I’ve expounded the joys of spinning to anyone who will listen, and have even dragged my mom and my best friend to classes (the boyfriend is next!). Spinning is AMAZING cardio – and it’s actually a really effective biking-specific training option, especially if you’re caught in the polar vortex and/or just don’t want to go outside. You’ll find that after a spinning session, everything is sore, even your upper body.
I discovered spin classes back in high school, and have had an on-again, off-again relationship with them ever since. I absolutely love them, but I only went to them with any regularity for one summer–my first year of triathlon training, when I was single, had a 20-minute commute, and my gym was 3 minutes from my office. Well, after a long absence, I finally got my butt out of bed this morning in time for a spin class… and yeah, that’s going to happen every week from now on!
1. It’s fun! Some people might disagree with me, but something about getting my quads blasted on a stationary bicycle while absolutely pouring sweat for an hour just makes me feel good.
2. Have I mentioned that I burned 600 calories in an hour? So. much. cardio!
3. It’s usually more efficient than getting out on the road (don’t completely forego long rides, though!).
4. Getting your muscles destroyed is always easier when you’re in a group. You can do it with friends–or make new friends! Misery loves company.
5. Even though you might be staggering out of class, your soul always feels good. The music they play probably has something to do with that; I once had a trainer that played a Beatles-themed mix. It was awesome!
6. Class includes a 5-10 minute cool-down and stretch. I don’t usually take the time to do that after working out, so it’s really nice to take a moment and relax.
7. You ultimately set the difficulty level. If you’re feeling like a total champ that day, go ahead and give the knob a couple good turns to the right. If you’re having an off day, you can make it easier. It’s totally up to you… the instructor is basically a guide, and if s/he’s good, s/he’ll inspire you to push yourself harder and keep you from (unintentionally, right?) coasting.
What do you think about spinning? Got any gym classes you like more?
Side note: What’s up with all this Soul Cycle hullabaloo? I’ve never done it, but it just looks like glorified, insanely expensive spinning. The Daily Beast describes Soul Cycle as “high-resistance ‘climbs’; lower-resistance ‘sprints’ [my note: that’s spinning!]; an arm workout with 1-, 2-, 3-, or 5-pound hand weights; and choreographed exercises on the bikes like pushups on the handlebars; classes conclude with a stretch [see #6 above].” 1-5-lb hand weights? That’s not much. Pushups on the handlebars? I can’t imagine any scenario where that’s better than a floor pushup. For $40 an hour? IMHO, you’re way better off doing the spin workout, then heading onto the gym floor for a quick situp/pushup sesh. If the money’s just burning a hole in your pocket, upgrade to a nicer gym or get a new workout outfit!