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Starting in a spinning class if obese/out of shape?

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I've just joined a gym that offers many spinning classes and "RPM" classes.  I've heard from people who are already quite fit that spinning kicks their asses. The gym does offer a "basic spinning" class once per week, but it is at a time when my work schedule prevents me from attending. Would starting in a regular spinning class be a good idea or totally kill me?

Background: I'm 26, female, 5'9", 308 lbs. I lead a pretty sedentary lifestyle and have gotten seriously out of shape. I just started working out again a few weeks ago. The only fitness class I've regularly attended before is zumba, which was fun and definitely got me working. I kept up with the rest of the class and managed to get through a 2-hour "zumbathon" without taking any breaks, but it does appear that it takes more of a toll on me than most of my classmates. I often use the recumbant stationary cycles at my workplace's gym, but the highest I've tried setting the resistance lately is about 2/3 of the way to maximum. I was only going 60-70 RPM doing this and my heart rate was 145ish. So, thoughts?

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I haven't done spinning before, but from what I have heard, they usually have each person doing the best workout for them, so your instructor would probably try to kick everyone's ass equally, which would mean people at different stages would do different workouts, and everyone leaves tired, unless they are slackers.  If you aren't sure, I would talk to the instructor or someone at the gym about it.

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The thing about RPM and spin is that everyone is at different levels, and everyone has different tension on their bikes. I would talk to an instructor for more specific questions but it definately kicks major ass. Most instructors are really encouraging especially if you've never done a class before and they will tell you to try to keep up but if you can't it's no big deal, catch your breath, and rejoin when you can :)

Hi! Yes spinning will destroy you but it destroys everyone equally!! Like previous posters have mentioned, you increase and decrease the resistance on your bike according to the maximum you can manage! Also don't forget that if it really is taking you to within an inch of your life after 20 mins/30 mins you can get up and walk out before the end and just try and build it up each time you go. Although spinning is painful you will get such good rewards from it, i'm obsessed and have lost an inch from each thigh since starting which at 124lbs 5ft 7 is quite an achievement good luck!!

You should try it!  You've shared that you can work out for 2 hours and you've done some test rides on a stationary bike, so it seems like a very reasonable step to go to a spin class.

I'm sure instructors vary, but the ones I've had were good.  Keep the bike resistance at a level that lets you get an appropriate workout.  I'd suggest trying to meet the instructor ahead of time - or in a specific beginner session if your gym has those.  It's nice to get a feel for what's going to happen in the class and the instructor should be able to help adjust the bike so that it fits you correctly.

Best of luck and enjoy the class!

Thanks for the input, folks! Sounds good. I think I'll give it a go.

At your weight, it is pointless, unless you are doing it for the "fun" factor. I was 330 at one point. At that weight, your body will shed weight extremely fast and easily, and the last thing you want to do is strain your body with heavy exercise. You will get injured, guaranteed, especially&nbs p;since your body isn't used to exercise since you've been sedentary. You want to slowly build. Honestly, I wouldn't do any cardio until you are at least under 250. 

Here's what you do. Walk. I lost 20 pounds a month until I was 230. Yes, 100 pounds in 5 months, walking an hour a day, five days a week, and dieting. THEN, add cardio, like spin classes, once you have stopped losing weight. You will find if you start cardio at your current weight, even if you don't get injured, it will be much harder to lose weight later. You will have to workout a ton and cut even more calories. 


I disagree with previous poster. And agree with the majority I do spin 3 times a wk an it's great. Like others said u can do it at a level for you. You can stay seated turn tension down etc. there is no reason not to do it just go at your own pace and know your limits take a break if you need it etc.

Her goal is weight loss, she needs to do what's best for long term weight loss. Sure, she'll lose weight spinning, but she has well over 100 pounds to lose. Spinning is not the answer, and she'll find that out if when she loses the weight and either struggles to keep it off or cannot lose the amount of weight she wants to lose. Slow progression to avoid injury. She could technically spin very slowly until she builds up to the point where she can do intense exercise, but what's the point when she could be doing exercise, like walking, that actually takes advantage of her additional body weight while preparing her entire body for cardio, and not just her legs? I've managed to lose 150 pounds that way. 

Well agree to disagree par of starting a new lifestyle is trying new things. Finding new things you love. If she works out she can eat more and will likely be more satisfied. One guy that works with my trainer started out at over 500 lbs and has been working out 6 days a wk since he started this journey. There is no reason for people not to workout unless a dr has said so. I guess to each their own. To the poster I think it's great :) I workout a lot and it has given me the motivation to continue it makes me happy. The other part is lifting weights keeping your muscles working will help you decrease the amount of muscle you lose as you lose weight. Plus as you see results you'll also be getting fit not just thin! The guy at my gym who started at over 500 and is now in the 200s is fitter then most thin people I know. He can run, lift weights etc and not be dying. Starting fitness is great because it gives u a bigger goal then losing weight, it gives u the goal to be fit. Thin does not equal fit unless you work for it. Let us know if U do the class! :) I'm sure you'll love it!

I started out over 260 doing 2 hours exercise a day both cardio and weights and didn't injure myself and am still going strong with things because i see this as a lifestyle change that I can maintain. I agree with scrambler. Congratulations on your 150lb. We're not saying your way Danny is wrong but you can't immediately insist that no one else is right simply on your own personal experience, like you say, she can start slowly and build up.

ANYTHING that gets you moving from sedentary will get the weight off. The question is more if it is sustainable. If you push yourself too hard at first chances are you'll burn yourself out and quit which is why it is better to start slow and build up. However, if you feel you can keep it up do whatever you want! 30mins of any exercise a day everyday or even every other day is more than enough to get you started. The key is that you move, and if you think you'll enjoy the spinning (which I have never done so can't really say on that) then go for it. Finding an exercise you enjoy is most important because if you enjoy it then chances are you'll keep doing it! Go for a class with an instructor and they will be more than happy to assist you with correct positioning and form for the work outs, minimizing your injury chances. 

my personal experience with spinning has been great for me i was able to lose 2 inches in my thighs  , however i started out differently when i first joined the gym , because i was bent out of shape and really overweight(250lbs) i did not want to rush into any high intensity interval training or maxing out my oxygen levels in a hurry.

For the first month , being able to transition from a state of no physical activity into a state of moderate activity was not stressful or difficult at all , I just walked for 30 minutes , after that i used a mat and an instructor helped me jump start a few aerobic activities such as doing  situps , pushups , squats , lunges and jumping jacks or step ups which helped me shed 30 pounds in 3 months , now its really important and crucial to boost your metabolism during exercise and strength training helps in that process, using your own body weight moderately does the trick until you reach your ideal weight in a 5 month period. you will notice a difference within the first 3 weeks on the scale and your Heart rate will adapt to your new oxygen intake level.


The best thing to do when developing a exercise regimen is to always listen to the signals your body gives you , if you rush into a exercise your not really prepared to handle then your body won't be able to handle the exerted stress and will quit on you.

judging from the information you have provided , 305lbs is a considerable amount of weight to be engaging in spinning , which is considered a conditioning method used by professional cyclists during the winter when conditions outside are hazardous , obviously you can spin using no resistance and in a very light manner but that will not bring the results you want , so walking at a moderate to high pace on the treadmill or using the stationary cycle is ideal when starting out.

getting your heart rate to 145 for a period of 30 minutes should burn around 300-400 calories , if you go for 60 minutes you should be able to burn 600-700 calories walking at a fast pace.

A spin class is hard or easy depending on the resistance you set, your cadence (how fast you pedal), and if you are standing vs seated. If you set light resistance and pedal slowly seated, it is almost no effort. So, start from there and adjust the workload up gradually. Take breaks when you need to. Don't push too much resistance at first.

Have the instructor set your bike up, you want the seat to be high enough so your leg is almost fully extended at the lowest part of the pedal stroke. Then remember the settings.

Yes, weight loss is almost entirely about calorie deficit, and its possible to lose weight while never leaving the couch. But cardiovascular health and feeling active are important, so why not exercise? Cycling is low impact, a spin class lets you adjust the pace to your level, and its not cold, raining or snowing which might matter or not depending on where you live.
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