My first Spin Class tonight …will I die?

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  • My first Spin Class tonight …will I die?
  • bigbadbob

    Could someone please help me with the Spin Class etiquette, as I have no idea. Are cycle shorts OK? Can I take my Garmin? Will I need my Camelbak?
    Please, what are the do’s and don’ts of the Spin Class.


    Most people will be in usual gym wear with trainers. No issue with cycling shorts – apart from the usual ones relating to dignity which we all face – and I’d probably go with a big bottle of water rather than a camelbak. Take a towel too because you’ll sweat like a shire horse’s knackers.

    You can adjust your own resistance, but if you push as hard as you should it will burn. Lots of people cheat and use low resistance, although there really isn’t much point in that.

    Take it as what it is – which isn’t much like outdoor cycling or turbo training – and you’ll be fine.


    Cycle shorts are fine. You can take your Garmin, but I don’t see the point given you won’t be able to use it for cadence or power (i don’t think anyway, happy to be corrected)

    I’d take a water bottle (or two) over a camelback. It get’s very, very sweaty so don’t layer up!

    I’ve seen some bring their own cleats and clip in, though it always looks a faff so I wouldn’t bother.

    Also, you don’t need a helmet!

    Take a sweat towel and a bottle of water, never seen anyone with a camelbak. Make sure you;re hydrated and drink a pint of water before you go in, however many fans there are you will get very sweaty.

    Cycling kit is fine although I prefered a wicking t-shirt as it flapped arround a bit to keep some air circulating rather than a tight top. Pedals are usualy shimano SPD one side, toe straps the other.

    I suppose a garmin would be OK for recording HR if you’re bothered, I had a cheep £20 HRM for gym stuff as most machines work on the cheeper open signal rather than the encoded ones (apart form concept 2 rowers, which are ant+).

    If the instructor insists on doing anything other than pedaling (like shaking the bars, wtf?) then find a better gym.


    As above, water bottle, towel. It gets very hot so I just wear my lightest running top and gym shorts, some wear cycling shorts, the girls all wear lycra. The bikes we use have spd cleats on one side of the pedals, but I don’t bother, mainly because my shoes tend to be covered in crud.

    In terms of the class, make sure you pace yourself sensibly for the first one until you get an idea of the routine. After that aim to really push as hard as you can, it’s supposed to be a high intensity, quality, interval type training (assuming you don’t have any health issues, if you keel over clutching your chest, don’t blame me)


    In my experience, most of the spin instructors dont have a clue about cycling and you end up doing all this arm pumping rubbish and other movements. As per previous thread, wtf point in that? The instructors wont like you but though, you are the paying customer. I once had an argument with one instructor who said I didnt know what I was doing. I asked him if he rode a bike at all, to which he replied “no”. Exactly I said. I didnt say anything else and walked out. Kept going back though, he didnt like me after that 😆

    My advice is treat this as if you were riding your bike, set yourself some sensible hard cadence for climbing and sprinting (I disagree with the previous comment, no point having your resistance turned all the way down or all the way up), wear a HRM if you have one so that you can work within a sensible range and get the most out of your session.

    Oh yes, you will sweat a lot and drink a lot but thats part of the fun.
    Ignore what everyone else is doing as well as most of those havent got a clue about how to ride a bike properly either 😯

    And get there 5 minutes early to set the bike up proerly before the warm up starts.

    Premier Icon ricardo666

    Also take your own thrash metal compilation mp3 player, they normally have some horrid dance music full belt.


    Phil, fortunately none of that arm pumping nonsense where I go.

    I think the design of the class would seem to be hard intervals, very intense segments of varying length with periods of recovery and the way to do that is increasing load and mainting leg speed, increasing legspeed at a set load or really whacking on load and dropping legspeed all achieve elevated heart rate but work muscles differently.

    It isn’t training to ride a bike as such, it is fitness training on an exercise bike, the “hill sections” are nothing like riding a hill, the nearest thing is perhaps pushing a progressively bigger gear maybe or maybe not.

    On a real bike I rarely stand on climbs, preferring seated higher cadence, unless it. s very steep of technical. But in class it’s just another way of working the leg muscles hard to get the heart rate right up so I tend to just do as I’m told and just treat it as a short hard cardio session


    Olddog, but the risks of all you say is that you end up with your heart doing silly (potentially dangerous things) thats why a HRM is so useful. If you go too high then you are working outside of your aerobic zone and wont get the maximum benefit out of the class. It would be interesting to hear anyone with a medical perspective on this as this is my opinion, based on what I know about exercise. Happy to stand corrected.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore

    Have fun – they are excellent exercise classes

    – no harm in lycra in fact I find the padding helpful
    – if you have then use spds – more efficient etc, but dont take look cleats etc! Be a proper MTB and have them extra muddy!! Dont do roadie mistake of taking look cleats – this happens more than you would think
    – HRM is a good idea to monitor your own intensity – focus on yourself not the others
    – wear light tops
    – as above, just ignore silly bits (arms, jumps off low resistance) and just spin hard during those bits
    – dont take a camelback (unless 1/4/2013) but do take a bottle of water
    – you will/should sweat buckets so dont forget the towel
    – enjoy!


    get as close as possible to a fan, it gets hot.

    Premier Icon njee20

    Olddog, but the risks of all you say is that you end up with your heart doing silly (potentially dangerous things)

    Rubbish! If you have an underlying heart condition perhaps, but then any strenuous exercise is a bad idea.

    Your heart won’t explode because you’re in a gym rather than outside on a real bike!

    Agree with the ‘ignore anything that’s not pedalling’. I’d also avoid trying to be a sanctimonious “I know more about cycling than you” tosser. Just go with it, if you don’t like it, don’t go back, don’t tell the instructor they’re wrong.

    The thing I found was that most of the punters were daintily spinning along, glowing slightly, whilst I was a sweating panting mess. But I was getting more out of it!


    Phil, I know what you mean. I am pretty fit so I know what I’m able to peak at or maintain over what period, and it’s pretty hilly where I live so I am not unused to eyeball popping climbs!. The short interval training stuff is pretty popular at the moment and there is some much quoted research about the benefits of short bursts of anaerobic exercise. But then there is always research….

    But I do worry about someone going along who is less used to exercise, turns up to a class, gets all macho and then drops off the bike half way through. Obviously as everyone controls their own load and it is impossible to tell how high it is then the amount of effort is in their own gift, but if you’re an alpha type and the instructor is egging on…

    I too would be interested in an informed view on this, and more generally whether there is evidence of people keeling over in exercise classes throygh over ambition.

    I too would be interested in an informed view on this, and more generally whether there is evidence of people keeling over in exercise classes throygh over ambition.


    But surely it’s fairly self limiting, if you push yourself to the point of passing out on a turbo trainer then you just pass out, the heart keeps pumping and eventualy the oxygen gets back to where it should be (your brain). Passing out isn’t your heart packing up it’s your brain being starved of oxygen, which causes you to pass out and fall onto the floor, which makes it easy to get blood back into your head, it’s a natural mechanism.

    Spin classes are (should be) tough. The people who sit there chatting away to each other throughout the class might as well as save themselves the fee and just sit in the cafe…

    Bring the right attitude – be prepared to go hard and keep it up there. Fantastic results if you stick with it!



    “And get there 5 minutes early to set the bike up proerly before the warm up starts.”

    And to get a bike at the back … 😉


    No, you won’t die, but you might feel like you are.

    Don’t do what I did first time trying to set the resistance to something that feels more like a bike. The following rises in resistance during the session made it extra tough.


    Personally I would just listen to the instructor and follow his or her directions, granted they might not be the best bicyclist in the world but they will have been trained in leading spin classes which is what the class is all about. I think there is a little too much emphasis placed on trying to make them actual bike emulation rather than a cardio workout based around a static bike.

    Give the same class two or three go’s, you will tune in to each instructors mannerisms and method of class delivery which will also help the overall experience. As everybody else has suggested, take a bottle of water, SPD’s if you can, don’t try and freewheel and a towel or a large handful of paper towel is also quite handy.

    Premier Icon Onzadog

    Will I die? No, but if you do it properly, you’ll want to.


    I go at the front so everyone has a good view of my finely toned legs and huge a*** 😀


    +1 on getting there early and setting the bike up right.
    +lots on don’t forget your towel

    Bit of a cliche, but if it doesn’t hurt like hell you’re not trying hard enough, I also used to be the only one mopping puddles of sweat from the floor before hobbling out!

    And to get a bike at the back …

    From where you should yell “STRAAAAAAVA!” at the top of your voice. 🙂

    Premier Icon D0NK

    Mrs has started doing spin classes, she wouldn’t been seen dead on a bike so in the past has looked at me with a blank face when I tell her about trying to climb walna scar and the like. Now she’s coming back from the gym talking having to concentrate 100% on just breathing, impending heart attack and burning thighs. Yep now imagine that with fore/aft movement to maintain traction and steering and riding up and over steps and stuff. tricky eh?

    As others have said v sweaty, cycle shorts a good idea something over the top at your discretion, spds if you do that sorta thing, water bottle, suffer (according to what mrs says, I’m tempted to give them a go but haven’t bothered yet, I own a commuting bike, so don’t need a gym membership 😉 )

    Premier Icon cookeaa

    Same as other have said, take water and a towel, cycling shorts might make it more comfy but I’ve tended to put normal shorts over them as they’re not “Normal” gym attire…

    I’ve clipped in before and it’s fine but most don’t bother.

    I actually prefer the friction belt flywheel spinning bikes but remember you are essentially on a static fixie with a flywheel, don’t just stop pedaling, slow down and use the resistance to stop the wheel if you need.

    Oh and warm up / down properly, a good instructor will open and close with some stretches and tell you how to set the bike up…

    Have fun…


    To take your mind of the pain,position yourself so that you have something nice to look at . 🙂


    Water bottle, towel, bag to be sick in – all essential in my experience

    Cycle shorts – acceptable, but not your white skin suit

    Your own pedals & SPD shoes? I’ve seen it done, but you’ll need a pedal spanner and a gym willing to let you get your hands on their spin bikes unless they have the single sided spd / flat pedals.

    I do 2 a week and I changed classes as the first teacher wasn’t a cyclist, where as at the classes now, the two teachers are, more like triathletes. I have had 2 hours endurance on a velodrome and still don’t sweat as much as the 45 min class. A water bottle and a towel. I wear bibshorts under running shorts and a lightweight wicking top rather than a cycling top. The bikes are complatibke with shimano spds or there are toestraps on other side of pedals. Get there early and get warmed up. I bought a pair a spin shoes that have a stiffer sole than trainers, as my bike shoes have look and crank bros cleats.

    Enjoy and depending on what the rest of class look like, you may want to sit at back and admire the view 😉


    err Njee20

    Olddog, but the risks of all you say is that you end up with your heart doing silly (potentially dangerous things

    Rubbish! If you have an underlying heart condition perhaps, but then any strenuous exercise is a bad idea.

    Not rubbish, your heart is not designed to do certain things.
    Running your heart rate at max for your age is dangerous, esp. if its not used to it.


    I’d also avoid trying to be a sanctimonious

    I wasnt being sanctimonious at all. I was there for a good workout and he didnt like the fact that I ignored his routine (silly pushes etc.) – he didnt even look at what I was doing. All I got was “do you know how long it took me to set up this routine, blah, blah, Ive got a qualification in sports science, blah, blah. His attitude stunk.


    You guys are all way to nice, if I read this earlier he would have shown up with a bib, camelbak, helmet and sunglasses.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore

    😀 😀

    That is a great image.

    Premier Icon chorlton

    You guys are all way to nice, if I read this earlier he would have shown up with a bib, camelbak, helmet and sunglasses.


    Actually I have a D2 Carbon helmet. Well I didn’t die, dually thanks to the comments on here. The class was very good, the instructor didn’t have us doing stupid stuff, the crank arms were much shorter than on my bike, so I felt I was riding a kids bike, but all in all, I sweated a small child out, but did enjoy it, even with getting cramp half an hour into the 45 minutes class. But I battled on. And yes, there were people there that did not break sweat.
    Thanks for all the comments folks.

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