7 Exercise Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Workout

Going to the gym f*cking blows. Half the time I don’t know what I’m doing, so I just resort to hopping on the elliptical for 30 minutes before calling it a day. Not to mention, it’s sweaty, painful, annoying, and honestly, I’d rather be on my couch watching SVU reruns. That’s why nine times out of ten, I’ll fork over the $40+ and just sign up for a bougie workout class where I can have an instructor tell me what to do, use the studio’s freebie dry shampoo and face wash, post proof I was there on my Insta story, and continue avoiding an actual gym like the plague. And that’s coming from me, a Pilates instructor, who yes, can also hate working out just as much as you do. If you’re like me and want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth of your fancy workout class, don’t make these exercise mistakes after you sign up, because you’re going to end up sabotaging yourself.

1. You’re Not Properly Fueling Before Class

Never go to class on an empty stomach. You’ll be groggy, irritated, and maybe even a little hangry. You can’t expect your body to push through your workout and give it your all if you’re operating on zero fuel. Grab a banana and some peanut butter—any food that will give you quick carbs for a boost of energy—and eat 30 minutes to an hour before your class to give your body what it needs.

2. You Won’t Get Off Your Phone

Yes, Twitter is funny as sh*t, but pull yourself away from your tech for the entire duration of a class. If you need to take a quick selfie or snap a pic for some ~content~ that’s fine, but do it before class or as soon as it’s over. It’s super rude to your instructor and other class attendees, and if you can’t pull yourself away from your iPhone for an hour you won’t be able to focus on your workout and will miss out on reps. And I promise you that your ex does not give a sh*t you made it to your fourth Barry’s class in the past week… if he’s still watching your story.

3. You’re Wearing The Wrong Clothes

You don’t need to show up wearing a sports bra, but wear clothes you feel confident in and that are at least semi-fitted. If your clothes are too baggy, your instructor won’t be able to check your form, you’ll lose out on maximizing your reps, and it can even lead to injuries. Avoid your college sorority T-shirts and think of it as an excuse to hit up Lululemon for some quality workout gear.

4. You Don’t Tell Your Instructor You’re Injured

First of all, kudos to you for even getting to class in the first place. But don’t be so badass that you avoid telling your instructor you have something going on. Even if you don’t think it’s anything, letting your instructor know something doesn’t feel right—or if you have a legit injury that’s been checked by your doctor—is always the move. Your instructor should be able to modify any exercises for you, and can even give you a few pointers on how to rehab your injuries.

5. You Won’t STFU

If you’re hitting up a class with a friend, great. But stop talking sh*t/gossiping/stalking your Ship matches together as soon as class starts. If you really need to catch up, grab green juice after class and chat there. Or if you know that you won’t be able to shut up when you’re together, take the class on your own and make plans with them later.

6. You Arrive Late Or Leave Early

Yes, the MTA is a bitch and a half and will probably make you late at one time or another, but don’t let make you late to your workout class. Not only could you lose your class credit or be charged by the studio (ugh, annoying), but it can also jeopardize your safety. 99 percent of classes start and end with a warm up and cool down and yeah, you should absolutely do them. They are crucial to helping your body prepare for exercises later in class, and they’ll help relieve any soreness or tightness after your workout. IMO, not stretching after a spin class should be a felony.

7. You’re Not Eating After Class

After you’re done hitting a high-impact class, the first thing you should do is eat a good meal with protein. Avoid a sugary smoothie (yes, even it’s made with mostly fruit) and try a good salad topped with tofu, beans, or another lean protein, or a sandwich you can take on the go. Yes, working out can help you lose weight, but only proper nutrition can make you fit and help you reach your goals. Don’t let the past 45 minutes you spent sweating out last night’s vodka sodas be in vain!

Images: bruce mars / Unsplash; Giphy (7)

4 Myths About Spin Class We’ve All Fallen For

Welcome to spin class, betches. You get on the bike, you sweat your ass off, you wonder how the hell this superhuman of an instructor exists, you yell “fuck” at least five times, and by the time you know it, class is over and you’re onto happy hour. #fitness. Betches have been spinning ever since treadmills got boring and SoulCycle apparel became the new Wildfox. But even though we can book our bikes, tap it back, and compare instructors like Bachelor contestants, there are still a lot of shit that people believe about cycling that just isn’t true. Luckily for you, we looked into some major myths and found the hard facts behind each one. So here’s the myths about spin class that you’ve probably fallen for at one point.

Myth: Spinning Is Only Good For Your Legs

Wrong, wrong, so wrong. There are two general types of workouts in this world: cardio training and strength training. Spinning is a cardio workout, which means it gets your heart rate up, burns calories, and causes your body to sweat (no shit). When it comes to strength training, you can target specific muscle groups in your body, but that’s just not true with cardio. Any fat loss exercise is technically a total body workout because you can’t choose where you lose fat. Although spinning feels leg-heavy, it’s basic cardio, so you’re getting a total body workout.

Myth: Spinning Will Make Your Thighs Bulky

This myth drives fitness professionals fucking crazy because once again, spinning is CARDIO. Nothing is making your legs bulky unless you’re adding a shit-ton of weight along with a protein-packed diet plan. Spinning will make your legs stronger and faster, but they’re not getting bulky even if you’re spinning every day, so let’s move on.

Myth: Spinning Burns A Million Calories

OKAY, so calorie burn obviously depends on your specific body, but most 60-minute spin classes are supposed to burn anywhere from 480-640 calories. That number depends on how hard you’re peddling and how much you weigh, but that’s the ballpark. So like, can you afford the post-workout treat? Yeah, but like, relax. Just remember you can eat back those calories REAL QUICK when you get ahead of yourself.

Myth: Spinning Is The Same Thing As Biking Outside

This idea sounds pretty rational because the two activities involve the same piece of machinery, but they’re not identical. When I say “biking outside”, BTW, I mean really biking outside, not just taking a City Bike on a leisurely stroll around the block. For one, there are no hills when you’re on a stationary bike. For another, since the bike stays in one place, cycling inside, even while standing, doesn’t require as much balance and coordination, and therefore doesn’t engage as many muscles as doing the same activity on a regular bike would. That being said, neither one is inherently superior to the other. If you know yourself and know you can’t balance to save your life and also have no internal motivation to make it up a hill (hi), maybe stay inside. If you dislike group classes and studios with cult-like atmospheres, keep doing you, Lance Armstrong.

Images: Giphy (2)

6 Mistakes You’re Making At Workout Class That Are Sabotaging Your Workout

There are some topics that just sweep the American nation and suddenly become all anyone talks about. Kylie’s pregnancy. Game of Thrones. The new La Croix flavors. And of course, the trendiest workout classes. If you’re not part of the convo, it’s awkward. Fitness classes are becoming more popular by the second, and betches are flocking towards them like the birds flying south for winter. With so many newbies in all these classes, you’re probably doing a lot of shit wrong. I mean, the trainers at most of these studios are usually legit, but they aren’t watching your every move, so you could be screwing up without realizing. Here are 6 mistakes you’re making in your workout class.

1. Using The Lightest Weights Available

We know most spin classes only offer one- and two-pound weights, but right now we’re talking about classes that have a strength training component, not only cardio. If you’re taking any sort of HIIT training class with weights or a circuit-based class, you need to be challenging yourself with the weights you use, or else you’re wasting your time and money. It makes sense to grab the lightest weights if you’re a total newbie, but if you’ve come a handful of times and haven’t changed your weights yet, your body will plateau and you’ll stop seeing results. Grab a weight that’s hard enough but not too heavy that you’ll literally injure yourself after one squat. Like, the goal is to be sore tomorrow. Not crippled.

Nicki Minaj Anaconda

2. Doing The Moves Too Fast

This is a huge problem in basically every single class, whether you’re doing pilates, barre, yoga, HIIT, or boxing. Even if the class is supposed to be high-intensity, a lot of the exercises are actually more effective if you do them slower and really control the movement. We’re talking about exercises like bicycle crunches, pulsing squats, dumbbell rows, and plank dips. If you’re not feeling the muscle you’re supposed to be working, you’re going too fast and you need to chill. Not every part of class has to be your fastest sprint, so try to actually think about the muscle you’re working, and SLOW DOWN to really feel the burn. By rushing through the movements, you’re totally defeating the purpose of the workout.

3. Putting Pressure On Your Knees

A lot of classes do lower-body leg work, and that’s when your form actually matters. A lot. Whether you’re looking to strengthen, tone, burn, grow—or whatever the hell they’re selling you on—you need to stop putting pressure on your knees. Doing exercises like squats and lunges can be super tough on your joints if your form is wrong, so make sure your knees are completely behind your feet during these movements, or else you’ll end up pressing down on the joint and hurting yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re using your heaviest weight or no weight at all. Your body weighs enough to strain your knee, so just take your time and fix your form before you do any damage. No one wants to tell people they got injured in a Tracy Anderson class.

Hurt Knee

4. Leaning Forward On The Treadmill

Treadmill classes have been huge lately, and it’s probably because everyone realized how boring the treadmill is when you don’t have someone yelling at you to speed up every 30 seconds. Classes like Barry’s Bootcamp and Mile High Run Club are effective and hard AF, but they don’t always correct your form when you’re running, so you need to take matters into our own hands. When you’re running on the treadmill, stop leaning forward and stop looking down. You’ll end up over striding, which means you’ll put unnecessary pressure on your hips and knees. Remember, your foot should be landing beneath you, not in front of you. Keep your core engaged and your posture straight and try to look forward. Oh, and please stop holding onto the sides. You’re literally cheating.

5. Giving Up When You Feel The Burn

This refers to any sort of endurance training, whether you’re burning your muscles in barre or doing a 60-minute spin class. Basically, when you put your body through an endurance workout, it’s tempting to give up when you get tired or your muscles start burning. What you don’t realize, however, is that the burn just means your body is being challenged in a way it’s not used to. It doesn’t mean you should stop squatting when your legs start shaking and you’re a little uncomfortable. Don’t be that girl who stands up in barre before the teacher says, “10 more seconds.” I mean, you’ve already paid $38 for this class, and an extra $12 for the special socks. Don’t ruin it for yourself.

Michael Scott This Is Going To Hurt

6. Not Warming Up & Not Stretching

People tend to think warming up before a workout and stretching afterwards is a friendly suggestion. Kind of like getting edamame with your sushi order—not necessary, but recommended to just round out the experience. Well, it’s not. If you don’t warm up before your workout, you could end up majorly injuring yourself and shocking your system. Your blood needs to start moving before the workout, whether that means doing some jumping jacks before class, jogging to the studio, or doing some arm circles in the locker room when no one’s looking. The stretch after class is even more important, considering the fact that you’ll be sore AF tomorrow. I know the shower line is long, but it’s literally like three more minutes of your time to stay through the stretching portion. You’ll thank yourself when you can get out of bed tomorrow. 

Read: How Many Calories You Really Burn At SoulCycle, Barre & Other Workout Classes
How Many Calories You Really Burn At SoulCycle, Barre & Other Workout Classes

Ever since Lady Gaga replaced her personal trainer for her own SoulCycle bike and we started shopping at Bandier instead of Lululemon, there’s been a shift in the world of working out. Boutique fitness is trendier than ever, and betches across the world are drinking the organic sugar-free Kool-Aid. I mean, there’s a Barry’s Bootcamp open in Milan, so you know this shit has gone global. Workout classes are the new jog in the park, but are they really worth the price tag? We’ve been dying to know how many calories we actually burn in these classes, so we did some digging and the results are in. Keep in mind that everyone’s bodies are different so it’s hard to give you a straightforward number, here’s how many calories you (approximately) burn in your go-to classes:

1. Spin

Spin classes have surprisingly been around for decades, but they didn’t really get big until SoulCycle developed a cult following the size of China’s population and was then followed by Flywheel, Peloton, Swerve, and a few other wannabes. A lot of these studios tell people they can burn up to 1,000 calories in a class, but that’s ambitious, even if you’re like, really pretty athletic. If you’re working as hard as the teacher is telling you to work, you’re probably burning around 500 calories in a 45-minute class. This obviously varies depending on the person, the class, and how much effort you’re putting in, but just think logically. Like, if I’m drenched and crippled by the end of a spin class, I know I burned a shit ton of calories. I mean, It’s like I have ESPN or something. Can I take all these free bananas now?


2. Circuit Training & HIIT

Circuit-style classes are becoming more and more popular recently, and it’s not just because girls have realized they’ll look good if they step off the treadmill and start lifting some weights. HIIT classes are short and effective, because the class is scientifically built to make you work in short, intense intervals that are meant to spike your heart rate and keep your body burning calories for a day after the workout. The scientific term for it is called EPOC, and the results are dope. So, even if you’re only burning like, 300-400 calories in a 40-minute HIIT class, your body is put in a calorie-burning mode, which can last up to 36 hours, depending on how hard you worked. Thank you, science.

3. Barre & Pilates

Barre and pilates classes are obv different in many ways, but they’re both focused on muscle toning and pulsing movements, so we’re grouping them together for convenience reasons. Basically, whether you’re on a pilates reformer or doing pulsing squats with a bouncy ball in between your legs, you’re doing resistance training, which means you’re damaging your muscles in class. Afterwards, the muscle fibers repair themselves, which makes your muscles grow and your body get toned AF. So, these classes usually burn only 200-300 calories, but the point of them is to spike your metabolic rate and strengthen your muscles, so don’t freak out if you’re not soaked and exhausted by the end of class—you’re getting more long-term results that are not just about the amount of calories you burn in class.


4. Boxing

Boxing has had a trendy revival lately, so we’ve been dying to know what’s so damn life-changing about these classes. Gotham Gym and The Dogpound have always been packed with celebs like Gigi Hadid, Shay Mitchell, and Karlie Kloss, but now new studios like Rumble and Shadowbox are taking over the NYC fitness scene, and it’s not just because the trainers literally look like the strong versions of Victoria’s Secret models. Boutique boxing studios incorporate traditional boxing drills in their classes, but they also usually have HIIT and strength training segments built into the class. With the cardio of boxing and the effects of weightlifting combined, these classes can burn anywhere from 500-800 calories. It’s also a cheaper form of therapy if you’re particularly angry at the moment. Just saying.

5. Hot Yoga

We know there are a lot of different types of yoga classes out there, but we can’t sit here and dissect the caloric differences between Vinyasa, Bikram, and Ashtanga (pretty sure that’s the name of a bomb sushi restaurant, though). We’re talking about hot yoga because people tend to think they’re burning a million calories due to the yoga poses being done at such a high temperature. While it’s true that hot yoga classes take place in rooms set at over 100 degrees, the extra heat just makes your body lose extra water, not fat. If you’re taking a rigorous yoga class, you could technically burn up to 400 calories, but most probably clock in at around 200. Basically, the “hot” part doesn’t mean more calories burned, it just means one more day that you can’t rely on dry shampoo again. Kind of a bummer.


6. Dance Cardio

Although Zumba hit its peak in 2009 and pretty much died since then, there are a lot of types of dance-based workouts that burn a ton of calories. Again, everyone’s bodies are so different, but if you’re really jumping around and kicking your legs in the air for an hour straight, you can probably burn up to 500-600 calories. 305Fitness in NYC claims you’ll burn 800 in a class, but that’s probably a stretch, unless you’re that annoying person in the front row who does the absolute most the entire time (you know the one). Most dance cardio classes take breaks and have active rest periods, so it’s obviously not as intense as spin or boxing. But then again, a workout is a workout, so if you’d rather dance than peddle on a bike until your quads feel like they’re literally on fire, we totally get it. Do the dance class. 

6 Mistakes You’re Making At Every Spin Class

From the moment you walk into a cycling studio until the moment you leave, the whole experience is one sweaty blur. I mean, unless you’re the front row freak wearing only a sexy sports bra who arrives 15 minutes early to chat with the instructor, no one really knows what they’re doing. You get there, set your bike settings to whatever looks right, and just start peddling, immediately regretting your decision to get out of bed for this shit. While you can’t screw it up that badly, you’re probably doing a few things wrong, and you could get a much better workout if you get your shit together a bit. Here are the mistakes you’re making in spin class.

1. Bouncing Side to Side Too Much

Spinning is all about the music, so a lot of people think it’s normal to start bouncing around the bike like a fucking bobble head. Like, you could literally be biking to a 12-minute Demi Lovato trap remix and you don’t even care how awful it is because you’re here already and the only thing that can make the class better is to dance around a bit. As tempting as it is, swaying your hips from side to side could actually ruin your workout. When cycling, your abs should be engaged the entire time, so your legs are the muscles doing the work while your core is staying stabilized. When you move your hips around, you’re destabilizing your core and moving too much to get the ab workout the bike was designed for. Stop bouncing from side to side and you might start seeing a huge difference.

Side To Side

2. Setting Your Handlebars Too Close To You

Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me made up a rule about measuring your elbow to your fingertip as a good benchmark for where your handlebars should be. Not only is this distance super random and ineffective, but it’s probably too close, and everyone’s bodies are different so it’s just about trial and error. Plus, our arms aren’t always in the same proportion to the rest of our bodies, so you could end up straining your lower back or leaning on your shoulders too much. Try getting on your bike first, and then seeing where your handlebars are most comfortable. You want to feel like you’re reaching outwards a bit without going over your handlebars when you’re in third position. You’re already way too close to the person’s ass right in front of your face. Don’t make this worse than it needs to be.

3. Keeping Your Seat Too Low

When you’re setting up your bike before class, you probably think you need to keep your seat lower than the handlebars, because it feels natural like riding a bike. Most people don’t realize that cycling bikes are actually built so that your quads, glutes, and hamstrings are all working at once. When you’re too low, you’re only using your quad muscles and not getting the total leg workout that you would by being up a bit higher. Put your seat on a higher level than you’d think it should be without your legs going completely straight in between peddling. It should feel like somewhere in between your childhood bicycle and an elliptical machine.

We Go High

4. Death-Gripping The Handles

This is a mistake that a lot of people do without even realizing, but it could majorly jeopardize your workout. When you hold onto your handles super hard, you’re taking the workout away from your core and legs. It’s kind of like going on a run downhill. You’re still running the same amount of miles, but it’s obviously a million times easier because you’re not actually working your legs as much as you would on a flat road. I mean, we’re not saying you’re literally cheating if you hold onto the handlebars too tight, but you’re basically making the workout a LOT easier on yourself, so you’ll just end up burning less calories. The handlebars are really only there for support, so unless you’re about to fall off and embarrass yourself in front of the entire back row, stop holding on so tight.

5. Holding Your Breath

Holding your breath is pretty tempting when you’re 35 minutes into the class and you literally can’t feel your legs anymore. In fact, it may even seem easier just to stop breathing completely so you can be dragged out of class early by some much-needed medics. As much as we understand your thought process, holding your breath while spinning is just a bad idea. When your body is working hard and your muscles are moving, you need your breath to give your muscles energy. When you stop breathing, you’re just making the whole process harder for yourself, and you’ll end up just getting dizzy and probably falling off the bike. Like, that’s just a waste of everyone’s time and money.

Hold Breath

6. Skipping The Stretch

When class is finally over and the teacher invites you to stick around for two minutes of stretching, don’t be the bitch that throws your towel on the ground and sprints to the shower line. It’s literally two minutes of stretching, and your legs could use it. Skipping the stretch will just make you more sore tomorrow, and could make your legs cramp up in the middle of the night if you’re taking a PM class. By simply stretching out your quads and glutes for those few moments, you’ll help release lactic acid in your muscles and prevent yourself from being too sore to move tomorrow. I mean, you’ve come this far, so don’t bail now. 

Is SoulCycle Over? We Investigate

In this episode the Betches discuss the lady who sued SoulCycle, the fantasy suite Bachelor episode, International Women’s day, WTF they’re gonna do at SXSW, and more. Audience submitted advice questions are about a girl who needs to come out as a lesbian to her friends, and a long distance messaging relationship.

Today’s episode is sponsored by Parachute. Go to parachutehome.com/betches to get free shipping and returns on bedding!

Read our recap of the Bachelor fantasy suite episode here!
SoulCycle Is In Big Trouble (Again)

Donna Wood, 42, was just trying to have a relaxing California vacay in hopes of shedding 2016’s bad karma, when she learned the hard way that 2017 is actually going to be a bigger bitch than any of us had ever dreamed possible. According to a suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Wood was attending the 8:30am class at Wilshire Boulevard SoulCycle when she was allegedly “impaled” by her stationary bike and forced to “dangle by her right leg” for several minutes. Wood is now suing SoulCycle, claiming that the loud music they play to drown out the voice in your head that’s screaming for you to get off your bike drowned out her literal screams for help as she dangled precariously off her bike like an earring with no back.

What’s worse is that, according to court documents, the class was in “cool down” mode, which means that the room was totally dark, leaving the SoulCyclers totally oblivious to the fact that one of their classmates was having her leg torn off. Eventually, a classmate finally checked out of workout mode enough to realize, “Oh fuck someone in this class is being amputated by the very bikes we thought would save us,” and freed her before she went full Lieutenant Dan, but nobody in the class called an ambulance or seemed at all phased by the fact that their classmates may have lost her entire right leg, and burned like, 500 calories. 

Lena Dunham bike

But hey, can you blame them? I go to SoulCycle to focus on me, not to worry about other people’s bullshit like whether or not their leg is being accidentally amputated. Like, when the instructor said to focus on my own destiny I took that to heart and my destiny does not include your leg, I’m sorry. 

Kimmy Schmidt SoulCycle

But back to Donna…

Wood then took an Uber to the hospital, like ya do, where she allegedly required 50 surgical staples to close the gaping wound in her leg, which then developed an infection. Wood finally “recovered” in April (not sure you ever recover from being nearly amputated in a room full of stationary bikes TBH), though she does now have a deep permanent scar on her right leg as a fun and appropriate souvenir for her very first vacation attempt of 2017. And that, friends, is why you don’t go to 8:30am SoulCycle classes while on vacation. You never know wtf might happen. 

Eat these metabolism boosting foods so you can skip SoulCycle this week