YOUR IN-THE-GYM-STYLE: You’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is…more spin class. Indoor cycling (or Spinning®, the brand name of this workout) is one of the best low-impact yet high-intensity workouts you can fit into your day: it burns major calories (up to 1,000 in an hour depending on height and weight), strengthens muscles, joints, and ligaments alike (it’s one of the first exercises given the green light by doctors to patients recovering from knee surgery), and is as customizable as it gets (your workout is controlled by a little red resistance knob, meaning you get to adjust your intensity based on how you feel). Couple that with motivating, innovative instructors and playlists that make you want to move – and you’ve got yourself your newest addiction.
WHAT YOU NEED IN YOUR BAG: High energy and high intensity call for the most functional gear you can get. Maybe you find yourself in a cycling studio at least once a week and have developed quite the love affair with this heart-pumping, music-bumping workout. Maybe you’ve heard rave reviews and are eager to see what all the fuss is about. Maybe you’re even a little timid, yet getting all your gear in order could help you build the confidence you need to step into your first class. Wherever you fall on the spin spectrum, here are 13 essentials you’ll want to have on hand as you hop on your bike-that-goes-nowhere…
13 Essentials For A Spin Class Superstar
A sleek and chic gym tote
You, spin class superstar, do not need to worry about bulky mats or tons of gadgets – so opt for a medium-sized tote bag that can help you carry your spin-cessories in style. Luckily, the new wave of fashion-forward fitnesswear that’s hitting stores has churned out a slew of chic gym totes, like the LeSportsac Jetsetter, that we’d gladly sport long after we’re through with spin class.
If you’ve fallen in love with your spin class, then investing in a pair of cycling shoes should be first on your to-do list. These shoes are specifically designed to keep you safe and secure in your bike so you can get your best class ever, every single time. We always have our Shimano shoes on hand for those spur-of-the-moment cycle urges, with either Look or SPD cleats that fit directly into your spin bike’s pedals. If you’re just trying out indoor cycling for the first time and don’t want to invest quite yet, make sure you wear hard-soled shoes and ask your instructor to help you fit “cages” onto your bike’s pedals. Those adorable barefoot running shoes will have to sit this one out – not enough support and too much flexibility in the sole can lead to injury.
New to the world of spinning and nervous that you’ll end up sore, um, down there? Tote along a padded seat in your gym bag to slip over the saddle once you’re ready to ride. Keep in mind that while everyone experiences a bit of discomfort after their first class (it can take a while to get used to the positioning), it should never hurt during your ride.
A light pullover
Often times (especially in the early morning and afternoon), the spin studio will be a bit chilly when you first walk in. Don’t worry, you’ll warm up soon enough. But until then, keep a light pullover handy – one you can easily slip off post-warm up with no fuss. (We’re lusting over this cropped cutout sweatshirt from Karma!)
A top with coverage
In an indoor cycling class, you’re slightly hinging at the hip and leaning over (with a neutral spine, of course!) the entire class – the last thing you want is a low-cut top cramping your style. Opt for a sports bra or top with medium support and maximum coverage, like the Nike Pro Hypercool, so all you have to worry about is what to put in your green smoothie after class.
Those short-shorts might look super cute in your hot yoga class or our on a jog, but you’ll want to keep them away from the spin room…just trust us on this one. If you’re set on showing a little skin, opt for compression-fit gear (and a padded bottom if you’re worried about comfort levels – Lululemon makes a great pair!) – otherwise, make sure you stick to tight-fitting, moisture wicking capris or leggings like the kind used in these on-trend leggings by Michi.
You should never be putting your weight into the handlebars during an indoor cycling class, but sometimes that can take a bit of getting used to. For maximum comfort and a little bit of extra traction (it can get sweaty on your bike!), reach for a pair of padded gloves like the ones from Pearl Izumi, which also deliver a skin-cooling effect that’s definitely welcome during 45 minutes of spin bliss!
Hair bands or pins
While indoor cycling is a low-imact activity, you’ll still be moving around in and out of the saddle – and get plenty sweaty. Be sure to secure your hair with some cute, no-snag hair bands and pin your bangs away from your face. Need some inspiration to take your gym coif up a notch? Steal one of our fave workout updos the next time you strap on your spin shoes.
You’ll be sweating a lot, which means you’ll need to stay hydrated. We love bringing Pressed Juicery’s Chlorophyll Water into class with us, since the little green molecule helps detox the bloodstream and bring much-needed oxygen to your hardworking cells.
Don’t let slippery, sweaty handlebars cramp your style! Lay a mid-sized towel over your bike’s handlebars to keep your hands in place and help you stay dry (or at least dry-ish) during your class. Make sure your towel is long enough to cover the entire handlebars’ length, but short enough that it doesn’t get in your way!
No matter your fitness level, indoor cycling brings out your inner athlete – so you’re going to want to refuel like one. Stick a Picky Bar in your gym bag for after your workout: these delicious bars were formulated by athletes, for athletes, so you know they’re the real deal. Not only do they contain only the finest gluten free, vegan ingredients, they boast a 4:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio, which is considered the ideal ratio for endurance energy and rapid recovery. And balanced macros equal a balanced bod!
A guest pass
Group exercise can be intimidating if you don’t know anyone, and can be easy to brush off if you don’t have anyone helping to keep you accountable. Most gyms (like Equinox) and boutique studios (like SoulCycle or Cycle House) offer free one-day guest passes to their members, or a discounted rate for first-timers. Ask your instructor or the front desk to provide you with a guest pass, and bring along a friend to your next class. Who knows? You might just gain a new workout buddy.
Your own bike
Okay…so this technically will not fit into your gym bag. But for the gal who prefers her own home workout to a group environment, this is the ultimate home gym staple. Our favorite bike that goes nowhere? The Schwinn A.C. Performance Plus – sleek design and top-notch functionality makes Schwinn the best of the best.