indoor cycling

Peggy, Week 19: Three Rules of Spin Class

peggy avagliano

It has been a few months since I started going to the gym, and I still try to go to Spin class whenever it fits into my schedule. I love the fact that Spin pushes me to work harder than I really want to. A good Spin instructor individualizes the ride for each participant. You ride together, but each person works at his or her own level.

That said, I have to admit, that I often feel like leaving soon after the class begins. Before the second song ends, I find myself out of my comfort zone. I know that if I cycling on my own, I would probably slow down; or choose an easier route. I start to look around the room. Most people are barely breaking a sweat. I need a drink.

First Rule of Spin: Bring a water bottle.
We start to our first hill. The Sunday instructor loves to ride out of the saddle. (I should note: I choose classes based on when I can go, not the instructor that teaches them.) We begin a six-minute climb. She tells us to add a ¼ or ½ turn, if we can. Sometimes I add that much; sometimes I don’t. I believe you should push yourself. Keep pedaling to the beat of the music or faster. But if you can’t keep up, take off a little resistance

Second rule of Spin: It is your ride.
Yeah! Fifteen minutes are over! One quarter of the ride is done. I can do this!

We spend the next fifteen minutes working on speed and resistance. I forgot to bring a towel. My bars are dripping with sweat.

Third rule of Spin: Bring a towel.
Half of the class is over. With the lower resistance I start to feel like I can finish the class strong, but the instructor has a long climb planned. We begin a 24-minute ride up hill. We add on four complete turns as we stand out of the saddle, and do not decrease the resistance as we sit for short intervals to take a drink.

I am getting tired, but I realize that I am able to keep up with the class. I am holding my own. Sure there are some who are faster than I am, but I am keeping up!

The hill is over. We lower resistance, cool down and stretch. Class is over; we’ve all burned over 600 calories. I head home to shower. Another good workout done!

Do you take a gym class that pushes you harder than you’d work on your own? Post a comment below and tell me about it.


Peggy, Week 12: The Secrets of a Great Spin Class

peggy avagliano

After the school bus picked up the kids at 6:30 a.m., Peter and I headed to the gym for a 7 a.m. Spin class. If you’ve never experience Spinning, or indoor cycling, here are a few basics from the session we attended:

  • There are about two dozen spin cycles in a small room with many fans.
  • While the music plays, the instructor talks you through an imaginary trip up and down a mountain. He tells you when to increase resistance, when to stand up out of the saddle, and when to decrease resistance.
  • Each song corresponds with a “set” or series of movements and resistance-levels designed to achieve a goal, such as climbing a hill.

Peter and I were sweating before the warm-up was over, so we knew it would be a challenging workout.

With my first glance around the room, I saw some things which were expected. Gym rats, all of whom were size 5 or smaller, took the seats at the front of the class. Women outnumbered men, 3:1. Everyone else in the room was going faster than we were.

But halfway through the class, I realized we were all getting a workout. Spin may be done as a group activity, but it is really about achieving your individual best. The instructor may tell you to dial up the resistance ¾ of a notch, but if you can only handle ½ notch, do ½ a notch. Doing as much as you can do, is all that matters.

We finished our class, and we were both proud of simply cycling to the end.

And then, an amazing thing happened. The other members of the class came over to us and offered encouragement. One of the other men in the class told Peter to make sure he came back, because they need more guys in the session. Others warned us not to be discouraged if we felt like we could not move in the morning. “That’s normal,” they said. The instructor, Erik, checked in with us and told us to come back soon.

Peter’s response was, ”Maybe, Sunday.” Or was it really, “some day”?

Have you ever taken a Spin class before? What did you think of it? Post a comment and let me know.