It's safe to say SoulCycle has the market cornered on Spinning. As experts in their field who teach a lot of classes, instructors see the gamut of good, bad, and downright scary when it comes to the bike and beyond. Since the popularity and appeal of cycling your heart out aren't going anywhere anytime soon, we polled several top SoulCycle instructors for the mistakes they see people make most often before, during, and outside of class. Keep scrolling to see what they had to say!
A crisp glass of wheat beer might sound refreshing and relaxing after an intense Spin workout, but it's a mistake to start drinking alcohol immediately after a cycling class. Says senior SoulCycle instructor Charlee Atkins, "In order to maximize full benefits of a cycling class, it’s important to consume carbohydrates (yes, #carbs) and proteins within two hours of completion of the workout." That means real, whole, nutritious food—not a glass of wine. "Your body is literally energized by carbs and during any workout you are breaking muscles, so you need these nutrients to repair what has been broken," she says.
"One huge mistake I see is people spending 45 minutes on a bike peddling at the same speed and on the same incline," says senior SoulCycle instructor Roarke Walker. "If you're not changing your pace and resistance, it's likely your body will not change either, because high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is proven to yield better results than long periods of cardio at one pace," he says. "As instructors at SoulCycle, we are constantly mixing up our playlists and workouts to keep the body guessing so it never gets too comfortable.
The body is very smart and can adapt to given stresses after only a couple minutes of work, so it's important to incorporate short bursts of high-intensity intervals into your cardio workout in order to see spiked heart rates and ultimately higher calorie burn. These intervals will keep the body burning calories throughout the day rather than just an hour or so after class. Make sure to interval train whether you're on a bike, treadmill, or elliptical."
The obvious reason you don't want to start an intense workout class without being properly setup is injury. But there's a less obvious reason, says senior SoulCycle instructor Charlee Atkins: You won't get the results you're working so hard for! "You want to properly align and load your body if you want to reap the physical benefits of a cycling workout, which is one of the best, low-impact, high-intensity workouts you can give yourself," she says. "If you’re serious about making a physical change, then why wouldn’t you 'set up' for success?"
"Your body is a machine, and you need to keep it tuned and fueled, but sometimes I see people grabbing sugary sports drinks post-class, which is not what your body needs!" says senior SoulCycle instructor Laura Crago. "Resistance exercise breaks down muscle, so you want to fuel your body with the things it needs to repair that muscle. You body needs protein, so you should refuel with a protein smoothie, a good old-fashioned turkey sandwich, or a great tip is to grab a carton of organic 2% chocolate milk.
It has carbohydrates and protein, perfect for replenishing tired muscles, and a high water content, which will help rehydrate you, plus it has calcium and includes just a little sodium and natural sugar, which help retain water and regain energy," she says.
Have you made any of these common Spinning mistakes? What's your favorite snack to reach for after an intense workout class? Share it below!