Get PumpedMany classes will begin with the instructor visualizing a setting, such as a ride on the beach or up a mountain. "At our studio, we have a particular instructor who says at the start of class, 'Where will we be riding to today?' and participants will call out nearby cities," Bell says. "He will then set up the ride based on the route to the city so everyone can visualize it."
Other instructors will use visualization techniques based on the terrain such as "I can see the crest of the hill," "prepare for 12 switchbacks ahead" or "a cobblestone road is approaching--ride smooth."
The exciting environment of an indoor cycling class inspires motivation. From riding in a studio with black lights, a disco ball and party techno music playing to riding in a naturally lit room to the pounding beat of world music, indoor cycling offers a fun, lively atmosphere. "We often get an energetic group who will be so energized by the music that they'll yell out, 'Woohoo!' during class," Bell says. "Even the most reserved people will let go and have a blast!"
Finding the Right InstructorIf an instructor is trained properly, you will receive similar workouts at any Spinning? studio across the country. What differentiates the class is the instructor's coaching style. Some instructors will set up a visual or goal at the beginning of class, while others will coach throughout the entire class. As with any group fitness class, connecting with an instructor is key. If you don't respond to their coaching style, you won't stick with it, and consistency is the only way to succeed.
According to Bell, a good instructor will ask you about your goals, current fitness level and if you have any injuries or health problems. From these questions, they should explain how to modify your workout. "For example, a new person might tell me they've been doing Pilates for two years, but no cardio," Bell explains. "Since it's a completely different workout, I know they should stay in the saddle and not push themselves too hard to prevent burnout."
Gear 101For a beginner, a towel and a water bottle are the most important items to bring to class (you will sweat a lot!). A towel is essential to dry your face, hands and handlebars during an intense workout. Bell recommends bringing at least 40 ounces of water per class.
As for apparel, you will need a moisture-wicking top, preferably sleeveless, moisture-wicking shorts and running shoes. Once you fall in love with indoor cycling, investing in special cycling shoes that clip into the bike's pedals will add a new dimension to your rides. These shoes help your feet stay in proper position and provide a smoother pedal stroke with greater engagement of your leg muscles. Also, padded cycling shorts or an inexpensive gel seat will increase your comfort.
Helen M. Ryan is a freelance writer and certified fitness professional who enjoys helping people grow and improve. Follow her on Twitter @aspinchick.
Spinning? is an indoor cycling program created by Mad Dogg Athletics, Inc.