I took my first spin class over 10 years ago now, and I still remember how exhilarating (and awful) it was! I decided to try it because I wanted a fun and effective way to maintain my cardio conditioning, but too many years of ankle injuries as a soccer player made continuing to run a painful and frustrating option. Running can be really tough on your body and it takes patience and time (and expense) that you just may not have to correct imbalances and injuries.
So if you’re thinking spin class might be a great option for you – here are a couple things to know about pre- and post-workout nutrition that will have you feeling more successful!
1. Put gas in the tank
Workouts that run less than 90 minutes may not require extra calories BUT you’ll ride (and feel) better if you have a small, easy-to-digest snack 30 minutes before class. To top off your energy stores try:
2. Hydration matters
Lots of bodies packed into a smaller room can generate a lot of heat, never mind the fact that you’re working hard! It’s common to see most participants actually dripping sweat during this workout. You definitely want to be sipping water during the class. However, when you sweat you are also losing electrolytes (important for nerve-muscle interactions). You can replenish these by adding 1 scoop of Biosteel High Performance Sports Mix to your water bottle. The added benefit of this HPSM is the fermented plant-based aminos which will help prevent muscle loss during longer, more intense classes (think about all those hill climbs!).
- Ask a trainer about doing a measurements on our impedance body composition scales. You’ll get a Total Body Water number (which, ideally, should be 75% of your lean body mass) and can help you set a baseline for your hydration level.
3. Sustaining effort
If you’re riding two classes back-to-back or doing a workout after your ride (total workout time over 90 minutes), you’ll need to fuel up as you go. Give your legs the energy to keep pedalling or to go crush those squats and lunges by consuming 30-60 grams of carbs each hour. The easiest way to do this is by consuming small amounts through the workout. Try carb beverages, gels, or chews to maximize your performance. (I like Clif Bloks or Jelly Belly Sport Beans.)
4. Your workout isn’t over until your recovery begins
Stay for the cool down… please! Your instructor will take you through different sequences of work (usually speed work and hills where you climb against a higher gear/more resistance) and your heart rate races along a roller coaster-like profile, which is a great way to get fitter faster! But if you hop off the bike right after the last working track, your heart is still racing and your body is in a stress state. Using a recovery track (riding slower with lower resistance to flush your legs and help bring your heart rate down), as well as some light stretching will help your body come down from that high-stress state (think “fight or flight”). Now you can “rest and digest” and think about that post-workout nutrition. You’ve got a window to replace fuel (glycogen) directly into your muscles so you’re ready for your workout tomorrow. After class, replenish with a protein shake or a light meal that includes carbs and protein.
- 1-2 scoops of dotFIT Pre & Post Workout Formula
- A smoothie with a scoop of whey or plant-based protein and some fruit (water/almond milk/ice as you like)
- A peanut butter & jelly sandwich
- 1-2 eggs and avocado toast
Avoid extra-large beverages, huge smoothie bowls or other, decadent, calorie-laden meals that are heavy to digest and undo the calorie-burn benefit of your workout! In fact, this is a bigger risk than you might believe – often when people start exercising or step up the intensity, their hunger follows suit! But if you have smart snacks stashed in your gym bag, and you have a plan for proper pre- and post-workout nutrition, you’ll satisfy your hunger, fuel your performance and get great results if you stick with it!
As always, if you have questions or need more info, reach out to one of our Steve Nash trainers – all are certified nutrition coaches through our nutrition and fitness partner, dotFIT. Using this program helps us get our clients 7x better results than exercise alone, and we take pride in setting you up for long-term fitness, health and wellness success!
See you on the bike.