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Four things you should know before your first spin class

Emily Simpson

The wheels may not be the only thing spinning in your first spin class – the intensity of the workout may get your head whirling and your heart racing.

But that’s the beauty of it! A few day’s worth of hard exercise can be compacted into a 45-minute RPM class, making it an extremely worthwhile option if you’re interested in exercising efficiently.

So what is it? RPM, or ‘spin’ as a lot of people refer to it, is an indoor cycling workout which simulates a cycling experience by incorporating hills, flats and sprints – all with fun music pumping in the background. It’s an excellent low impact way of developing your cardio fitness. It is challenging you can easily track your progress, which leads to a sense of personal achievement.

If you’re off to your first spin class, here are five things to know before you enter the room (with fresh, non-wobbly legs).


Yep, you guessed it – you’ll probably leave the room with wobbly legs and general feeling of SORE. This soreness may not be contained to the quads (which do most of the work during cycling), either. If you don’t have your seat properly adjusted to suit your height, you may leave the room with a sore crotch (and walking with your feet stepping that little bit wider). Yikes! If you don’t know how to adjust your seat, don’t hesitate to ask the instructor – no matter now intimidating they look in their Lycra and cleats.


Yes, the Lycra-clad instructor will probably be pretty serious about cycling and getting results – but that’s a good thing! If you don’t have someone there pushing you to work harder, you may succumb to the temptation of setting the bike at minimum resistance, which generally means minimum results. The instructor will likely remind you of this throughout the class, so be prepared for that!


It will be painful, and you will definitely want to turn the bike to the minimum setting and pretend you’re on a casual cycle to the shops. However, by doing that, you’re shortchanging yourself and sacrificing your progress. You will probably regret not pushing yourself after the class, and regret spending money on something you could’ve done for free on your commuter bike (RPM classes generally cost between $12 and $15 if you’re paying for them individually). One of the best things about a spin class is that you’re in control of the resistance – so make sure you’re setting it to a difficulty that’s challenging but achievable for your fitness level.


Enjoy it! While spin classes can be difficult and uncomfortable, there’s plenty to love about them. The atmosphere is usually made electric by the up-beat music, the unison in movement between the members of the class, and the pure enthusiasm and athleticism of the instructor. Spin classes are relatively short for a gym class, meaning the pain, however sharp, is short-lived. Moreover, if you’re pushing your limits, the results will be pretty stark!

So why not give it a go? If you’re looking for a challenge, or just a form of cardio that’s low impact, RPM is a great option.


Emily Simpson

Emily is a fourth year Arts/Laws student at the Australian National University. When she’s not studying, which is most of the time, she’s hanging out with friends, drinking coffee, frequenting bakeries in the search for finger buns and vegemite scrolls, or playing sports. Gradually getting closer to the end of her five-year degree, Emily is still trying to figure out exactly what she wants to do ‘when she grows up’, with potential career paths in either law or something related to writing. For now, though, she’s enjoying soaking up the Canberra lifestyle! Emily also writes at www.food-fitness-fashion.com. More about the Author

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