be using weights to tone those arms. I recommend starting lighter on your weights (i.e. 1 or 2 pounds) if you haven’t been to class before because the arm segment seems to never end (it’s only 6 minutes, but my arms are feeling it by the 3rd minute). Using smaller weights will also help you to learn the proper form so you don’t get injured! I started with 1 pound weights during my first class and needed to take breaks, but now I am able to work through the whole segment with 3lb weights. If they don’t feel heavy enough after your first class, bump it up the next time!
Drink lots of water
You will be sweating like crazy by the end of class, so make sure that you re-hydrate both during and after class! I always bring a reusable water bottle with me to fill up at the studio before and after I ride or they have bottles of water you can purchase.
Push yourself, but make sure to listen to your body
Every class can and will probably feel different to your body. Make sure you are pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone because that is where you will grow and get stronger, BUT make sure to listen to what your body is telling you. If you feel like you need to sit down – do it! But try and get back in to the rhythm of class when you are able to. We all have been there – where we can’t catch our breath or have a weird pain in our joints. As one of my favorite instructors at River Oaks, Kamelle, says “It’s all about integrity. Perfection is wack.” And it’s so true. Do your best and don’t cheat yourself of an amazing workout or pushing yourself past the limit you didn’t know you could reach.
And last but not least…..
Have fun! And know that everyone had their first ride at some point
I hope these tips help you to have a fabulous first ride at SoulCycle or any other spin studio! I’m off to my weekly Saturday ride before starting on my laundry to get ready to head to NYC this week for Full Figured Fashion Week and The Curvy Con! Be sure to follow me on Snapchat (@EmilySGSB) and on Instagram (@EmilySGSB) for a behind the scenes look of my trip! Y’all know how much I love NYC (evidence: here and here), but this trip is going to be extra special because I have some AMAZING opportunities to meet and collaborate with other curvy bloggers and brands! Have a great weekend, y’all! You deserve it!
Affiliate Links: Lane Bryant Livi Active Top | Lane Bryant Livi Active Workout Capris (Swim Capris) | Fabletics Sports Bra (Sign up here and get your first outfit for $25) | ASICS Tennis Shoes (newer colors) | S’well Water Bottle (monogrammed at Adelaide’s Boutique)
Photos by: Lauren Beatty Photography
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