Newbie to Spin Class
June 5, 2011 7:34 PM   Subscribe

Recently discovered spinning and am LOVING it as a workout. Any long time spinners have any tips for success? How many times a week should a person spin? Does it really burn crazy amounts of calories? (130 pound woman) Any other info for the newbie? Thanks so much!
posted by Equiprimordial to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I think that three times a week is what is recommended. Back when I was doing it a lot I got up to seven times a week but that's just asking to crash and burn. At the most I wouldn't do more than four. If you are just starting out one or two a week is what I would recommend, to be increased later.

As far as calories go, it was absolutely the best thing ever for that. Do make sure to drink lots of water-that helps a bunch.

And if you don't already have one, do go and get a heart rate monitor.

Also, for the first 8 weeks I'd keep the heart rate down and maybe after that go for any interval rides. Of course this depends on your fitness level otherwise. Do make sure to fit in endurance rides-don't just do the climbs and the intervals.

Also I do recommend you do other fitness activities as well-In other words, cross training. It makes a difference.

(I was once certified to teach Spin altho I never went on to teach classes. )
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:13 PM on June 5, 2011

I discovered spinning a long time ago (we called it "riding exercise bikes" back in the early '90s), after my wife developed an eczema that kept her from swimming, which had been our major exercise up to that point. I still do it, except most of the time these days I do it outside on a bicycle. (From late fall to early spring, though, much of my time is indoors.)

If you begin to find that doing an indoor workout is getting tiresome, try going outside. Not only do you get to explore the area around you, but also, if you ride 10 miles away from home, you've got to do those 10 miles back, or call for someone to pick you up, which is a pretty big motivator to keep exercising. I also find that time spent outside seems much shorter than time spent inside. Friday I spent nearly 4 hours cycling and could have gone longer had time permitted; in contrast, I have done 90 minutes on my basement rollers but that was a real torment despite my iPod.

I don't want to diss indoor spinning; like I said, I do a lot of it when it's not fun to go outside. But if you find yourself getting bored indoors after a while, consider mixing up your routine with an outdoor ride.
posted by brianogilvie at 8:44 PM on June 5, 2011

I'm a complete spinning freak, I love it - I go 3 or 4 times a week, and one of my classes is 90 minutes. I've never gotten the slightest bit tired of it, and have never gotten injured or burned out, and I put that down to one thing: right from the beginning I gave myself permission to go at my own pace and to listen to my body. When I feel like going nuts, I go nuts, and when I feel like kicking back and listening to the music, that's what I do. For me, great teachers are key - motivational but not pushy or negative. If I feel uncomfortable, I just leave.
posted by facetious at 8:56 PM on June 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

According to this estimator spinning comes in at 413 calories/hour for a person of 130 lbs. That's serious exercise but not astronimical or anything. Running on a treadmill at a ten minute pace is 540 calories/hour, by way of comparison. A lot will depend on your pace.

Lots of amateur athletes in endurance sports train five or even six days a week, so you could work up to that if you want to.
posted by chrchr at 11:02 PM on June 5, 2011

I lost 40ish pounds over a year or so by spinning (and doing other exercise, too, but spinning was the major one) 3-4 times per week. Stopped spinning regularly; added some of that weight back on. Sigh.
Anyway, yeah, a good instructor is essential. I like the ass-kicking ones, and have left classes mid-spin when the instructor was too mild-mannered.
Water water water.
posted by Dr. Wu at 6:45 AM on June 6, 2011

brianogilvie, I think the OP is talking about spinning on a spinner bike with a weighted flywheel, not traditional exercise bikes. While biking is a great sport/activity, it would be hard to reach the intensity level of spin at any point in time on a traditional bike.

I love spinning and up until a few months ago (surgery for an unrelated issue, haven't made it back), I went 3-4 times a week. I definitely agree that good instructors are the main things to look for. I like instructors that are semi-motivational without being cheesy. The music is just as important as the instructor to me, though...I can tune out what the instructor is saying, I can't really ignore bad music. I really strongly dislike endurance rides, I know that they're important and all but I can't sit through them! My (University) gym does a week of endurance rides for the first week of the semester and I tend to just skip that week.

Also, get a padded bike seat cover! It sounds trivial, and your sit bones will adjust to the seat soon enough, but it has made my spin experience so much more pleasant. Your gym or wherever you are taking classes may have some so that you can try it out for a few classes.
posted by kro at 7:10 AM on June 6, 2011

Like St Alia, I did the instructor training, and the thing our (very good) instructor kept emphasizing is that most folks tend to overtrain. I would limit the spinning to 3x a week and mix it up with other classes, strength, or yoga on the other days. That, or take some spinning days as a challenge to Not get your heartrate up out of your aerobic zone, keeping it easy and light if you're going to do more than 3x a week.
posted by ldthomps at 9:40 AM on June 6, 2011

I love, love, love spinning, but was an overtraining casualty. I biked for a while, then was terribly lazy one winter, then jumped into spinning 4x a week to get back into shape for summer rides, and blammo did serious damage to my back and piriformis. There were other factors, but the spinning-without-properly-preparing-for-it was a big contributor.

So like everyone else I'd recommend starting with 2-3x a week, and taking it easy when you need to. Use your abs, don't rely just on your back, and be sure to stretch before and after class. I also found that bringing a little hand towel was helpful, as I could really work up a sweat and it was nice to have something with which to wipe it off.
posted by lillygog at 6:07 PM on June 7, 2011

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