January 7: Spinning class


Yesterday afternoon, a group of friends who also happen to be colleagues, went to the campus recreation center to try spinning. The Center was hosting an open house, so admission to the facilities, including group fitness classes, were free for the day. Apparently I was so excited to try spinning that I had us at the gym an hour early. While I’m sure they had better things to do that play a very comical game of around-the-world, my friends were good sports as we found something active to do as we waited for class to begin.

In preparation for our first class, I did some online research so I would know what to tell my friends to bring for class. Some tips for spinning class can be found here. I didn’t need my towel as much as I expected since the room was well ventilated. A 32 oz bottle of water was sufficient,  though you should definitely begin hydrating about 1-2 hours before class.

Mary and Justin adjusting their bikes before class

I knew I was in trouble when I could barely lift the spinning bike to roll it into a position in front of the mirror. The four of us adjusted the seat and handle bars as the instructor prepared for class. While I tried to do some basic research before class, none of us were really sure how to properly adjust the bicycles. At the beginning of class, the instructor explained that the seat height should come to your hip when standing beside it. The position of the seat, whether closer to the handle bars or further away, depend on your range of motion. The seat should be so that when you push your glutes as far back as comfortable, you can rest your hands on the lower corners of the handle bars. Also, the knees should not go over the toes when peddling. The height of the handle bars can vary, though the instructor suggested it be in line with the seat height for beginners.

Class started out as if I were riding a regular exercise bicycle. MJ’s “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” blasted, so I was dancing on my bicycle as we learned some more basic information, like don’t adjust the tension any more than is comfortable for our level of fitness. The ride in the park abruptly ended, as we mimicked riding up mountains and performed interval circuits. Some circuits were pedal quickly for a certain amount of time then recover for 30 seconds. We worked for 30 second quick tempos to 3 minutes. And this was after we did alternating standing and sitting for about 2 minutes, at which point it felt like the muscle was falling off my bones. I thought Bob kicked my booty; I hadn’t yet met the spinning bike. I worked so hard that the seat no longer felt uncomfortable because my butt and thighs were basically numb. I’m not going to lie: I wanted to quit. My years of yoga came in handy because I just focused on breathing deeply and keeping my abdominal muscles tight. I slowed down until my breathing stabilized, then I slowly ramped back up to continue challenging my body.

Bottom line: Spinning is a great cardiovascular workout. Using the larger leg muscles really increases the heart rate, which means more calories burned. I enjoyed simulating an outdoor bike ride. Standing while pedaling, though difficult, was actually a bit of a relief from sitting down. The bike I was on had a wobbly handle bar even though I tightened the knob as best I could, so it was that much harder to pedal standing. Apparently, my form was bad because one of my friends later shared that when she kept her upper body steady, the handle bars didn’t wobble. Good to know. I had fun but I won’t be making the class a regular part of my fitness plan; spinning is just not my cup of tea. Next week, the entire week of group fitness offerings are free. I’m going to try yoga pilates and kickboxing! Maybe one of those will be a better fit for me.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brittany
    Jan 08, 2011 @ 03:01:53

    I will say that I felt it did a great job at toning our legs! My jeans went on smoother this morning 🙂 I’m not sure if I’ll take you up on kick boxing… but I’ll def come to ZUMBA on Wednesday! Keep it up!
    -Brittany

    Reply

  2. Nick
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 22:43:52

    Haha, I told you that spinning was a crazy workout! Glad you gave it a try! Trust me though…it does get much easier once you build up and if they have good music, the time goes by super fast.

    Nick 🙂

    Reply

  3. newyearnewmenewthings
    Jan 10, 2011 @ 14:30:16

    Yes, toned legs indeed, Brittany! I may give it another shot, Nick. The music did make the time go by much faster!

    LaKeisha

    Reply

  4. etoilenico86
    Jan 17, 2011 @ 21:46:06

    Wow! I stumbled upon your entry and am very thankful I did! My gym is actually doing a free spin class week next week and I was beginning to give up on my research. I want to take it, but I am still very hesistant. Thank you for being honest! 😀

    Reply

  5. newyearnewmenewthings
    Jan 17, 2011 @ 22:13:55

    Oh, thanks for reading the post and commenting etoilenico86! You should definitely try it. I’m going to take Nick’s advice and try it again. Let us know your thoughts if you do end up going *smile*

    Reply

  6. Trackback: January 17: Fitness medley | newyearnewmenewthings

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