Spinning classes and indoor cycling classes have become extremely popular in the last ten years or so, and are now widely available when you sign up to a new gym.
These classes are really intense because as well as cycling in a seated position, they also include a combination of sprints and climbs in both a seated and standing position to pump your heart rate and really work your leg muscles.
Subsequently this form of exercise is great for toning, fitness and weight loss, but to get the most out of your workouts, it is important to wear the right gear and be fully prepared before each class.
So here are some of the essentials that you need for a comfortable and enjoyable workout:
Cycling at high intensity on an exercise bike for 45-60 minutes is going to make you sweat a lot, even in a really cool air-conditioned studio. So ideally you want to wear a t-shirt or tank top that is relatively thin and sweat-resistant to keep you cool and dry. Furthermore you want to wear a top that is neither too tight or too loose.
Padded Cycling Shorts
Moisture-wicking shorts (and leggings for women) are perfectly acceptable to wear to an indoor cycling class. However if you want to avoid any chafing or discomfort, which is surprisingly common during one of these vigorous classes, you should seriously consider buying yourself a pair of padded cycling shorts because these will be a lot more comfortable.
You can easily get away with wearing a standard pair of trainers or running shoes to one of these classes, but cycling shoes are a lot more beneficial because they are a lot lighter for a start. Plus they also allow your feet to breathe, and give you more power and muscle balance to drive through the pedals because they can be clipped on to the actual pedals with the use of cleats to prevent them from slipping.
You may well find that many spin classes will provide towels free of charge, but it is always a good idea to take your own towel anyway just in case they don’t supply them themselves. As I have already mentioned, these spin classes are really intense and you will sweat throughout your workout because of the sheer effort that you are putting in, so you really need to keep a towel nearby to mop your brow and avoid dripping sweat all over your exercise bike.
As with all cardio exercises, it is imperative that you drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated throughout your workout. Some people find that one bottle is enough, but it is generally best to take a couple of bottles or at least refill your bottle during any rest periods if you can. You may also want to consider taking some electrolyte tablets because these will help to replace any lost body salts and improve your performance.
In addition to the items listed above, here are some optional extras that you might want to consider using as well:
Gel Seat Cover
Cycling shorts can really help to prevent chafing, but another good option is to buy your own gel seat cover and take it along to your next indoor cycling class. These can easily be fitted over the top of many bicycle saddles and will make your workouts so much more comfortable.
Wearable Fitness Tracker
Some people are happy just to get through to the end of each class, but if you really want to keep motivated, it is a good idea to invest in a good quality fitness tracker that you can attach to your body. That’s because these will display some useful data such as the number of calories you have burned, the number of steps / revolutions, how much distance you have covered and the extremes of your pulse rate, for instance.
Heart Rate Monitor
If you don’t want to pay for a fully functioning fitness tracker, you might instead prefer to buy a standard heart rate monitor because these are generally a lot cheaper, but will still give you some useful information about your heart rate throughout each workout.
As well as consuming plenty of water during and after your workout, you might like to take a whey protein shake after you have completed your class as well because this will prevent muscle loss and help them to recover. However this isn’t really that important when you are doing this form of exercise, particularly if you eat a high protein diet anyway, because your leg muscles will generally recover fairly quickly anyway.