People of all fitness levels participate in spin classes. Depending on the location and atmosphere of your gym, you will probably see everyone from the elderly to college-aged, to the fit and toned to the overweight and out of shape in a typical class. Although these classes are multifaceted when it comes to both age and fitness levels, it doesn’t change the fact that well over half of the class doesn’t know what they are doing…a.k.a. most of them are just spinning their wheels—literally.
Spin classes are so attractive to so many people because they provide a way for cardio to be done in a motivational environment where the work is self-paced, low-impact and easy on the joints, and because they are constantly marketed with the phrase, “Burn 500-800 calories per class!” The problem is that a spin class won’t benefit you at all and certainly won’t lead to such huge calorie expenditures if you don’t know what you are doing and you are not working hard enough. Showing up is just not enough.
So what should you do?
Set up your bike right. Don’t just jump on a bike and go, especially if it’s your first spin class. You’ll be more likely to injure yourself and less likely to get a decent workout. As a general rule of them, your seat height should be level with your hips when standing next to it, and your handlebars should be positioned comfortably, avoiding any straining. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when setting up your bike—that is what the instructor is there for.
Get a workout. Want to burn 700-1000 calories per class? Though the number of calories you burn in an average class depends on how much you weigh and how hard you work, know you’re not going to burn anything just sitting there. You should be using a resistance that challenges you at the appropriate times so that you get out of breath, feel the burn in your muscles, and break a sweat. If none of these things are happening throughout the course of the class, you’re not working hard enough.
Race right. During racing, you should have enough resistance on your bike that you’re not bouncing, but not so much that you can’t race. If you are bouncing, it’s visibly obvious both to the instructor and those around you that you’re not working hard enough.
Climb Correctly. During climbing tracks, if you’re supposed to be on a level 9, and you’re almost flying off your bike, you’re not working hard enough and your resistance is too light. Climbs should be hard; it should feel like you’re climbing up a literal hill.
Know that by not working up to your potential during a spin class you’re not fooling others around you or even the instructor—you’re only cheating yourself, wasting space on a bike, and wasting your time. You can end up taking three or more spin classes per week without ever seeing any results.
To find a spin class near you, check your local Dallas gym’s class schedule. Most gyms offer morning and evening spin classes, as well as lunchtime classes. For an intense 45 minute interval-based cycling class, visit or join your local Dallas Gold’s Gym and take an RPM class to change up your workouts, get motivated, and practice proper spinning techniques so that you can get real results.