So you’ve heard me bang on (and on) about going to Spin classes right? And the main reaction I get when I tell people is, “I tried Spin once. Died. Never went back.” And I totally understand. Trust me. It is HARD, with a capital HARD … but the benefits are (almost) totally worth the pain.
So what is a Spin class really like?
My class is 45 minutes long, so the warm-up isn’t really a warm-up per se … you kinda go straight into it. Every instructor is different and they all have different ways of teaching – I even have one teacher who doesn’t even get on a bike, she just walks around the class looking all fit and that. I didn’t think it would work, but it does. The thought of her creeping up behind you to check how many RPMs you’re doing is pretty motivating! But beyond that, she uses an app on her iPad to help us do interval training as it has a countdown clock on it. So 30 seconds pedalling as fast as you possibly can which, incidentally, is so fast you think your legs are going to fall off, and then you whack the resistance up and climb the biggest bastard hill you’ve ever been up. Although to be fair, even though I try not to ‘do’ hills in real life, you don’t have much choice in this class.
MY VIEW AT SPIN – EXCEPT AT NIGHT. AND IT’S FULL OF SWEATY PEOPLE:
And I have another teacher who is great at interval training (a fantastic way to burn fat) but she really shouts at you, and I don’t just mean in a fun motivational way, I mean she’s really bloody mean! (I’m sure she’s not, but she scares the bejesus out of me.) So suffice to say, each teacher has their own unique way to get the most out of you.
There will be manic cycling, press-ups on the handlebars, tricep dips, you’ll be out of your seat and climbing steep hills on the highest resistance setting … and you’ll probably do all of that within one song. And then do it all over again.
One more thing to talk about … vaginas. Trust me, when you first start Spin, you are gonna hurt ‘down there’ so buying a gel seat might be worth the investment. But you do toughen up … what a vision! What I mean is you, you get used to the erm, friction burns.
When it comes to music, again, each instructor has a different take on it and it’s probably not going to be the type of music you’ll put on when you’re pottering around the house putting toys away. (Although you never know.) I’m talking hardcore techno. (Techno Techno.) And it’s not really my cup of tea. (As I sit here typing this listening to Elbow.) But it does the job because it’s all about the beat and you’d be surprised at how well that music works to get you going. But when a song comes on that you really love, you will cycle the shit out of it for those three minutes! The right music can really make a difference but there’s not much you can do about a teacher’s playlist – you’ll grow to love Techno. Probably.
Breaks in between songs? Hmmm, not so much. You don’t stop cycling in between each song to have a drink, a wipe-down (mmm …) and a chat, it’s pretty much grab a quick swill of your drink and wipe as you go. Nice. But seriously, especially in a 45-minute class, there’s no time for dicking about – you’ve got a butt to firm up!
And talking of firm butts … just what has going to Spin done for my body? Well firstly, remember that actually I’ve only been going for two months, AND I’m still very overweight, but the change in my body has been amazing. Not amazing insofar as I now look like a new member of Little Mix, but my quads are firmer and stronger (I’m flexing them as I type to weirdly try and explain what I mean,) my cellulite has diminished a lot on my bottom … although I’d say that my diet was doing that already as well, my stomach has shrunk and toned up and in fact, I’d say it’s a fantastic overall body workout.
But the greatest thing I’ve realised is that I’m stronger for it AND my stamina is pretty impressive if I say so myself. I go to a Spin class 2-3 times per week and can keep up with everyone, stick to the resistance levels I need to (even up to level 20) and I haven’t died yet – result! It’s hard, really hard, but like with everything, the more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.
It’s been a great confidence booster for me during my fitness journey because it’s shown me what I’m capable of. You get to my age and size and think that a lot of things are too difficult, or some things are just impossible – but they’re not, you just need to work really hard that’s all. And I’ve never been afraid of hard work, just like you I’m sure. It depends how bad you want it really. ‘IT’ being a myriad of things. Firmer bingo wings, thighs not to rub together anymore (mine nearly don’t!) confidence, strength, stamina … Spin will do all of that for you.
It’s not for everyone, and I’m looking forward to getting out into the real world on my bike in the Spring, but if you’re looking for a hard workout that brings results, try Spin. And when you think you’ve died after that first class, go back and do another … I promise you, it will be just a fraction bit easier, and then you’ll grow to love it like me. Or at least tolerate it. Either/or.