TIPS FOR SURVIVING YOUR FIRST CYCLING CLASS

I was at cycling class this past week and there were a couple people in there that I didn’t recognize. I’ve only been going there for a few months and I took a little break when I was really trying to get back into running so it’s no shock to me that there are people I’ve never seen before. I’m sure they’re thinking the same about me. haha!

Anyway, it got me to thinking about my very first cycling class and how scared I was walking in the room.¬†I’d never taken any type of class like that and I didn’t know what to expect. I also didn’t know what the “rules” were and I was afraid of taking someone’s bike. lol

I mean, we’re human and we tend to be creatures of habit so…. I don’t know about you but I pretty much get on the same bike each class and it throws me off a little when I get there and someone has taken it already. Especially since I’m always SO early!! haha!

But, there are things you can do to help you make it through your first class without passing out from nerves and maybe even having some fun. ūüôā

I was at cycling class this past week and there were a couple people in there that I didn't recognize. I've only been going there for a few months and I took a little break when I was really trying to get back into running so it's no shock to me that there are people I've never seen before. I'm sure they're thinking the same about me. haha!

1. SHOW UP EARLY

I’m an early bird. I can’t help it. If I’m 15 minutes early, I darn near feel late and it stresses me out. You may not be that way and that’s fine. I don’t understand how you can do it but that’s also fine. haha

Anyway, showing up early to your very first class where equipment is involved is a great idea because it gives you time to find and then survey the room, decide where you will be most comfortable, and you can stake your claim on a bike. Plus, for me, it makes me feel a little more confident to not have to walk into a room that’s already full of people, especially when I don’t know what I’m doing.

The early bird gets the worm! And the bike that they want in cycling class! Tips on surviving your first class. #sweatpink #fitfluential Click To Tweet

2. ASK FOR HELP SETTING UP YOUR BIKE

Don’t be shy. I’m totally shy. But, you can’t just hop on a stationary bike and expect it to be at the right settings for you. If that happens, go buy a lottery ticket. #justsayin Anyhoo, you want to get the most out of the class and not having your bike set up right is going to prevent that. It might even get you injured!

Now, you could do what I did and just watch people and start fiddling with the bike until someone asks you if this is your first class. Then, you can say YES, PLEASE HELP ME in a squeaky voice because you’re so nervous. ¬†(Oh wait, is that just me? Moving on….)¬†OR,¬†you can stand at your bike and when you see someone confidently adjusting their bike like they know what they are doing, you can say, hey, I’m new. How do I set this thing up? Of course, you can always wait for the instructor but … if your instructor is one of those people who runs in at the last second, there’s no time for that. *sigh*

What, in all likelihood, will happen is that someone is going to recognize you as new and probably speak up because they remember how uncomfortable their first class was and they just like to help people. I usually call that person MOM. haha

3. EAT SOMETHING BEFORE YOU GO 

Unless you’re experienced in fasted cardio (which you probably shouldn’t be doing if you’re new to working out), you’re going to want to eat something about an hour before class. Because, you don’t want to pass out. I can’t imagine that falling off the bike feels good.

Now, if you’re taking a 30 minute class, you’ll obviously want to eat less than you would for an hour class. Let me tell you, an hour on the bike is no joke. I normally get anywhere from 20-25 miles and that usually involves hill climbs and sprints. Not something you can go into without fueling your body first. The class I take starts at 9:30 – I normally eat around 8 and it’s usually a bowl of oats topped with some fruit and nuts or nut butter. Because … nut butter. *swoon* ¬†You have to figure out what works for you and what your body needs but I would aim for 150 to 200 calories or so. I strength train after cycle class so take in more than that.

4. BRING A TOWEL

Trust me. Unless you don’t sweat (what’s wrong with you?!?!?!?), you’re going to sweat buckets. One of the best things about those “rest breaks” is wiping your forehead with a towel.

5. BRING WATER

Okay, this may seem like “duh” but seriously, I have seen people walk into a gym for their very first CrossFit workout withOUT a bottle of water in their hands. Um…..yeah, you’re gonna want to hydrate. You know, I would go so far as to say start hydrating before you come to class. In fact, why don’t you just go ahead and make regularly drinking water a part of your life. Your body needs it anyway. I routinely go through close to 24 ounces of water during my hour-long cycle class.

Considering taking your first cycling class? Check out these tips to make it awesome! #sweatpink #fitfluential Click To Tweet

6. HAVE FUN!

Don’t stress about being a “first timer!” Everyone has to start somewhere and no one is expecting you to put that resistance on the highest setting and cycle like it’s nothing or your life depended on it. Even I don’t do that. Your instructor will give intensity or resistance “ranges” and really, those are just guidelines. ¬†If you can bump up the resistance to that range, cool. If you have to keep it low because you just can’t even, that’s cool too. You don’t want to work outside your capabilities – that makes it really hard and really NOT fun. And trust me, there are days when I’m in class and Mary (my fave instructor!) says “bump up that resistance to 16!” and my legs say, “how about 14? 15 tops?” ¬†LOL

With cycling, you definitely reap rewards when you push yourself outside of your comfort zone but pushing yourself outside your capabilities is not going to benefit you in the least. In fact, you might get injured and that’s not the idea. Go easy in your first class. See how it feels, see how you feel, check in with your body and pay attention – you’ll know if you can do more or if you need to scale back. I promise you, no one is going to walk over and look at your cycle and say, “oh, slacking are we?” ¬†And if they do, I hereby give you permission to punch them in the face for being a jerk. Okay, really, don’t do that. You don’t need assault charges. But seriously, you’re there to have fun and get a good workout.

Tell me:

  • Do you have anything that you would add to this list?
  • Do you take cycling/spin classes?

7 COMMENTS

  1. San | 17th Jan 18

    I’ve always wanted to try a cycling class, but have shied away from it because I didn’t want to be the newbie… thanks for those tips.

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer | 20th Jan 18

      You’re welcome! <3 I still get nervous/uncomfortable when I walk into the class every now and then, especially when I see a new person (I'm shy. I can't help it. lol) but knowing what I need to do keeps me occupied and calms me down. Now go take a cycling class! They're fun!

  2. Chelsea Stockdale | 17th Jan 18

    Okay, I’m signed up for y first ever spin class this Friday morning (at 6AM! Yikes!) and I so needed to read this post! These are all such great tips!

    One question I do have–what shoes do I wear? I have a road bike but I’ve never been advanced enough to clip in, and I see tons of people who take spin that wear the clip in shoes. I don’t have any yet, so will I look crazy for wearing my cross training shoes??

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer | 17th Jan 18

      Yay!!! I hope you love it!! The early classes tend to be fun because everyone is already a little crazy for getting up that early. ūüėā As for shoes, I just wear my cross training shoes. Nobody has ever questioned it or said anything about it. In fact, I think only 2 in my class clip in but they cycle outdoors all the time!

      I’d love to hear how you like it! Fingers crossed for a fun playlist! ūü§ě

  3. Nic | 15th Jan 18

    Awesome tips! I’m more into outdoor cycling but when I do venture indoors – setting up the bike properly, drinking all the water, and sweat wiping are so necessary!

  4. kookyrunner | 15th Jan 18

    These are all great tips. I used to teach a spinning class a few years ago and I always stressed the importance of getting to class 5-10 minutes early, especially if you were new to spinning. Taking that time to set up the bike properly is key!

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer | 15th Jan 18

      Thank you, Kim! <3 I didn't know you used to teach spinning! My teacher is so energizing that sometimes I think I want to teach spin. No, I don't. haha IDK, maybe it would be fun!

      And yeah, getting that bike set up properly is so important! I've had the handlebars drop on me once mid-class because I rushed through set-up and didn't have it tightened down. I guess it's a good think it wasn't the seat!! Definitely makes me happy I'm an early bird so I have the time to set it up and get an additional warm-up in. It's always so cold in that room!

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