Surviving my first spinning class

‘If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health’ – Hippocrates

You wouldn’t think it to look at me but I love to exercise.  I never used to, I used to be the laziest chick you’d ever meet and in some ways I still am, but ever since I joined weight watchers about 10 years ago and figured the more you exercise the more chocolate you can eat, I’ve been really trying to build it into my life.

The crosstrainer has always been my equipment of choice, until recently I only ever ran when being chased and the crosstrainer gave you a good workout without the impact on your hips and knees. I got good at it too, I can easily do an hour session if I have the right music or TV shows to watch. Problem is it almost became too easy and I no longer felt I was pushing myself anymore.

I’ve never liked exercise classes, perhaps it’s something to do with growing up in the army where everything was so regimental I tend to challenge being told what to do. Every class I’ve ever tried, step classes or Zumba in particular, I never felt I was getting more of a workout than when I would just crosstrain. Steph had been telling me about all the classes she does at her gym and she really enjoys them (and she’s got the most amazing figure so she speaks with authority) so I decided to bite the bullet and try my first spinning class.

I took Dave along for some moral support as non impact strength exercise helps out with his running training. He got a free session as it was his first time and I get classes free as part of my gym membership. My gym offers 3 different types of spinning classes:

Beginners spin
Virtual spin
Advanced spin

We started off at a beginners class and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was only half an hour so felt like a good gentle introduction. Although gentle isn’t the way I would describe the class, it was hard!

The best thing about it is that you set the resistance yourself, you can work as hard or as gently as you like. So beginners spin went well, Dave also managed to position himself on a bike behind a lycra clad gym goddess so he thought the class was a roaring success. I then moved on to virtual spin which is essentially a DVD on a big screen and no instructor present. Again, I liked it, it was a longer class than the beginners spin so felt I got a better workout, however I didn’t find the DVD as motivating as if an instructor was there, and the guy on the DVD was pretty annoying. So feeling like I hadn’t quite spun enough over the last few days I bit the bullet and tried Advanced spin on Sunday morning. Now, I wasn’t sure whether it was ‘advanced’ because it was harder than beginners or ‘advanced’ because it was 15 minutes longer. Turns out it was both. So to say I left everything in the saddle is an understatement. Once the 45 minutes was up I flopped off the bike in a sweaty blonde blob and lay in the fetal position until my legs stopped shaking and would be able to bear my weight again*

Pretty much exactly what I look like during spinning…..

...that's obviously a lie, this is what I really look before and after spinning!

…that’s obviously a lie, this is what I really look before and after spinning!

So now having tried 3 classes in 5 days, here’s my pros and cons for giving spinning a go

Pros:

  • You can go at your own pace so don’t feel like you’re having to work as hard as the super fit Fitty McFitface on the bike next to you
  • Because it’s quite high intensity, the classes are quite short, so you get the same workout in half the time. More time for chocolate cake – yay!
  • Unlike Zumba (or ‘Aerobics rebranded’ as I like to call it) you really feel like you’re getting a decent workout, especially on your legs, which, if your thighs are an thunderous as mine, is essential
  • Classes are obviously at set times, which means you have to go, if I’m just going to the gym to work out on a Saturday or Sunday morning it’s ah-mazing what I can think of to do to procrastinate.
  • In my gym, classes are included in my £19.95 a month membership, so it doesn’t cost me any extra
  • When you sprint you feel like a total badass

Cons:

  • Because you go at your own pace it’s easy to not push yourself as much, but remember you’re only cheating yourself, or something or nothing
  • The seats aren’t the most comfortable in the world. Your undercarriage will be rather sore afterwards
  • In my gym, you have to ring a book a bike, and can only ring on the day of the class, which is a bit of a pain in the undercarriage

So there you go, spinning is now my thing. Mind you, running was my thing once and I soon got board of that so stay tuned in a couple of months for a post on how I’m now obsessed with underwater polo or something equally as ridiculous!

*Ok that may be a *slight* exaggeration but it was pretty hard!

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