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All around the world, in millions of houses, billions of long-ignored to-dos are suddenly getting some love now that everyone’s trying to wait out COVID at home.
Those dressers that had been disorganized since they first held your drawers?
Sorted on day two.
The yucky grey glop formerly known as crispy green broccoli lurking in the crisper?
Evicted from its flophouse on the bad side of the fridge.
That cycling class you’d meant to try way back in the days when you could go places and do stuff and the world wasn’t ending?
Wait, you’ve never taken a cycling class?
Seriously? It’s literally never been easier to do from home.
For one thing, it’s literally only been possible for a little while, and there hasn’t been much variety to the offerings. That’s changing now, especially with so many studios starting to offer virtual classes on Mindbody.
Even better, there’s no room full of strangers at home to judge if you fall down your first time up on the bike—just rooms full of (possibly strange, probably bored) family members.
One place where rookie riders can run into difficulty is with the special cleats people wear in spin studios. “If you’ve never used clip-in cleats, it’s great to get comfortable with them at home before trying them in class,” says Libby Acquafresca, an instructor at Cycletribe cycling studio.
If you already have a bike of your own, all you really need to purchase is something called a bike trainer. It holds your bike in place but offers resistance to the rear wheel as if you were riding on the free road.
(If you’ve never played around with a bike trainer, it might be worth setting up a video consultation with your local bike shop. Lots of them are still open, even if it’s only for service calls and contactless sales, like Foothill Cyclery in San Luis Obispo, California.)
Don’t have a bicycle of your own? A smart option is to rent a spin bike locally. Since most spin studios can’t hold classes in person, some are renting out their equipment—an arrangement where everybody wins in the interim until the pandemic passes.
Once you have the equipment you need, the most important thing is to make sure it’s set up the right way.
“Bike setup is key,” says Libby, the Cycletribe instructor. In fact, she says, people riding at home have a certain setup advantage. “A lot of times people don’t show up to class with enough time to set up—or even learn how to setup.”
She recommends new riders “try out different seat and handlebar heights to find their perfect match,” something they can do at their own pace without the pressure of class start time looming. To get the seat dialed in, Libby suggests you “stand next to the seat. Hip height is a good place to start.”
All that’s left at that point is the easiest part: browse virtual cycling classes on Mindbody!
If you try a couple classes that you don’t enjoy, you still have a perfectly good exercise bike. Plus, with everyone adjusting to life with COVID, more and more fitness studios are moving online to stay open. Even if cycling isn’t for you, you’re sure to find something else you love.
You find another healthy hobby you love—AND you return to society with quads and glutes strong enough to crack walnuts.
Not only that, once the world opens up again and you’re able to try out your first live class, you’ll already be a grizzled veteran.
“The experience would be almost the same working out at home,” even if you lose the feeling of being among your teammates,” Libby says. She points out that by starting out at home, you can “work on certain moves we do a lot in class, like tap backs, handlebar presses, and figure 8's.”
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.