Indoor Cycling Etiquette & My Wish List as an Instructor

Every now and then, I encounter someone in my classes that reminds me why the following rules are important and should not be forgotten. One of my fellow instructors asked me to post this as her blog is not setup yet. Here it is, unpolished, as is, and with bit of a Jersey attitude…

If you’re on time, you’re late!!clock

Yep, you heard this one right. Please be considerate in your arrival time for class and if you are new to indoor cycling, please arrive at least 10minutes early so that I can help you setup, safely and properly. In a recent class, a new rider arrived 10minutes late and demanded that I stop teaching to show them how to setup their bike. Other times, I see new riders come in late, take a bike in the back and hop on without any adjustments. Then, for the next 20 minutes, they proceed to struggle and fiddle with the bike forcing me to stop the workout, dismount and set them up correclty. Why? Because more often than not, there is a high risk of injury — and that is the last thing anyone wants.

Don’t ask me to keep the music down for the whole ride!

In yesterday’s class, one rider yelled several times and motioned to turn down the music volume, repeatedly. While I play my tunes at safe levels using an app and, yes, keeping OSHA decibel guidelines in mind (and never mind the nagging of GF manager to stop blowing up speakers), this was just weird. She even said that “there is way too much noise in here and all around me wherever I go” – OK dudette, if there is too much noise, why are you here? Seriously, and with all due respect, we have to teach to a certain cadence range and BPM levels; I just can’t turn the volume down and expect other riders to accept that….The good of the many outweigh the good of the few…Spock…Star Trek. EPIC!!

This is not high school!!school

Stop with the yap yap yap and the chatting…it’s distracting and other riders do not appreciate it. Seriously dudes and dudettes, focus on the ride and keep the social “catching up” to a minimum.

Texting, emailing & calling while riding!

OK – you have heard this before…please please please, do not bring you cell phone into the studio and worse, take a call. I remember during a class a while ago, I was teaching a race day routine and one rider actually took a call and started yelling over the music so that the caller can hear them. FUR REAL!! Please leave your phone at the front desk and ask them to come and get you in case you are expecting a very important call.

Wearing headphones during class!music

You have got to be kiddin’ me. Why? You can’t hear me and you are off on your own journey. Instructions be damned? Why are you here then? If you prefer your own playlist, then ride on your own time.

Antiperspirant, Towels & Proper Attire! I beg you!!sweat

There is just no way to sugar coat it… wear your deodorant…we are all working very hard and sweating like crazy, all while riding very close to one another. Please be mindful of your funk. Also, sweat puddles and drenched handlebars may appear cool, but let’s keep it real and clean up. Bring an extra towel if you sweat profusely (or grab two if your studio provides them) and please try to wear moisture-wicking gear. Don’t forget to wipe the bike down when the ride concludes.

Leaving early?

Please don’t just jump off the bike and walk out. As instructors, we have to ensure that you are properly cooled down and your heart rate has slowed gradually. We also don’t want you to get cramps, crash into another bike or rider when leaving, or worse yet injure yourself. If you plan on leaving early, please let us know, take a bike close to the exit and please cool down before you head out.

Off the beaten path?!?! Where are you going?path

Out of respect for your instructor and classmates, it is imperative that you follow instructions at all times. It is ok to climb when we are seated or to sprint when we are climbing, but then again there is a reason why some of us instructors spend hours (and lots of our own money) hand-picking playlists, matching music to BPM’s and designing a routine for maximum efficiency. Straying from that routine will undoubtedly minimize your fitness results, and may result in injury if proper cadence and resistance are not selected. So please, trust and follow your instructor at all times.

Moving in?!

Don’t bring your duffle bag, tablet, coat, sandwich, etc. into the studio. Indoor cycling studios are typically small and the space between bikes is often tight. If I need to assist someone, in a darkened room, there is the risk of tripping over these items. Please use a locker…seriously!

Leave your negative attitude at the door!! I do!!tired

We all have bad days. As an instructor, I could be having a really bad day, but I still have to give you 100% without letting the events of the day or personal issues weigh me down. It is not easy – I get it. I just ask that you do the same or at least try. If you don’t like my music, routine, the temperature settings, the volume, the bike, or whatever, please find a different class that better suits your needs. No offense and none taken!

Care to share other pet peeves? Contact me below…

Indoor Cycling Locations in the Garden State

There are numerous indoor cycling locations around NJ. The list that I have compiled continues to be work in progress as I fine-tune information contained within the list, add new studios as they launch and update others as they change ownership or close their doors. If you would like your location to be added to the database, please contact me with your information.

My goal is to keep this list as current as possible and reach out to most locations for a quick interview to describe their business, their mission, their platform and their story.

Hup!!

 

 

Should I do what I want? What are contraindicated moves?

I know I may be inviting controversy with this article as a lot has been written on why certain moves should not be performed during an indoor cycling class. There are certain facilities and studios that advocate the application of specific routines such as using weights during class. I am not here to critique those establishments; instead, I am going to highlight what typically would be considered a dangerous, unsafe or a risky move. If you see your instructor doing such moves and you feel unsafe, then don’t do it! Even if the rest of the class is following with these moves, your safety should be paramount as injury could easily occur.

The answer…Let’s keep things simple – avoid the following:

contraindications

Have you seen instructors or students do crazy stuff? Let me know…leave your comments below…

 

Your first ride? Will it be painful?

Not necessarily. But you will be somewhat uncomfortable for the first few rides until your body (and mind) has overcome the bike setup procedure, any initial fears or hesitation and you have dealt with this new concept of group exercise. For men and women alike, the stationary bike found in spinning or cycling studios offers a variety of adjustment settings to achieve optimal comfort and safety. Here are some first reactions and impressions that I have gathered from new riders:

  1.  Will my lower back / rear end / tail bone hurt?back

For first time riders, you will experience some discomfort in those areas mostly because of the seat design and the adjustment period needed for your body to get acclimated. Although most seats are padded, the padding itself may not be sufficient. You can achieve more comfort by using a gel seat cover that can be purchased online and in some big box stores. Additionally, for the first three to five rides, you will feel some soreness in your lower body muscles, especially if you have not exercised regularly. Drinking plenty of water will certainly help.

 

  1. Why do my hips, shoulders and neck hurt?

Most riders tense up and grab the handlebar too tightly. Relax your grip, keep your head aligned with your spine, and when you climb, keep your weight on the pedals, not on the handlebars. When seated, avoid slouching and take deep breaths. When possible, twist gently to either side to extend your range. Your hip flexor muscles allow you to lift your knees and bend at the waist. However, you can experience hip flexor pain if you suddenly strain these muscles. You put a lot of stress on your hip flexors when you sprint. To minimize strain on the muscles around the hip and avoid hip flexor pain, always be sure to stretch properly before and after your ride.

  1. Why am I struggling?exhusted

Remember, each class may have a variety of riders with distinct fitness levels. Any well-seasoned instructor should make it clear that the cycling class is not a competition and you must not worry about the person next to you who may seem like superman. Focus on you and you alone. Do what you can. If you are not ready to climb or add resistance, remain in your seat and gradually add resistance so that you can get used to the bike, the routine and ride mechanics. Allow yourself time to reach your readiness level and be aware of any injuries or pre-existing conditions that may limit your ability to engage in the ride. If you are using certain medications, be cognizant that such medications may prevent you from reaching certain heart rate levels.

  1. Do I need clip-in shoes?

Regular athletic shoes with soft soles/bottoms do not offer as much support as the stiff-soled shoes that normally clip into the pedals (SPD). While it is ok to use normal athletic shoes, if you decide to commit to cycling classes for the long haul, an investment into a specialty shoe is well worth it. These shoes keep your pedal stroke uniform, offer solid support/feedback when climbing, assist in keeping your foot/toes pointing out and parallel to the floor (as opposed to pointing your toes down when wearing athletic shoes), and can be easily used on different bike platforms (Schwinn, Keiser, Spinner, etc.). Some drawbacks include price and availability (and no, they are not meant for looks!). Most good quality shoes are manufactured in the EU or Japan and thus the shoe sizing is a bit odd when compared to US shoe measurements. When you factor in shipping (and possibly return shipping), costs could go over $100-$150. In the future, I will post more about specific brands when I am able to review them.

  1. What about the outfit?outfit

OK, let’s not get carried away. The outfit does not make the man! Some look great, while other look absolutely ridiculous. Some riders are aspirational; i.e. they want to feel as if they are riding in the Alps or competing in the Tour de France. Again, focus on you and your comfort level – ignore that dude with the fancy outfit and logos. It is perfectly ok to forgo specialty outfits and wear what you like and feel comfortable in. There are plenty of online retailers that carry padded shorts, shirts, bibs and padded underwear. One of my first padded shorts arrived one day before a big event, were the wrong size and I had no choice but to wear them….can you say adult diapers!!!!! Yeah, size matters. Make sure the shorts are well padded and the fit is snug but not too restrictive. As to the shirts, select those that have moisture-wicking abilities.

 

If you would like to share other challenges that new riders may face, please let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two new cycling studios launch in September

 

Two new indoor cycling studios will launch in September 2014. Best wishes for successful launch – here’s to them drawing in crowds of loyal riders!! Ride On!!

Momentum Cycling & Fitness – Summit, NJ

http://www.momentumnj.com/
33 Union Place
3rd Floor, Summit NJ 07901
summit@momentumnj.com
Phone: 908.277.1333

 

Prime Cycle – Hoboken, NJ

http://www.primecycle.com
1025 MAXWELL LANE, HOBOKEN, NJ 07030
info@primecycle.com
Phone: (201) 795-0900
Fax: (201) 795-0910