Whenever I mention the word “spinning”, the reaction is along the lines of it being the most horrendous 45 minutes of their life, and that they’re so mentally scarred by the experience they have never done it again.
Like wine, spinning is one of those things you really don’t like when you first try it. You’re crammed into a dark room, shoulder to shoulder with the other lunatics alongside you as you get a little too close and personal on occasion (unless you’re at the front). There’s usually a mirror so you can see how fast you’re really not going, although luckily by the end of the class it’s usually misted up with the combined blood, sweat and tears of those pedalling for their life.
My first spinning experience was in a gym in Madrid, where I was living at the time. It was a tiny glass room with bikes packed so close you had to breathe in and turn sideways to make your way to an available bike. Being in Madrid, the class was of course in Spanish, so I spent a lot of the class throwing myself around in time with the instructor hoping I was getting it right.
To say it was painful is an understatement (I can still remember it from 8 years ago) but somehow I went back, and then kept on going back…
The rush of endorphins after the session meant I was bouncing off the walls, despite having literally run the wheels off my body. I felt GREAT! And although I found myself able to keep up a bit more, it probably won’t get easier with time as you’ll be pushing those gears even higher!
However, aside from that feeling of euphoria, spinning has so many more benefits:
- It burns – One thing that draws people to cycling is the amount of calories it burns compared to other cardiovascular activity. Depending on your RPM and level of resistance during the class, you can easily burn 500 calories, if not pushing 700+.
- You’ll somehow manage to give 100% – Spinning instructors are most motivating instructors you’ll come across. When paired with a class where everyone’s going for it, you’ll be going from 0-90RPm in next to no time!
- It rates your heart – It’s a no brainer that a cardiovascular exercise is good for your heart. However as you develop, you learn to get your breathing in check which benefits lung capacity and helps lower your heart rate in stressful situations.
- Lost in music – With most classes focused on RPM, spinning instructors also have the best taste in music that you can’t help but move to. So, even if you’ve left work after a long day wanting a sofa you’ll find it hard not to give your all. Ride Republic have some pretty good themed rides (Halloween was a firm favourite!).
- Toned and honed legs – Most spin classes have a metabolic interval focus, going from light to heavy resistance, so you’ll find yourself working muscles in your legs you never knew you had. The result? Super sculpted and lean legs.
- But not just a great pair of legs – And I’m not talking about those classes that involve handlebar press-ups. If you’re getting the movement right, spinning is great for your legs, bums and tums. Focus on driving through the legs and engaging your core so that it’s what’s holding you up. A great way of checking this is to take your hands off the handlebars and see if you can stay upright. If you fall flat on your face, you need to squeeze a little harder…
- You set the pace – You set the gears and turn those pedals. There’s no awkward routine that shows you up if you’ve got two left feet and there’s no weighted bar for you to feel obliged to load up. If you need to pull back for a breather, no one will notice.
- Challenges the body and mind – Self-discipline and a can do attitude is key as quite often the idea of giving up is all too easy. Spinning requires you to not only challenge your body, but also your mind to see you through to the end of the class.
See you on the bike!