On Wednesday, I decided to try something new: spinning class. Yes, even though I am a cyclist with a love of road riding, I’ve never tried a spin class before.
So what did I think of spinning class? It was… different.
First of all, I’m very used to the geometry of my own bike, so trying to adjust the spinning bike to be perfect was a bit of a challenge. I found a place where I was comfortable, but it was different than what I’m used to.
Then there was the fact that I had no one to chase. I really enjoy following someone while riding, as I have to push myself to keep up with them. Alternatively, when I road ride, I time myself on the same routes to see if I can beat my record times. On the spinning bike, I was so very tempted to turn down the resistance adjustment so that I could have an easier ride. I managed to resist, and actually turned the resistance up most of the time, but the idea of an easy ride definitely crossed my mind.
The most disconcerting part of spinning was the absence of hill crests and downhills. When riding outdoors, there is always the reward of a fast-paced, twisting descent. The rush of wind in your face, the changes in the road, and leaning into the turns is normally what pushes me to continue climbing. In spinning class, however, I had to find other ways to motivate myself.
Don’t get me wrong, the workout was amazing. I was breathing heavily, had an elevated heart rate, and was absolutely drenched in sweat by the end of the class. It even felt similar to riding a road bike up hills. I will, without a doubt, return to spinning class. Spinning is known as an excellent form of exercise, one that burns hundreds of calories an hour, increases cardiovascular health, increases muscular endurance, lowers stress, and is low impact.
And the spinning instructor, Angie (who’s actually my boss) was amazing. Not only does she do the workout with the class (so she knows what you’re going through), but she is incredibly encouraging and persuasive. Even when I was thinking of giving up or turning down the resistance, she would shout out to the class to keep pushing or to envision the hill or that we only had a minute left. These words spurred me and the class to keep working and to push harder. Angie also made sure to check in on all of us periodically, and threw in some jokes to make us laugh and take our mind off of the work that we were doing. Plus, she has a really good taste in music!
For any of you who haven’t yet taken the plunge into a spinning class, here are some things to know:
1. BRING WATER. No matter who you are, you will be sweating by the end of class, which means that you need to be hydrating during the class. I recommend bringing a water bottle that fits into a bicycle water bottle cage, so that it’s easy to reach without having to get off of the bike.
2. Bring a towel. I made the mistake of not bringing a towel, and I highly regretted it. Like I said, I was drenched in sweat, which started to get in my eyes and made my hands slippery on the handlebars. It would have been much nicer to towel off during the ride.
3. If you have riding shoes, bring them. If you don’t, bring tennis shoes. Some of the bikes have clips for people who can use them, while the rest of the bikes have toe straps that work with tennis shoes.
4. Don’t wear baggy pants, as they might get caught in the spinner. I personally wear padded cycling shorts so that my butt doesn’t hurt, but it’s not necessary to (however, your butt will hurt for the first couple classes without padding).
5. Eat before class. You want to have eaten enough that you don’t feel too full, but not too hungry. The worst thing after exercising is to have a blood sugar crash.
6. The instructor and other people in the class will make sure that you’re bike is set up properly so that you don’t injure yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
7. Don’t sit in the back of the room! It’s much easier to hear the instructor from the front of the room, plus he/she can give you tips about your form. I personally like being in the front so that I can see my own form in the mirror, plus I feel more motivated when I’m up close.
8. Don’t be scared! Spinning is fun, and it’s an activity that allows you to go at a level that is right for your body. Try a class to see what you think!
Spinning classes are held in the Kline Spinning/Dance Studio (the one upstairs behind the front desk with the glass walls). Come on by for a great workout and a great time!
Monday 4-5 (Angie Undercuffler)
Monday 5-6 (Barry Tesman)
Wednesday 5-6 (Angie Undercuffler)
Thursday 5-6 (Barry Tesman)