Top 4 Indoor Cycling Mistakes
Indoor cycling has been popular for a while now. Some studios almost have a cult following. Local gyms usually have cycle classes, and with Peleton and other indoor bikes hitting the market, indoor cycling seems to be even more accessible.
If you casually pass by the open door of any cycle class pumping their music at full speed, you might be intimidated. People drenched in sweat, strange terms being shouted at you, and it looks really, really hard.
Rest assured, cycling is for everyone. You don’t have to be super fit or spray-tanned to enjoy a cycle class. But you should know a few things before you walk in the door.
Mistake 1: Coming on time to cycle class.
Wait, what? Isn’t coming on time good? Nope! Come about 10 minutes early for your first time. This will give you a chance to meet the instructor. Tell the instructor you’re new, and ask for a run-down of how the bike works. You should be familiar with how to increase and decrease tension on the flywheel, what the numbers mean on the computer console, and you should get a bike fit. Which leads me to mistake #2…
Mistake 2: Not getting a bike fit.
All indoor bikes are adjustable! This means you can tailor the fit to be comfortable. A good fit also helps prevent injury and gives you a more efficient pedal stroke. Any instructor should be able to set you up for a successful ride.
Mistake 3: Wearing the wrong shoes for cycle class.
You may (or may not) know that there are special cycling shoes. They have very stiff soles and have cleats that attach to the bike pedal, clicking you in for a secure pedal stroke. These shoes can be pricey, and you probably don’t want to buy them when it’s your first class and you’re not sure what indoor cycling is all about yet.
Many studios have options to rent shoes. If this is available, spend the extra few bucks. It’s totally worth it to protect your feet and have a great ride.
If you don’t have the option to wear cycling shoes, just wear an athletic shoe with a stiff sole. You don’t want your most flexible, squishy shoes. This can lead to foot fatigue and injury, as well as a poor pedal stroke.
Mistake 4: Following the workout exactly as the instructor says.
The beauty of indoor cycling is that all levels can ride at once in the same class. I’ve been in way too many cardio or strength classes where it’s embarrassingly obvious when I can’t keep up with the rest of the class. In cycling, it’s different. We’re all just riding on bikes that go nowhere. You can pedal as fast or slow as you need, and turn the resistance knob up or down as you need.
While it’s nice to stay with the class and follow the workout as much as possible (or else why are you there?), it’s definitely not necessary. You can opt to make the workout as easy as you need it to be, especially as a first timer. Just get to know the bike, experience the music, and try to pay attention to your own workout. Watch you breathing, heart rate, and try to adopt a smooth pedal stroke.
Most instructors are very accommodating and allow participants to work at their own pace. Some participants may have injuries or special training goals in mind. Everyone does what they need to help get them toward their individual goals. While a class is designed to be followed, if it’s going to hurt you or exhaust you, don’t feel obligated to follow every cue.
Don’t be intimidated—a good cycle class can provide a great workout, camaraderie, and lifelong fun.
Want more helpful tips? Check out Bike Shorts: Your Complete Guide to Indoor Cycling. A short, useful read that will set you up for cycling success! It was even featured in the Washington Post!
“This is a great overview of indoor cycling. It covers the most commonly asked questions and addresses the most common concerns a beginner has. This is well worth the read if you are about to start spinning!”
“This is a great book for beginners Short and to the point. Awesome tips and well written. I really enjoyed reading this book.”
~This is general information only and not personalized advice. Always ask your healthcare professional before undergoing any diet or lifestyle change.