Episode 1: How to make exercise accessible for you: spin edition 

*Please be advised that this is not medical information and reflects the personal opinion of the author. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please refer to a trusted health professional*

This post is for you if:

  • You’ve gone to a spin class before but didn’t feel comfortable
  • Has never been to spin before and has been held back by fear or intimidation

So you want to get into spin class. I believe that, although I can help people find exercise strategies to help you get out of pain, exercise that challenges you is important. Maybe you’re someone that use to love spin and wants to get back into it, or someone that likes the idea of it and wants to learn how to get into it. I believe that you should be able to enjoy the activities that are close by and fun but also make them individualized to you. Let’s learn about how we can make spin accessible to you.

I wanted to create a resource so that people like you can use my experience to make your experience more bearable, more accessible and more importantly, kinda fun! Spin is a great way to get your cardio in, get some high intensity interval training in a 45-60 minute class and gain some leg, core and postural strength. I’ve found that my own experiences of trying to keep up to what everyone else was doing left me in pain, uncomfortable, kinda embarrassed and not super motivated to come back and get better. I’ve given it another shot, found ways to progress myself and that it’s okay to not feel ready to start but that if I try it’s okay to feel a little silly because in all honest, no one really cares.

Here are my tips from my experience:

  • Focus on you: you don’t need to be a hero! I personally am way too competitive to go to a class with people I know but maybe you’re someone that benefits from the support of someone else to keep you grounded? No one cares what you can do and just so you know, you can always get better, stronger and more coordinated. It’s hard and sometimes we want to be ready before we start to invest in ourselves but in order to get ready we have to start and that investment will pay you back in strength, confidence, experience and skill
  • Pick a resistance that FEELS GOOD FOR YOU, don’t just do what the instructor says or what everyone else is doing around you – not so pro tip: no one can see the resistance on your bike so it doesn’t matter, just make sure you have enough resistance when you stand up to push through your legs so you don’t hurt your knees and keep a decent amount of resistance on the bike. It also doesn’t hurt to talk to the studio or instructor if you have any fears or concerns. They may be able to put your mind at ease. 
  • Find an instructor that resonates with you: ex. the instructor I like is low key but upbeat, I can hear him clearly and he’s really encouraging! Maybe you like someone that cues a lot, maybe you like someone that yells at you the whole time, maybe you resonate with someones personal story/growth from their bio or instagram. There’s lots of ways to enjoy spin but it may take time to find the best fit for you. Even the vibe of the studio can change your perspective of spin. Try not to judge the activity by one experience and find ways that it can resonate with you to FEEL GOOD and find an environment that feels supportive to help you grow and get better.
  • Hand weights – its a lot of shoulders and biceps, my rule of thumb is always start with the light weights to get an idea of what the class will feel like and move up as you feel stronger! Even if you’ve done it before but you’ve taken some time off, start slow and build is always the safer option (in my opinion). 
  • POSTURE ALERT: chances are if you’re a working professional, you body has started to round forward. Whether we’re driving, sitting at a computer, holding a child, pushing, lifting, or standing a lot, our posture can suffer can lead to some stuff like low back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain and upper back restriction. Be conscious about this when starting spin. My personal experience when I started was that I would get headaches and pain in my neck cause my upper back was really tight and restricted and my neck would reap the consequences. Some things that have helped me is back strengthening, yoga and REGULAR foam rolling and stretching. These may or may not work for you so please reach out to chat with me about what might be the best start for you to succeed with your goals. 
  • Knee and back pain: if you’re unsure about whether or not spin will hurt your knee or back pain consider a couple of things first: do you have pain when you walk? Walking up and down stairs? When you’ve been on a bike or stationary bike before? When was the last time you pushed yourself exercising? Have you been to a health professional and what did they recommend/say/advise against? Another opportunity to chat with me to discuss how I can help you succeed in an activity you use to love or want to gain the benefits from. We can try to find ways to make this activity accessible to you with modifications, exercise progression plans or even just helping you manage your ongoing treatment.

I hope this was helpful! Please feel free to comment with your experience below. My intention is to create an opportunity for people to feel welcome and accepted in exercise environments. Let’s learn to exercise for the health of it and make moving more fun again.

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