Just Keep Spinning

14 Jan

It’s just a bike. It’s not gonna hurt you.

Do you remember when you got your first bike? I learned to ride on my brother’s old bike, which wasn’t very comfortable. But my dad ran behind me, holding on to the seat to keep me steady while I pedaled away. Then he let go and before I knew it he was calling from down the street, telling me to come back.

That was fun. That was almost 25 years ago. Once upon a time, bike riding was fun. Now I don’t do it anymore. But I still get somewhat of a thrill from the pedaling motion with my new workout obsession: spin class.

Let me tell you, I LOVE spin. It is some of the hardest work I’ve ever done, but I feel so fulfilled when it’s over. The classes I take are about 45 minutes long and you’re going hard from the time you start to the time you leave. I’ve had several instructors and have never been disappointed.

I started taking spin because I was getting into a rut with running. I still love to run, but the knee pain and need for something different had me looking for something else. I took my first spin class when I was living in Atlanta. The instructor would call out instructions like we were on the Tour de France. “You’ve almost caught that cyclist in front of you!” “We’re going down hill!” “Last climb of the ride!”

It was a little strange, but still fun. And I walked away dripping, which meant I’d done the right amount of work. I take classes now pretty regularly in New York. I go once or twice a week, usually on the weekends, now that it’s freezing here.

Spin helps me keep my leg muscles strong, especially during the winter months when I refuse to run outside. But one of the added benefits has been what it does for core strength. I have no abdominal muscle definition. When you’re cycling on the bike, you have to engage your core. You’re moving between three positions, sometimes at 15-second intervals. Your core is what keeps you from falling over, not the toe cages.

Another added benefit of spin is the music. I have great instructors with great taste in music. One class will have us spinning to the oldies, another will be all hip-hop. I find myself singing along, when I’m not struggling for breath. Plus, you’ll find yourself trying to spin to the beat.

If you’re thinking about a spin class, I suggest first going to see what the studio looks like. You don’t want to be too crowded…unless you like other people’s sweat dripping on you. Also, you’ll be stretching and sometimes getting off the bike. You need room so as not to step on your fellow spinners.

Some people bring special shoes to spin, but I just use old running shoes. The special shoes are for people who are regular cyclists, not just spinners. There are some bikes set up for the special shoes, so have at it if that’s you.

The classes I go to are short, but the time still flies by. You’re in constant motion from the time you set up your bike. It’s encouraged to not stop until the end of class. It’s harder to catch back up. Before class starts, you’ll see people idly spinning away at the lowest level just to warm up.

Don’t let gymtimidation stop you from taking a spin class. It can seem daunting, but every new workout is daunting. Few people are perfect at it, especially at the beginning. Just keep spinning and you’ll get the hang of it.

photo credit: Riviera Fitness/French Riviera via photopin cc

3 Responses to “Just Keep Spinning”


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    […] This was my first year participating, but I didn’t anticipate too many problems. I a top student in my spin class, after […]

  2. Front Row Seat | I'm Skinny, Now What? - February 4, 2015

    […] need to excel in learning has carried over into my fitness life. I love being in the front of the spin or Zumba class. And I’m not […]

  3. Allergy Sneezin’ | I'm Skinny, Now What? - August 27, 2014

    […] not all terrible. The fall was when I discovered spin class, Zumba and boot camp. It was when I started going to the gym with some regularity and became […]

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