5 Things To Know Before Your First Cycling Class, According To An Instructor
So, you're about to hit up your first cycling class. If I had to guess, you're probably feeling nervous, excited, and perhaps low-key intimidated by all of the seasoned "regulars" you're anticipating to see with you in the studio. Basically, you're feeling all the feels, but you're ready to slay the challenging and sweaty workout nonetheless. If that's the case, there are a few things to know before your first cycling class that'll give you a little reassurance before your debut ride. Thankfully, Sara Davis, CycleStar at CycleBar in Buckhead, Georgia, has got you covered, girl. This instructor is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all things cycling, and she's got the best advice for both newbies and seasoned cyclers alike.
Look, the reality is, when you walk into your first cycling class, there’s often a level of fear and intimidation that sets in. You probably don't quite know what to expect, and you might be afraid you'll totally screw up and embarrass yourself in front of a crowd of "pros." And while cycling classes can sometimes seem overwhelming for first-timers (I've been there, I know), Davis says there's nothing at all to be intimidated by when you step into a cycling studio. At her studio, at least, she says it's an extremely welcoming environment for people of all levels. Plus, she adds, no matter where you're going for your first class, it's standard protocol for the instructors to always make you feel welcome, safe, and ultimately, your absolute best atop the bike.
Below, Davis shares the five things your cycle instructor wishes you knew before walking into a studio, and TBH, her advice is gold.
Remember That This Is YOUR Ride
Seriously, though. This is your ride, your time, and no one else's — above all, Davis tells Elite Daily, your cycling class should be fun. "Listen to your body," she says. "You can sit down when you want, towel off when you want, drink water when you want, slow down when you want, and take off resistance when you want. This is FOR YOU."
According to Davis, cycling instructors are there to guide you through a "party on a bike," as she puts it, assist you in challenging your limits, and allow you to experience the magic that happens within the four walls of the workout studio.
It's OK (And Encouraged) To Ask For Help
Remember how raising your hand in class was always encouraged, but you low-key felt too awk to do it most of the time? Well, even if you're still hesitant about these types of things, Davis says you should definitely feel free to ask as many questions as your heart desires in a cycling class. "We are happy when you ask for help setting up your bike before class, because bike setup is very important," she explains. "You’re probably sitting too low (a lot of people do), and yes, the handlebars should likely be higher than where you want to put them."
So go ahead and ask away, friends. According to Davis, if you are set up correctly on your bike, your body will thank you for it in the long run. "Good setup of the bike promotes good form, which is incredibly important," she tells Elite Daily. "Call us over and we can help make sure you are set up properly."
Even if you finish your ride and still have questions about form, bike setup, or literally anything else at the end of class, Davis strongly encourages you not to hold back. "We will check it out and find the best settings for you so every ride will feel right and be a good experience," she says.
Numbers Are Just A Guideline
According to Davis, you don't need to get too caught up in numbers when it comes to speed, resistance, or anything like that during your ride. Instead of focusing on these things, Davis urges you to really "zone in to the journey of the ride, the release of your mind, the oneness of your feet to that wonderful beat." The numbers are there if you want to look at or consider them in your workout, but Davis recommends you "use them as a guide and a motivator — but don't let them take over."
Don't Forget To Focus On Your Core
You might not believe me until you try it yourself, but indoor cycling is a total core workout. According to Davis, your core stabilizes you; it’s your central place of balance, your powerhouse that truly allows you to tap into your body's strength. "The intervals and 'work' all come from the core," Davis explains. "The more controlled the upper body is and with a tight core, the better."
Taking a class at Cyclebar, the instructor adds, is a full-body workout (legs, abs, and arms), not to mention "a complete 'mind' workout, too," she says. "But as the body works out, the mind can actually let go, become inspired, and get lost in the movement and music," she tells Elite Daily. Sounds absolutely blissful to me.
~We're All In This Together~
Davis says cycling is so much more than just a physical workout, and that newbies are in for a real treat once they catch the biking bug. So when you walk into your first class, "let everything go that is outside [the] studio doors and get completely lost in the music and movement," she says. "An indoor cycling class can truly serve as a sanctuary and help you escape from whatever is outside."
Remember, you don’t have to be perfect in cycling (or in anything else, for that matter), and that's OK. "You, the person next to you, the one behind you, the instructor — we all have a story — we all have a different reason, but each and every person in that room has a purpose and serves a role when we all ride as one," Davis says. "This ride is a journey, and this journey is what we call life, and we are all in it together."