The first timers guide to cycling classes

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Sometimes I hate at the beginning of a spinning class when the instructors liiike,

“Hey raise your hand if your new here! Let’s give it up!”

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Everyone starts clapping. It’s nerve racking. There are things that no one told me, that I felt stupid for not knowing, and severely impacted the joy of my ride. The good news? After taking any spinning class after a couple of times you become accustomed to it, like riding a bike, literally.

Through a series of unfortunate, embarrassing events at spinning classes, I’m here to help you avoid them via the tips below. Once you get the hang of it (which doesn’t take long!) I’m hoping that you will LOVE these classes as much as I do.

If you are someone who loves to sweat, get lost in music and work hard, these classes will spice up your typical workout.

First things first.

Which studio should I pick?

FlyWheel I would highly recommend this studio and the Method class for first timers. The FlyWheel community is much less intimidating than SoulCycle and just feels really human when you’re in there. Take a glance around the classes to see who is booked most to find a good instructor. I have found that they can be hit or miss motivation and music wise.

Local Locations: NYC, Philadelphia          Favorite Philly Instructors: Jackie, Amandah P. 

SoulCycle is a studio where you need to be ready to work. If you cardio train regularly and are used to more intense workouts using your full body, this is the studio for you. For first timers, I recommend sitting in the second or third row. I personally don’t like themes, but if you see a themed ride (Britney Spears vs. Christina Aguilara) that sounds appealing to you – go for it!

Local Locations: NYC, Philadelphia          Favorite Philly Instructor: Bryant

Cyc is honestly my favorite. I miss it so much since moving to Philly. These classes are best for the wallet (lowest price at $22/one class) and lit the darkest. What does that mean for your first time? You don’t have to worry about being seen! For your best first class, make sure to pick an instructor that is a master cycologist. If you love to box, this is a great class for you. They incorporate it all with boxing beanies for the “arm” workout.

Local Locations: NYC          Favorite NYC Instructor: Christine Abramo

1. Be weary of signing up for classes that are more advanced. These types of class names for Flywheel are FlyWheel Tempo and FlyWheel Power. For SoulCycle, SoulActivate and SoulSurvivor. I am a regular cyclist who just back into Soul (was doing Flywheel and Cyc before in NY) and I signed up for SoulSurvivor not really understanding what it was…. Turns out it was an hour class rather than 45 min and a LOT more difficult. There are moves that take time to learn and your heart takes a while to get used to the elevated intensity. I had to leave this class half way because I felt myself about to pass out! I felt like Amy from I Feel Pretty as they fed me Fiji water and asked how I was doing…

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2. Rental shoes are only free your first time at SoulCycle. Every other time, they are $3.00. It’s bad for spinning shoes to be on regular flooring so it’s a good idea (you will look like you know what you are doing) if you put on your shoes right before entering the spinning room.

P.S. The average price for a good pair of spinning shoes should be around $75 – which might be a good investment if you plan on spinning 25+ classes. Currently on my Christmas list!

3. When you walk into the room, immediately grab one of the bike specialists (who are in yellow if your at Soul and black/blue if you’re at FlyWheel) and let them know it is your first time and you’ll need help setting up your bike.

Once they start going to town maneuvering and locking things in front of you, ask them how they are doing it.

You’ll learn that the saddle needs to be at hip height and your bike handlebars should be wherever comfortable. This will help you feel more confident next class when you can set up your bike on your own.

4. Locking in your shoes: the most INTIMIDATING piece of getting ready for class. It’s like skis. You need people to help you get down in the snow to lock your boot in the first couple of times, but then you start to get a feel for it and it suddenly clicks in perfectly at every new attempt. Sit on your saddle first before trying to clip in. Always do toe side down, glide into it forward with the top of your foot first, and really put your weight into it until you hear a click. The side of the pedal with the valley shape should be up.

5. As class begins, don’t worry about getting every move right. Everyone in the room was once in your spot feeling like they couldn’t get every push up or jump. The most important thing to remember is feel the beat first and then the moves will come more easily.

6. If you’re in soul cycle, your weights for arms are underneath your saddle. As I’m gasping to breathe after a set of jumps in my first soul cycle class a couple of years ago, every cyclist around me suddenly was moving small grey weights into the air as the song changed. Ummmmm…where did they get these magical weights appear out of thin air…? I figured I was supposed to magically know to grab them before class? The guy next to me gave me his seeing that I was so distraught. I felt so bad. They were under my saddle the whole time.

If you’re in Flywheel, they are in front of you under your handlebars.

7. Getting OUT of your shoes: Twist your heel to the outward of the bike and it should click out. Don’t be afraid to really put some OOMPH into it. If you can’t get it out for the stretch at the end, don’t even worry and just un- Velcro your foot out of the shoe and they can help you get it out later.

If you are like me, there will be so many moments that you’re like “This is #$%^&*@ hard.” Really hard. But then you get to the end, or an EDM song in between, where it feels euphoric. And suddenly your pushing yourself harder then you ever have before. And you notice a smile on your face and that your eyes are closed. And you feel the energy of everyone in the room. And then you’ll leave, knowing that you now love cycling.



The Sustennial

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