Unless you've been living under a rock for the past decade, you've probably heard a thing or two about spin. In fact, you've probably had a handful of friends try to convince you to test out a class one night after work. If they finally convinced you to get on the bike, then you should know the beginner mistakes everyone makes in spin class.
If you make the decision to sign up for a class, you might be a bit apprehensive at first. The sweat and screaming instructors are enough to turn anyone away. It's completely normal to be nervous when trying something that might be a bit outside your comfort zone. Not to mention, if you're like me, then you may be scared of making a mistake and embarrassing yourself. And when you think like that, it takes all the fun out of going to a group fitness class. But by learning about commonly made mistakes beforehand, you may be able to ease those fears.
The mistakes that spin newbies commonly make are usually easy to fix or avoid. Don't be embarrassed, everyone has been there at one point or another. Pretty soon you'll be cruising through spin class, no mistakes or embarrassments in sight.
1. They Set Up Wrong
"It's really common to see newbies come into class and set their bike up in an unsafe way," Kat Haselkorn, a total body conditioning and spinning instructor, tells Romper by email. "If the seat is too high or too low it can seriously hurt your knees, so, just ask for help adjusting the knobs." She suggests newbies arrive five to 10 minutes before class starts to get properly set up. If your friend has been to class before, even asking her might help you avoid a potential knee injury, but seriously, don't be scared to ask the instructor if one (or both) of you is unsure.
2. They Don't Use The Right Resistance
In spin, it's fairly important that you set your resistance to the correct level. "One of the most common issues I see is when people are going quick, peddling fast in a race and they’re bouncing all over the place," Corinne Petras, a certified RPM cycling instructor, tells Romper in an email exchange. "Turn[ing] [the resistance] up until you feel a light grip on the wheel that slightly pulls you back (but not enough to slow you down too much) will stop the bouncing, protect your butt from the saddle and increase your fitness; perfect because that’s why you’re there."
3. They Look Down
As someone who is very guilty of looking down at my feet when jogging, I know how tempting this can be, but it's not a good ideas. "During class, I often see students looking down at the pedals and essentially watching the effort of their own feet," Haselkorn says. "This puts a serious strain on the neck and puts the rest of the body out of alignment as well. Looking down at your feet can also cause the shoulders to tense up which is another sign of a new spinner." If you hear your instructor giving general cues for adjustments, do a quick double-check to make sure you're aligned right. You don't want to accidentally injure yourself by doing something that's easy to fix.
4. They Compete With Everyone Else In Class
Pretty much everyone who's ever taken a group class has seen that one superstar student out of the corner of their eye and felt they needed to do more because "if she can, so can I." Competing with your fellow students, however, just adds unnecessary stress and anxiety. "It’s really your personal journey and just showing up is really half the battle—more than half the battle," Dionne Del Carlo, co-founder of StarCycle, tells Romper. The only person that matters once you step into that room is yourself (and, OK, maybe also the instructor).
5. They Don't Hydrate
"A lot of people don't think they need to drink water either beforehand or after," Amanda Margusity, senior lead instructor at CrankNYC, says in an interview with Romper." She explains that if you don't drink enough, your muscles can cramp up, which definitely won't make your ride any easier.
6. They Think They're Not Fit Enough
There's just something about working out in front of a room full of strangers that brings out some insecurities lurking deep within and it can make it so that you don't even want to try. "Anyone can hop on a bike and pedal at their own pace and do what they can and feel accomplished within the 45 minute class, for sure," Erin Moone, Del Carlo's StarCycle co-founder, tells Romper. "You’re on a bike at our studio in a dark room, so you can go at your own pace and you’re doing more than you would be doing had you not come." Basically, there's no required fitness level or body type to go for a spin.
7. They Go In With Expectations
Don't be so hard on yourself. As Southern California-based spinning instructor Karen DeMamiel tells Romper, do what you can that day and work up to something more. There's no need to feel overly intimidated when walking into a spin class.
8. They Wear The Wrong Size Shoes
Dalia Aliphas, a spinning instructor at Studio Velocity in Mexico City, tells Romper that choosing the right size shoes is key to your success. Don't stick with shoes that are too big or too small just because you're embarrassed to swap them for another pair. Just tell your instructor you need to switch.
9. They Eat Too Much Before Class
Eating too much before a spin class is a good way to make yourself feel sick throughout. DeMamiel suggests snacking on a banana or something else light so that you don't feel too weighed down for your ride.
10. They Skip The Warm Up Or The Cool Down
As most avid exercisers know, warm ups and cool downs are very important parts of workouts in order to tend to your muscles and take care of yourself. Hurrying out of a class to get back to work or go home before the cool down is complete is a big mistake, Aliphas says. Don't skip it or you may end up having to deal with an unfortunate injury later.
11. They Wear Shorts
"Do not wear shorts the first time, because of chafing," Margusity says. Because your body isn't used to the saddle yet, so you'll be in for a rough ride. Margusity recommends your favorite capris, a light tank top, and a supportive sports bra.