I kind of feel like a badass when I mount my bike before cycling class, sans helmet.
I mean, 6-year-old me would never have dreamed of disobeying the golden bike safety rules. But, for anyone who’s ever tried cycling before, you know the intensity is still next-level, even if the headgear isn’t actually necessary.
If you’ve never tried a class, and you’re curious about all the hype, you’ll first need to mentally prepare yourself for the booty-kicking experience of the century.
Secondly, you’re going to need to get a gym bag together before you hop on this cardio craze.
Grab a friend (you know, for emotional support) and gather your cycling swag. Here are six essentials you’ll need for your first class.
1. Makeup Bag
The first time I stepped into aSoulCycle class, I never really knew how much sweat could come out of a single human being (spoiler alert: It’s an absurd amount, and it’s honestly pretty impressive).
That being said, I definitely needed a shower after the class. The studios usually have locker rooms, but if you don’t have the time, or you’re just feeling lazy as all hell, you’ll probably want a quick face wash and a little moisturizer at the very least.
If you have sensitive skin, be sure to pack a few products that will be kind to your pores and still help you maintain a healthy post-workout glow after your cycling class.
I know it seems pretty standard, but extra sweat means extra water.
Hydration is key for any workout, but it’s especially crucial when it comes to something as intense and fast-paced as indoor cycling, where you might be so deep in the zone on your bike that you simply forget how dehydrated you are.
To stay properly hydrated, Women’s Cycling recommends taking two to three sips of water every 10 minutes throughout the class.
Your best bet is to bring a long the biggest water bottle you own and make sure to drink before, during, and after class to replenish your hardworking bod.
3. Cycling Shoes
No matter how adorable they are, your hot pink Nikes just won’t cut it in a cycling class.
Cycling shoes are a different kind of sneaker that clip into your bike pedals, provide a smoother ride, and allow you to take your workout intensity to the next level.
Most studios have cycling shoes at the front desk for a reasonable price, so you can totally opt for a rental as a first-timer. But if you find yourself returning multiple times a week, you might want to invest in your own pair for an injury-free, personalized, and powerful ride.
4. Padded Seat
This might be TMI, but I feel like it’s my duty to tell you: After my first cycling class, I was sore for days.
I chalked it up to typical struggles that come with getting used to a new workout (most people feel a little discomfort their first time on the bike), but then I realized it was happening to me literally every time I went to the class.
If this sounds like something that would bother you, padded seat covers could be a good investment for a smoother and more focused experience overall.
Ugh, slippery handlebars during a cycling class are the absolute. Trust me.
Studios provide complimentary towels you can easily lay across the front of your bike for slip-free cycling.
But sometimes I pack an extra, just in case, because you can honestly never have too many additional sweat shields.
6. Post-Workout Snack
According to Livestrong.com, you can burn as much as 1,000 calories (or even ) while cycling, depending on the intensity of the class. So, yeah, that hunger is going to be real AF as soon as you step off the bike.
Personally, a classic peanut butter and banana sandwich will always have my heart. But as long as you’ve got an adequate ratio of protein, carbs, and healthy fats, anything goes.
Snack away to keep your muscles happy and provide rapid recovery.