I tried cycling for the first time!
You know, the “Soul Cycle” phenomena that has overtaken big cities like Los Angeles and New York City? I tried that, except it wasn’t Soul Cycle, it was a just regular cycling class at my gym. But don’t let that fool you – it was intense!
I had been meaning to try this cycling class for weeks but chickened out every time just before I left for the class. I’m new to working out again and am currently not in the best shape of my life, so the idea of intense cycling for an hour intimidated me. I used to be an active child and teenager, but college hit (hard) and then I moved locations around a lot for a while. Now, however, I’m trying to get my fitness journey back on track.
But today was the day where I mustered my courage and went to that cycling class.
I put on my leggings, workout shirt and sneakers. Put my hair up for the expected sweating and got my butt to the gym. I wasn’t sure if I needed special shoes or anything (Soul Cycle and some cycling classes require special shoes), but luckily I didn’t.
Tip: If you’re unsure about your local cycling class, call ahead and ask the front desk or an instructor if you need any special equipment!
The instructor arrived late to class so I had some extra time to setup and adjust my bike. This part is important because you want to make sure that you don’t strain anything, like your knees or your back. Your instructor or other people in the class can help you if you don’t feel comfortable setting it up yourself. My classmates helped me get setup before the instructor arrived. My classmates were very friendly and open.
And then the instructor arrived.
Oh man. She kicked my butt. The tone is set by the loud music pumping through the studios speakers and the instructor’s energy. I enjoy group fitness classes because I like to….
a) Not have the responsibility of planning a full workout for myself.
b) I find classes very motivational. It’s definitely intimidating, especially with the super fit people in the class, but I like having the instructor continue to push and inspire me throughout the class.
The class goes through a series of fast cycling with low resistance (think of resistance as in climbing a mountain – low resistance means a level road and high is climbing a mountain) and medium/pedal as fast as you can with high resistance. When you crank up the resistance, it’s so much harder. We went through periods of sitting-to-standing, standing and even push ups at high resistance. The push ups were so unexpected. I didn’t realize that you could do push ups while cycling, and I didn’t think that it would be nearly as hard as it was.
By the middle of the class, I was dripping in sweat and by the end, I was soaked. It was both gross and satisfying. My butt was so sore throughout the class because I’m not used to the tiny seat (and still hurts as I type this, a few hours after the class), but I’ve been told that it’s something you get used to after a while. Or, you can get special butt-padded cycling shorts if you’re serious about it. I’m definitely sore from the workout but it’s not the worst soreness I’ve ever had. (Update from a few days later: I was super sore the day after the class, which is what I was expecting, but the soreness went away within a few days.)
As a beginner to fitness, I thought that cycling was great. You can go at your own pace, with your own strength and endurance. It’s low stakes and low pressure, however, it still gets your heart racing and blood pumping. As someone who absolutely hates cardio, I loved cycling. If you’re on the fence about it, I definitely recommend trying a cycling class.
Tips for your first cycling class:
- Bring plenty of water!
- Bring a towel! You can lay it across the handlebars when you’re leaning on them and (it’s gross, I know) it helps a lot with the sweat.
- Wear comfortable workout clothing and shoes.
- Make sure that you have your bike properly adjusted to your body.
- Have fun! Don’t take it too seriously. If you can’t push as hard as the other people in the class – that’s okay and perfectly normal. Don’t expect to be perfect at it the first time you go. You’re not alone.
Thank you for reading! Have you ever tried cycling? Let me know in the comments below and like this post if you want more like it!