Most people either love spinning or absolutely hate it. There is often no in between. I fall in the former category. I love it!
I started taking spinning classes about 4 years ago when a friend, I had recently met, introduced me to them at our local gym. She didn’t show much enthusiasm (almost intentionally) when she told me that she spins 3 days a week and I felt like she down-played the class. Did she not want me to join in with her? Was it her domain? Her only comment was – ‘It’s not for everybody’. That had me intrigued. Surely I could do a 45 minute spinning class. It was just like riding a bike – indoors. She had no idea about my stamina and I often prided myself in my ability to do high-intensity classes. With that thought I stepped into my first spin class.
If you spin, you already know that it is not like riding a bike indoors – far from it!! It is also more than just ‘moderately intense’. It is hard-core! And yes, it is clearly not for everybody.
I had the instructor help me set up my bike, give me brief instructions on the handle bar positions, and resistance knobs. As I climbed on (hesitantly), I could see the cycling pro’s giving me the ‘newbie-look’. They weren’t nasty glances by any means, but more sympathetic ones. I’ve heard (and now seen) that people walk out during class or throw up right after, so sympathetic glances are much appreciated by newbies. You can spot the pro’s in class by their cycling shorts and their spinning cleats (shoes that clip on to the pedals- very professional). Some others wore padded shorts and others had gel seats. My friend had her gel seat with her. That looked odd to me – I mean how uncomfortable could a bike seat really be. Turns out – VERY!! I will spare you the details of the ‘morning-after the bike seat’ scenario – but please let your imagination go wild.
The class was packed. All bikes were taken. Apparently I had started myself off with one of the popular instructors. She was popular because – yes you guessed, she was hardcore! Everyone there wanted an intense workout. Me, I just wanted to get through the class without falling off the damn bike!
As the spinning class got underway with a couple of warm up tracks, I felt in sync with the others riding alongside me. However the next 6 tracks were brutal and pure torture and it all seems like a blur. But what I do remember is this:
- The music cranked up to a 100 decibel and everyone enjoyed it. The louder the music got, the harder the workout became.
- There was a lot of hollering. A lot. All the cyclists screamed at some point. My friend did too. How was everyone enjoying this?
- Stand, Sit, Jump, Seated Flat, Climb, Push, Sprint, Climb again, Hills ahead – were all thrown into the mix by the instructor. Hence the blur.
- Turning the resistance knob a quarter turn doesn’t seem like much initially, but by the end of it your quads are on fire.
I (just barely) survived my first spinning class. Thankfully. But I went to it again. And again. For 3 years.
Unfortunately I had to take a break from these classes (for various reasons), and it took me almost a year to return to them – this past week. Was I going to be that newbie again? I hoped not. I was feeling nervous going in, but I went. The calorie-torching workout was amazing! The ‘high’ you get after spinning is probably similar if not better than a runner’s high. I felt like I was back where I belonged. And so much so, that I was almost annoyed at two ladies trying to chat during class. Seriously?! If you can carry a conversation during spinning, then you aren’t spinning.
Please go to a Starbucks!
I don’t know what draws me to the cycling studio. Is it the music pumping in the dimly lit studio? Is it perhaps the endorphin’s released during sprinting? Or the meditative factor of spinning. Yes, you can meditate while spinning. It’s the best. But whatever it is – spinning is by far one of the best cardio workouts out there – but it’s not for everyone. If you do become a spin addict like myself then fair warning — when you hear ‘Counting Stars by One Republic’ in the car, you will almost want to get up and start pedaling and do a standing climb!
If you spin – drop me a line. Tell me how you like it. What drives you to it?