3.22.2011

Cycle 101

If you recall from yesterday's post, I got a cute little bikini while shopping in Old Town.  With bikini weather in the near future, I thought it was only appropriate to share my favorite way of getting a bikini bod (or at least attempting to get a bikini bod....).

To work on that bikini bod, I cycle!  In fact, I'm a bit of a cycling addict!  My early days of cycling (or spin classes) were not smooth sailing, though...

For starters, the first time I ever attended a cycle class was my first year of college.  A hallmate I frequently worked out with asked me to join her.  I figured, "Why not?"  Within the first 10 min I was DYING!  I started to calm down at the 45 min mark assuming a cool down was coming soon (most exercise classes at our gym were an hour); when we were still sprinting after an hour I realized-- I, who had never been to a cycle class in my life--was at...EXTREME CYCLE!  I had another half hour!  Needless to say, I did not return to cycle for almost a year.

I felt a little like this girl after that hour and a half


In the fall of my second year, I decided to give this cycle thing another try.  It wasn't easy-- the instructor saw me struggling and politely suggested I lower the resistance.  After an hour, I was worn out, but determined to continue coming back.

Now, two and a half years later, I LOVE cycling and am the weird girl in class with a smile on her face during sprints.  In an hour cycle class you can burn upwards of 600 calories, so why not give it a try!  Here are my tips for beginning cyclers!

1.  Don't give up!  Cycling is one of the hardest, most intense workouts!  You're going to be exhausted, that's normal!

2.  Come prepared! Crucial elements to every cycle class are:  LOTS of water, a towel, and a good hairtie to keep your hair out of your face.  (Cycle shoes are great, but not necessary.  Regular tennis shoes work fine and I suggest making sure you love cycle before buying a cycling pair.)

My cycle bag with its usual contents.


3.  Make sure your bike is set-up correctly.  When you first attend a cycle class, ask the instructor for help setting up your bike.  Typically, the seat should be at about hip level and the handlebars should be at a height that is comfortable for you.  The distance of the seat from the handlebars affects how much your abs will be challenged during the workout.  Beginning cyclers should start with the seat closer to the handlebars and gradually move it back.

4.  Use good form.  Sit up straight while cycling-- hunching over doesn't help!  Keep your back straight and your face up, looking forward.  Keep your feet parallel to the ground, pointing your toes down can put a strain on your knees and calves.  Use the handlebars for balance, not support.  When you put all your weight on the handlebars, you're not allowing the strong muscles in your legs to do the work.

5.  Breathe!  It is important to breathe while cycling, so oxygen can get to the muscles that need it!

6.  Own it!  It's your work out, so own it!  The instructors might say "Give me one turn on the resistance wheel," but keep in mind that all bikes are calibrated a little differently, so 1 turn on the instructor's bike might be a 1/2 turn on your bike and 3 turns on your neighbor's.  Also, pace yourself.  If you're having kind of a blah day, take it easy!

7. Don't be afraid to be a rebel!  What I mean by that, is if something feels weird, change it up.  Just because the instructor says to get out of the saddle and stand, doesn't mean you have to.  If a certain move feels weird to you, be rebellious and do something else that feels better.  And always go to the instructor with questions or concerns.

8. Stretch before and after.  Cycle is hard on your body.  Make sure to take the proper time to reward your muscles with some good stretching!

9. Try Out Different Instructors.  Everyone's preferences are a little different.  My favorite instructors are the ones that have the hardest classes and are loud and in charge.  Other people, prefer the quieter instructors.  If you're not feeling it with one, try someone else!

10. Have fun!  As the fabulous Elle Woods said in Legally Blonde:  "Exercise gives you endorphins.  Endorphins make you happy." After a tough cycle class, tons of endorphins are pumping through your body, so be happy!

Happy Elle...I bet she's a cycler!

Does anyone share my passion for cycling or have tips to add?

Good luck to any new cyclers!  Hope this post is helpful!

20 comments:

  1. very helpful! love your post of elle at the end, she makes it all worth it :)

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  2. Unfortunately for me, I am just not a biking kind of gal...I've always been a runner. Which is even more unfortunate for my joints, I've heard! But if anyone could convince me to come over to the good side, it would definitely be Reese! (c: Legally Blonde is a classic in my book! Thanks for visiting my blog, glad to have found yours!

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  3. thanks for stopping by! :)

    i am obsessed with this post because im obsessed with spinning as well!! I go to Soulcycle...have you heard of it?? Pure amazingness!


    one tip- connect your email to your blogger account so people can follow up on your comments via email :)

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  4. Your blog is adorable! I'm actually attending UVA Law next year so it's exciting to read someone's blog who is over that way. I confess, I used to be a spinning addict for 6 months, but I studied abroad, and when I came back, I just couldn't get back into it. you have inspired me to go for it again, though. I remember it does take awhile for my butt to get used to those skinny little seats!
    I just entered the blogosphere so I'm excited to meet other like-minded bloggers ;)

    http://abs-nottooshabby.blogspot.com

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  5. Thank you so much for such great tips! I have been wanting to try spinning, and you have given me such great motivation to try it! :)

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  6. Good advice...my wife is a big spin fan and she agress...

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  7. hmmm, this post is really motivating. I've wanted to try spin since I've been at school, but was never sure exactly how I could get into it. Now I think I might give it a go! :)

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  8. I've been meaning to try a spin class but I've been sort of (ok, a lot) intimidated. Thanks for stopping by my blog : ) I love finding new blog buddies.

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  9. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I've never tried cycling, but maybe I should! I love the picture of Elle at the end with her endorphin quote! She cracks me up. :)

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  10. Haha, I was completely passed out after my first cycling class. It makes me giggle everytime I look back and think about it. Now, I absolutely love it and look forward to it.

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  11. hey friend! thanks for stopping by my blog! this was an excellent post - im an avid worker-outer but i dont cycle...maybe i should try! :)

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  12. I've tried cycling once and I think that's what suicide feels like. I really don't like working out in general, but I think the cycling/elliptical stuff is the worst for me. But I definitely think those are great things to take into consideration when doing any type of exercise, so thank you for sharing them :-)

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  13. I love cycling! Such a good workout =) And I like the quote from Legally Blond! It's so true though...

    thanks for the comment on my blog btw! I'm fairly new to the blogging world as well!

    -Alyssa

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  14. That's great that you do that cycling.

    I love Elle wood. I wanted to name my daughter, Elle, but my hubby didn't care for it. Well, it still would have been Elizabeth, but call her Elle. We ended up using Liza.

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  15. I love spin classes! I have trouble motivating myself so it's perfect for me because I feel like I have to keep up with the class. The first couple times I go always feel like HELL, but I usually feel good afterwards!

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  16. sadly enough I'm not the biking type, my dad is a cyclist however but I'm just not a fan, treadmill is more my style <3

    http://prepsterroyalty.blogspot.com/

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  17. I absolutely LOVE spinning. I've been going for years and now live, literally, in the middle of nowhere and can't join a gym. So naturally I went out and bought my own spin bike and it is amazing to have in my home.

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  18. I really like this post. Especially because I remember the time when you took me with you to a 5:45 AM class last summer. Being my first time, I experienced those feelings of "dying" within the first couple minutes. Not only did I feel like I couldn't move my legs around one more time, but I kicked the water bottle off not 1 or 2 times, but 3! It was extremely embarrassing, so a tip for other cyclers, make sure your water bottle doesn't come out of the holder mid-ride.

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  19. I just started following your blog! :] I love it! My uncle is a cyclist and he bought me a really nice road bike. I LOVE to go for bike rides. Hope you have a great day.

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Your comments brighten my day!