If you’re a regular reader, you might have picked up on some things I enjoy while working out: music, a lack of bright lights, repetitive motion, group experiences, disco balls – just kidding on that last one! Well, I cannot believe what I tried this week has eluded me for so darn long, because it has every single one of these elements: spinning.
Spinning is apparently not what it was when we were kids, friends (meaning standing on a grassy field and twirling around, preferably in a dress that popped out well, until you wanted to puke so you laid down on the grass and let the world zip around you with your eyes closed). Spinning in adult-gym land is when a group of people get on stationary bicycles and pedal to nowhere together to the beat of songs of various tempos.
So, in a way, it’s kind of like a strange version of marching band. On bikes. But you want your feet to hit on the downbeats, and there are all these different positions on the bike (most accurately described as something like, butt on the seat, butt off the seat, flat back, curled back, arms down, arms up) that you switch to when the instructor calls it out.
Oh yes, an instructor. I love exercise with instruction, as I am really darn good at following directions! Of course, an instructor can and will make or break a group fitness experience; thank Apollo that Randall, though resembling a hip-hop version of Richard Simmons, was a motivatingly quirky teacher.
One of Randall’s interesting characteristics was that he drank coffee the entire class. He biked like a fiend while imbibing caffeine. Kind of gross, and yet kind of enchanting. He also was fond of yelling really strange things, like “This class is about you! You need to focus! Don’t think about shopping right now! You won’t look good in anything you buy until you are healthy!” As cheesy and almost mean as these kinds of comments are, they totally work for me. I was like, “Dude, this guy is smart!”
Spinning was a great way to do very low-impact yet very high intensity activity. You maintain your heart-rate by either amping up the resistance on your cycle, or letting it out a little in order to peddle faster or slower; obviously, you want to have as much resistance as possible while going any tempo in order to burn calories, but I kept reminding myself to work up to it.
Also noteworthy is that spinning will make you sweat more than if you ran a marathon. I swear to Scrabble. I had sweat stains that could have been giant wings on my back, and a nice sweater vest on my front. Hawt, right? Luckily, every other person in the class has the same issue. Oh, and we were all reminded at the start of class to make sure we had a towel over our wheels, because apparently getting the wheel wet will make it not work correctly. And you will sweat all over the floor, the bike, and everywhere else.
It’s not running, but I realize that as I get more mature, I cannot feasibly run every day. I mean, I could, and maybe I should; but I want to make sure I have a healthy list of options that aren’t going to ruin my knees (or just a list of things I can do if I do ruin them). Besides, anytime I can listen to “Poker Face” with a bunch of fifty year old men in the room without flinching, I’m kind of excited.