How to Get the Most Out of Your Indoor Cycling Class [Q&A with a SoulCycle Instructor]
“Get ready for a hill!”
“Add a gear!”
If these words mean nothing to you, then you’ve probably never taken an indoor cycling class.
While indoor cycling, or spinning, has been around for a while, it has been experiencing a resurgence in recent years. This resurgence is thanks to boutique studios taking advantage of technology, the desire for personal instruction, and the fact that you can burn up to 600 calories in one class.
Whether you’ve been cycling since the 90s or were born in the 90s, everyone can find ways to improve– which is why we sat down with a SoulCycle instructor– to ask them why, when, and how to step up the sweat game. Let’s get to it.
KA: First off, how did you get into indoor cycling?
BD: I was invited to my first class two years ago, and at first, it was a world I never thought I could fit into. But once I took their classes I thought, anyone could fit into this. Before trying a class, I had never enjoyed working out.
KA: Why do you enjoy indoor cycling?
BD: I enjoy it because it’s a way for me to disconnect and reset myself. There’s nothing to worry about when you’re in the room. You get taken away by the music. Some days you push yourself to the limit, others you can just be in the room and feel the energy.
KA: As someone who cycles a lot, how do you prepare for class?
BD: I prepare two ways: physically and mentally. Physically, I always prepare with three things: Coffee, banana, and yogurt. Oh, and water! I try to drink half a water jug before I even get to class to make sure I’m hydrated.
The mentality is just as important. I find it best to ditch any expectations I have for the class before I go in. That way I’m open and can adapt to what happens in the studio.
KA: For so many, spinning is all about burning calories. What are some ways people can burn more during class?
BD: Resistance, Resistance, Resistance. No matter how fast you pedal, if your resistance is low, you won’t burn as many calories (even if you’re sweating). Also, learning what parts of your body to engage. Throughout the class, your abs and glutes should be engaged, even during “rests.” If you can think about those two things, you’ll burn more calories.
KA: I’m reaching the end of my limit, but need to push through. What’s your advice for me?
BD: I would challenge you to revisit your personal why. Why did you come to class today? Focusing on that is the only way to push through a particularly tough climb.
A favorite mantra of mine is from another SoulCycle instructor: “You can struggle, but you can’t quit.”
KA: Do you recommend pairing indoor cycling with another form of exercise? What’s the best and why?
Yes! Spinning pairs well with anything, but my favorites are strength training, body weight workouts, and yoga. Anything off a machine that will increase your strength and mobility.
KA: What’s the most effective way to cool down?
BD: Foam rolling. Everyone should invest in a foam roller and roll after class when you’re still warm. It will save your life.
KA: What words of encouragement do you have for beginners?
BD: I would tell them that no class is a bad class. Showing up and trying your hardest is the first step. Don’t compare yourself to other rides when you’re in the room; you’re in there for yourself. You have to start somewhere.
For those who haven’t experienced the intensity of an indoor cycling class, we challenge you! Few fitness classes have kicked our butts and made us question our life’s decisions as much as cycling. Browse Vitamin World for supplements, protein, and workout recovery!
Vitamin World does not endorse or recommend any products or services from SoulCycle.
Kelsey is a Midwesterner at heart who currently lives in Denver, Colorado. She loves hiking, running, dancing, vegetarian cooking, and writing in her spare time.