Fitness

Workout 101: A Guys' Guide to Spin Class

It's time to give this hardcore cardio workout a try

By Megan Collins | Last Updated: Jul 23 2019

When it comes to confidence, there’s plenty of places a guy can start. For some, it begins with a wardrobe overhaul. For others, it’s tackling a new fitness routine. At SG HQ, we’ve found some guys are reluctant (but curious!) about gym classes. If that’s you, check out #SGapproved fitness activities in our Workout 101 series. Next up? A guide to spinning for guys…

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Guys, look around you. It’s entirely possible that literally every woman in your office is heading to spin class after work tonight.

There’s a reason spinning is “so hot right now.” It’s an amazing cardio workouts out there, boasts a hard-to-replicate community vibe, and is undeniably addictive.

Bottom line? After a good spin class with a great instructor, sixty minutes phoning it in on the elliptical just won’t cut it anymore.

If you haven’t tried a spin class, maybe it has something to do with the bordering-on-cult-ish vibe of the most popular studios.

Talk to a devotee, and chances are good it’ll be the most boring conversation you have all week. So if you do get hooked on spin, just remember:

Going to spin? Good. Talking about spin? Bad.

Spinning for guys can be a legitimately bad-ass cardio workout—with an average 600-calorie-per-class burn, it’s going to get you fitter, faster, than just about anything else.

Interested?

Below, the intro guide to spinning for guys:

What is a spin class, anyway?

Think of your parents’ old exercise bikes—on speed (pun—sorry.) You’ll clip into the pedals – most bike shoes are loaned out with the cost of the class, though if you get really into it, you can buy your own – while an instructor guides you through intervals of varying intensity.

“We pedal fast with low resistance, which is amazing for endurance,” says Nitkin. “Then we burn fat through training in intervals with high resistance.”

Your joints, meanwhile, will thank you for this weight-dropping workout that doesn’t involve pounding your knees and ankles into the ground. And you get to do this all in—let’s call it a warm and tender vibe. There’s usually stadium seating and low lighting, which means you can suffer (or give yourself a break) in relative privacy. Nobody knows – or cares – what anybody else is doing. Consider it the saving grace of the spin studio.

Guy-to-girl spin class ratio

1:10 maybe?

Let’s put it this way—I’ve never seen a class with more men than women but we’re coming close to parity. There are noticeably more guys in classes closer to Wall Street or other banking districts—my theory is that the intensity translates.

“We see a lot of men in and out of our studios,” says Cyc founder Stephen Nitkin, where classes incorporate lots of hand weights for a full-body workout.

“You never know who you’ll meet,” Nitkin says. “Recently our creative director officiated a wedding between two riders.”

Choreography complexity

Low. 

The most complicated move is “tapbacks,” which – truth be told – I still don’t totally get. It’s sort of like a squat, over the bike seat..and looks about as elegant as I’m describing it. The rest of the time, you’re expected to try to pedal to the beat, but that’s about as complicated as it gets.

Just follow the crowd, and remember: At the end of the day, everyone’s pretty focused on their own ride. Only you really know how hard you’re pedaling, or how you’ve adjusted the tension. It’s not like yoga, where everybody’s sort of looking around for someone to judge. This, you get to do on your own.

Shower-meter

Plan on a shower, for sure. Burning up to 800 calories in a small, jam-packed studio can be messy.

What to wear to a spin class

Fourlaps tank top, $68

The fewer clothes the better in this heated environment. Skip the sleeves and go for a tank with sweat-wicking properties.

2XU compression shorts, $75

Leave your singlet at home, and simply show up to sweat in workout shorts with a compression lining. Spinning for guys is not be an excuse to haul out all your cycling apparel. Sorry.

Nike headbands, $15 for 6

You will sweat. A lot. So, if your hair is even a little bit long, you’ll want to pull it back. They keep these rooms dark, meaning it’s hard enough to see the instructor demo the next move. It’ll be even harder through sweat dripping into your eyes.

How hard is a spin class, really

It’s hard!

But again, it’s only as hard as you make it, and it’s easy to find instructors who offer something super hardcore or relatively chilled out. All good instructors will have their own styles. The biggest challenge might come at the beginning of the class—when you’ll hand over around $30 for the session. (Just keep telling yourself that it’s worth it.)

Want to try spin for yourself?

Find out if there’s a SoulCycle, Cyc, Flywheel, or Revolve in your town. Happy spinning!

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Spinning for guys is great, but what about your personal style? If you’re ready to overhaul not just your workout routine but your wardrobe, too, Style Girlfriend can help!

Let a member of Team SG put together a personalized shopping plan just for you, your budget, and your body type. Learn more >