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Indoor Cycling Instructors Reveal Their Go-To Tricks for Powering Through Class

Crush Your Next Spin Class

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It's no secret that we all love indoor cycling. In fact, end-of-year data from fitness class booking app ClassPass suggests that on the East Coast, it's one of the hottest ways to move. That makes sense: Sweating up a storm to carefully curated playlists almost always beats the stormy weather that usually comes with Northeast winters, right?

But spinning isn't easy—and just gliding along to the beat won't change your body. So we tapped spin instructors around the country to find out how to power through every time, keep your mind in the game, and finish class with no regrets (and a solid workout in the books). Steal their tips to up your game on the bike this winter. (And check out 30 Thoughts You Have In An Indoor Cycling Class.)

Get In the Zone Beforehand

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"'Getting in the zone' for me doesn't start when I clip into the pedals or press play on my first track. It's in the walk I take from my apartment to the studio. The moment I strap on my sneakers and plug in my headphones, I've totally committed to making the most of the 45-minute spin class. You're a lot less likely to optimize the physical and mental benefits of your workout when you're running through your To Do list or stressing over something that happened in work. Taking 10 to 20 minutes for yourself to clear your head before your sweat sesh can pay off tremendously." —Elyse Winer, Recycle Studio in Boston, MA

Fuel Right

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"I teach four 6 a.m. classes a week, so in the morning on my way to the studio, I usually drink a cold pressed juice. It's quick and easy energy to fuel my movement." —Lena Rakijian, R.D., The Handle Bar in Boston, MA

Sit In the Front Row

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"Sitting in the front row of class automatically makes you more committed to the workout. When you're tired, you are way more likely to push through when you're visible to the instructor and the class than when you're hiding in the back." —Sydney Miller, SoulCycle in New York, NY

Set a Specific Goal

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"Before every class, I take a couple minutes to set one achievable goal for myself (more specific than just finishing the workout or getting in a good sweat). Whether it's to improve my form in third position, engage my core more with every move, really push on hills, or fight the burn through each arm song, having a specific area of improvement to zero in on helps to power me through the ride. When I'm tired and ready to quit, I bring my attention back to my original goal—it always motivates me through the end of class." —Claire Harvey, Recycle Studio in Boston, MA

Tell Yourself Quitting Isn't an Option

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"Failing should not be a negative term, it's all a part of the process towards improvement. Don't hesitate to crank up that resistance or try a new movement. Worst-case scenario: You turn the resistance down if you can't keep up and make the adjustments to improve next time." —Candice Peak, The Handle Bar in Boston, MA

Thank Your Body

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"When I'm really struggling to keep my legs moving during an uphill climb, I think about how lucky I am to have a healthy body. I think about all physically disabled people who are unable to use their body to exercise. I dig in and power through without dropping resistance." —Darby Brender, Fusion Fitness in Kansas City, MO

Work on the Upstroke

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"Drop your heels and work your upstroke, the lift of your leg, instead of just the push. This works your hamstrings and backside and balances lower body strength building." —Nicole Meline, Peloton Cycle in New York, NY


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"It seems so simple but I see a lot of riders holding their breath during pushes, which actually makes their workout harder." —Morgan Eline, Recycle Studio in Boston, MA

Put Some Resistance on for Sprints

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"It kills me to see riders with their resistance at zero spinning their legs as fast as they can like it's a competition; this doesn't really do anything! Next time, try putting the resistance on a little heavier than you usually would; your legs might move a little slower, but I can assure you that you will feel your heart pumping a little harder and your legs burning a little more—this is what builds that cardio strength." —Heather Glasgow, Recycle Studio in Boston, MA

Compete with Someone In Your Head

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"Halfway through class, when I'm getting a little tired, I pick a rider from the crowd and pretend that we're competing. Use your neighbor as your motivation and challenge each other—that's what will get you going so much faster during sprints and pushing so much harder during hills." —Alice Klochkova, Recycle Studio in Boston, MA

See the Road

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"When I am losing focus I will close my eyes and try to actually see the road that I am trying to create. I will see the hills looming in the distance the pavement underneath me and then I focus in on each pedal stroke as an individual entity. Breaking down the work like that helps me stay engaged and pull through a particularly difficult section of class one pedal stroke at a time." —Ashley Wagner, The Handle Bar in Boston, MA

Rely on the Music, Not the Mirror

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"Throughout class I've found that not looking at myself in the mirror and totally relying on the music and what the instructor is saying helps me zone out and motivates me to work harder." —Madison Lari, SoulCycle in New York, NY

Close Your Eyes

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"Music is a driving force and has the power to 'teleport' you to a different place.  Personally, when I’m trying to power through a ride I close my eyes and allow myself to get lost in the beats. I want my riders to do the same—to tap into a place that’s greater than just the physical." —Lissa Smith, FlyWheel in New York, NY

Picture Your Post-Spin Meal

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"One of our studios is located directly across from Tasty Burger and right next to one of my favorite coffee houses. I envision either a cinnamon fig latte or juicy burger at the end of the rainbow...and that makes me work much harder. It's all about balance!" —Allie McGrath, The Handle Bar in Boston, MA


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