Spinning! Is for every level of fitness

Crystal Champagne
One of the classes that I teach several times a week and that I love, is spinning. Since I have started instructing spin, I have regularly encountered numerous participants that have never done this type of workout. From what I understand these new partakers had a preconceived idea that spinning was designed for only hard core trainers and they feared that they would not be able to complete the whole class.

Because I enjoy this type of training so much and know the health benefits it provides to those who are looking for a great cardio workout without the wear and tear on their body that running or step classes may cause, I would like to set the record straight and clarify a few misconceptions.  It really can be a lot of fun and it is adaptable to any fitness level.

To start, anyone can spin; people of all ages’ sizes and fitness levels can benefit from spin. Because you control the resistance on your bike you can go at your own pace. The fact is that there are no complicated moves to learn with spin, and you do not have to be super coordinated or flexible to get a great workout. As well, you do not leave frustrated because you were not able to keep up with the instructors “fancy foot” work. All you have to do is hop on the bike and let the instructor guide you through the ride. It is important before you start to make sure your bike is set up to your personal requirements, so below I have listed what is needed before you enjoy your journey.

Setting bike up for your ride

Seat Height: Each rider is fitted to his or her bike and the rule of thumb is the seat height is about the same height as your hips when you are standing beside the bike. Another way to assess if the height is correct - place feet in the toe cages or clip into the pedals and rotate the pedals till one leg reaches the bottom of the pedal stroke. There should be a 15-20% bend in the knee.

Fore/Aft Seat Position: Once you have adjusted how high your seat should be the second step is to adjust the seat fore/aft. The seat adjusts forward and backwards so that your knees are properly aligned to your feet. Sit on the saddle (riders’ name for seat), place hands on handlebars and the balls of your feet over the centre of the pedals. Position the pedals so they are on level with each other (9 o’clock and 3 o’clock position); place forward leg for the alignment check. Picture an imaginary plum line from the front of your kneecap straight down; it should land directly above where your front big toe starts.

Handlebar height: About 40% of your weight should be resting on the handles while 60% should be on the saddle. If you have too much weight up front, raise the handlebars. If you have too much weight on the seat, lower the handles. If you have back problems start with the handles relatively high.


Equipment needed:

Bottle water: For an hour class I always start with a full bottle (750 ml) and by the end of the class, it is finished. You want to make sure you hydrate well since you will sweat up a storm.

Shorts or cycling shorts: You do not have to wear padded cycling shorts; however shorts are advisable since I have seen in my training that long sweat pants get caught in the arm of the pedal which can cause much damage to your ankle.

Cycle shoes: Indoor cycling shoes with clips are great since they will help with the power transfer from your legs and pedaling efforts to the spin bike, however they are not necessary and just a regular pair of sneakers will do.

Heart rate monitor: Although not necessary for those who do not suffer from any type of heart disease, it is a tool you can use to help maximize your workout in order to yield best results. If you do have a history of heart disease it is highly recommended to consult your physician before you start any type of cardiovascular exercise.


For those who would like to participate in any of my spin classes please feel free to e-mail me. During the week you can find me teaching at the West Island YMCA, Vanakays Mouvement Santé in Pointe Claire Village and Club West Island located in Beaconsfield.

“Mind is everything; muscle—pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.”

Paavo Nurmi

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Crystal Champagne - Personal Trainer
Crystal combines 10 years of competitive equestrian riding to her certifications as a personal and group trainer to inspire individuals in achieving their fitness objectives. As well, she enjoys working as a strength coach for elite athletic sports teams.

Visit her at : http://crystalfitness.net/

To book an appointment with Crystal Champagne, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it her.

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