Spin doctor

I’m on my bike, pedaling like mad, leaning over the handlebars. The wind is blowing my hair, making it fall in my face. I repeatedly push it back, thinking I really don’t have time for this. I’m too busy working hard at keeping up with everyone else. The cyclists around me seem to be cruising along without much effort, making this ride look really easy. This is one of the hardest rides I’ve ever done. Except, this time, I’m not on out on the road – I’m trying my first spin class.

Huffygirl, fit and ready to go!

I’ve actually attempted spin class before, many years ago, before I started biking.  At that time, I found out I was not fit enough to do an entire class, felt too uncomfortable on the bike saddle (seat), and couldn’t get the bike adjusted to fit me.  But since then, three things have happened: 1.) I’ve achieved enough cardiovascular fitness after four summers of biking, that an hour of spin class should be a cinch; 2.) my gym has gotten new spin bikes with better saddles and better adjustments; and 3) I have the right bike clothes and gear to make spin class easier that I lacked before – mainly cycling shorts and clip-in cycling shoes. Of course, it’s possible to spin in ordinary gym clothes and shoes, but much easier with. And, since I’m taking spin class to maintain my fitness until the next biking season, it makes sense to make spin as much like my usual biking as possible.

Cycling shorts and shoes? Check.

So, I’m giving it another go. Best husband helped me through the bike set-up. I’ve got my water bottle, bike shoes, heart rate monitor, so I should be good to go. This early morning class is a mix of serious cyclists, folks who just want to get their exercise over with before work, and some inbetweeners like me. I’m trying to go out hard and get a good work out, but not overdo it on my first class, but I’m having a hard time striking the balance. Instead of gears, spin bikes have a tension knob – left for looser, right for tighter. It’s hard to gauge how much tension to use for a good workout.  And I’m finding the movement and noise in the small room overwhelming. Everything is moving – wheels turning, fans blowing, people popping  up and down, cranks turning. I don’t know where to look and end up closing my eyes for a good part of the class. And the noise – fans blowing, riders chatting, music blaring. Give me a nice quiet ride outside anytime. But it’s cold outside, so for the next few months, I’ll have to make this class work, or end up riding my trainer in the basement again. Not much of a choice either way. I don’t want to look like a newbie or wuss, and I don’t want to give up and quit like last time, so I’ll have to figure out how to cope.

Did I make it through my first spin class? Find out later on “Spin Diary.”

© Huffygirl 2011


9 thoughts on “Spin doctor

  1. Good for you. I’ve tried a few over the years and just can’t get into it. Hate the music, the bike, being indoors. So winter arrives and I’m less fit, unless we count shoveling snow. I do some xc skiing, but it’s not like being on othe bike. Every year I talk about swimming, but don’t like that so much either.
    Time for a warm weather bike vacation perhaps.

    • I think there just is not a good solution for cyclists to get through the winter. I really don’t like the class that much so far, but I’m trying to put up with it for the sake of fitness. I have hearty friends who bike outside in the winter, but I would never survive. It has to be 60 degrees or higher for me to venture out. Keep looking for the answer Lisa – you want to be ready when that triathlon rolls around!

  2. I am not a cyclist and never have been. Do you think I could do a beginner’s spin class? Will it help me lose my gut? Our Y has spin classes, and the instructors seem like boot camp drill sergeants.

    • If you’ve already been doing brisk aerobic exercise, such as fast walking, or using an eliptical trainer or arc trainer, you could probably handle spin class. The key is to work into it gradually if you’re not particularly aerobically fit. So you might plan to just do 15 minutes of the first class, then gradually increase your time. Or if you opt to do the entire class, keep the tension low so you’re going at an easy pace, like biking around the streets in your neighborhood. As you get more used to it and more fit, you can work harder or longer. AS far as losing weight – the ideal for weight loss in theory is to work at 65-75% of your maximum heart rate, for 30-60 minutes. You might want to look back at some of my earlier posts on “target heart rate” or Google it for more info. In practice, I find that I don’t lose weight unless I’m working at 75-85% and get my heart rate to the maximum for at least a few minutes of each class.

      Some of my spin instructors are like drill sergeants too. But remember – you are paying for it, and it’s your workout, so take it to the level that works for you, not for them.

      Let me know how it goes Susan – maybe you’ll be writing your own spin diary!

  3. Pingback: My doctor’s office thinks I’m fat | Huffygirl's Blog

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