Indoor cycling is a great aerobic activity for burning a lot of calories, augmenting your muscle training routine, and improving your outdoor cycling technique. It's also a great way to continue training when inclement weather is not conducive to getting your bike out on the roadway. Your fitness goals in spinning classes revolve around heart rate intervals, often with motivation from pounding music, an influential instructor, and a group of other sweaty classmates for support. You can also set up your own home gym with your bike and an indoor virtual trainer.

Throughout the various workout phases in an indoor cycling program, you'll need just a few things to start comfortable workout clothes, a towel to wipe your face, and a water bottle are essential. In the spin class at your local gym, you can expect 30-90 minutes of training at various levels of intensity. Even though you are training with a group, ultimately, you are responsible for your workout. You can utilize these classes to improve your heart rate, muscle strength, cadence (pedal rate), endurance, and body positioning. An indoor bicycle may not be an actual bike, but it's a good place to start to transition to a bike, work out the kinks in your riding form, or pinpoint and improve problem areas.

Apparel

When it comes to your indoor cycling gear, apparel is definitely a personal choice. But some key recommendations can set you up for success if you are new to indoor cycling.

Let's first look at your shorts or pants. While in a spin cycle class, you'll spend much of your time on a saddle. For beginners, your bum will be sore after your first few classes. Some lightly padded cycling shorts or even a removable padded seat cover can help you ease into comfort for your first few rides. If you are already an experienced cyclist, or as you build strength, these items won't be as necessary, as much as a personal choice.

You will also want fitted leggings or shorts that exceed to at least your mid-thigh to avoid rubbing or chafing against the saddle.

As for your top, get ready to get sweaty. Moisture-wicking and lightweight materials are the best choices here. You will want something that won't stick to your body or restrict movement through your class.

Again, comfortable workout clothes, a towel to wipe your face, and a water bottle are the essential items. You can always choose to upgrade from gym shorts to a complete kit of performance bike apparel for comfort and better handling of heat and moisture.

Spin Shoes and Cycling Shoes

Not all spin shoes are the same, and there are several important features to consider when shopping for these indoor cycling shoes. The first thing to look for in a spin shoe is cleat compatibility. With so many different stationary bikes in the market, your local gym may use two-holed Shimano-style SPD cleats or LOOK style three-hole cleats. It's recommended you check out the bikes at the local gym and meet briefly with the class instructor to make sure what cleats are required when you are ready to buy.

Quick Reference Guide

For a quick reference, here are some popular spin cycle establishments and their compatible cycling shoes. As always, talk to the instructor or establishment if you have any questions.

  • Flywheel – dual-sided compatible with two and three-hole cleats
  • Soul Cycle – three-hole cleat only.
  • Cycle Bar – dual-sided compatible with two and three-hole cleat
  • Equinox – three-hole cleat only.
  • Peloton at Home Cycling – three-hole cleat only.

The next thing to look for in quality cycling shoes is comfort. A couple of things to note, cleats do not come with shoes. Instead, they typically come matched as a system with the bike pedal. Since there are quite a few different types of pedals, not every shoe is compatible. So before purchasing your first pair of spin shoes, be sure to check with your local gym instructor to verify the type of cleat they need for their bikes. Then look for shoes that are both compatible and comfortable. Depending on the cleat, mountain bike, road, or indoor specific styled shoes are all great options.

Road Bike Shoes

Usually, triathlon cycling shoes or Road cycling shoes only feature three-hole cleat compatibility (SPD-SL or LOOK style). These are great for speed and power transfer on performance bikes with the appropriate pedals. If you are looking for more performance, you can opt for a stiffer sole and higher-end shoe like these.

Mountain Bike Shoes

MTN bike shoes overall are more comfortable and have a wider footbed allowing more movement within. Along with comfort, these shoes will provide a smoother transition off and on your bike by having a rubber sole around the clip, creating ease walking around the studio. Most mountain bike shoes have a two-hole cleat system, so be sure to verify that this style will be compatible with your studio's bikes.

Indoor Cycling Shoes

Typically, this type of shoe will offer more comfort over performance. Many look very similar to mountain bike shoes or even tennis shoes or sneakers. These will provide better maneuverability walking around before and after your class.

At some studios, you can use your running or training shoes with stationary bike's built-in toe clips. Most boutique-style cycling studios will offer a rental shoe option for a small fee, but to get the most from your spin class experience, you will get a pair of cycling shoes and cleats. You will get a performance benefit from your cycling shoes and cleats with a proper fit that gives you a more efficient transmission of power to the pedals.

This is your time to rise and grind! Push your power to the next level and feel your body ignite!