Spin teacher Alexis Reed

5 Things to Know Before Taking Your First Spin Class

If you’re taking an indoor cycling class (aka spin class) for the very first time, there are some basic things I think you should know before you go.

I posted this Instagram Reel a little while ago, and I thought, what better way to share some of my expertise as an indoor cycling instructor than to turn this into a blog post?

If you’re taking an indoor cycling class (aka spin class) for the very first time, there are some basic things I think you should know before you go. I get a lot of questions from first-timers in my classes, as well as friends and family members who are interested in trying indoor cycling for the first time.

Just a quick point of clarification: I am a certified indoor cycling instructor. I am not a spin instructor, as this is a trademarked program through Mad Dogg Athletics. I’ve been certified through Schwinn and Indoor Cycling Group (ICG). Nonetheless, people often call indoor cycling class “spin class” much like people call facial tissues Kleenex or copy machines Xerox machines. Peloton isn’t too happy about the Mad Dogg trademark, but it is what it is!

Keep scrolling to learn more about the 5 things to know before you take your first indoor cycling class (aka spin class).

1. Do You Need Cleats or Can You Wear Regular Sneakers/Trainers?

Short answer: It depends.

I recommend calling the gym or studio before taking your first class and asking whether their bikes are clip-in or clipless. They can tell you whether the bikes or clip-in only, therefore requiring cleats, whether they have cages where you can slide in your sneakers, or whether they have both options. 

If they have clip-in pedals and you own cleats (perhaps you’re an outdoor cyclist), ask which types of cleats their pedals require. SPD cleats are the most popular in gyms and boutique studios, but not every stationary bike utilizes SPD cleats. 

If you’ve never taken a class, I don’t recommend buying cleats upfront. If they’re required for a class, those facilities typically will rent them out to you; however, I have to reiterate that you need to call in advance!

Once you’ve taken some classes and you decide that you love them and want to take them every week, I encourage you to invest in some indoor cycling cleats. My go-to cleats for when I teach are my TIEM cleats. Their recessed cleat makes it easy to go from the street to the studio. Take 10% off TIEM with the code LEX10.

Here are some gift ideas for your loved one who loves spin class!

2. Arrive Early!

I cannot estimate how many first-timers have taken my class and shown up after class already started – sometimes they show up well after the warm-up has ended! This is a surefire way to ensure that you don’t have an ideal first class. You may or may not be able to get set up correctly, you won’t be properly warmed up, and you may not even know what type of class you’re getting yourself into! 

Arriving early enables your teacher to help you get set up on the bike properly, explain the workout, and answer any questions you may have. It also helps with those first-time jitters. Trying a new workout for the first time can be very intimidating! I suggest arriving early for any first-time class or studio experience. 

3. Bring Water (and make sure you hydrate throughout the day!)

While it may get a little gross if you forget a towel, forgetting water is a major no-no! You are going to need to drink water, even if you only drink one sip at the end of class. Make sure that you bring water, regardless of whether the studio provides you with some (you may want to have an extra bottle during or after class). Equally – or perhaps more – important is that you’re drinking throughout the day. As I like to say, if you stay hydrated, you don’t have to get hydrated!

4. Sit Up Front

Unless it’s one of those cult-like boutiques (I’m not going to name any names), it’s best to sit up front if you’ve never tried the workout before. Most people like to hang in the back because they feel embarrassed and think that everyone is going to be looking at them, but I have a spoiler alert for you: Nobody cares what you’re doing! And if they care that much, there’s no way they’re working out properly themselves! Don’t you want to be able to see the instructor so that you can make sure you’re following their lead, as opposed to trying to follow the lead of someone else in the classroom who may or may not be doing things correctly themselves?

5. Have Fun!

As I often say, “it’s just spin class, people!” You’re riding a bike to nowhere. Lighten up a little, yeah?

Have you ever taken an indoor cycling class? Do you have questions about how to prepare for your first class, or how to make the most out of your indoor cycling class experience? I would love to hear your thoughts and questions. Please share them with me in the comments below!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *