Hey everyone! It’s that time again!
Wooohooo! What are we trying this week? Well if you follow me on twitter or know me in real life, the answer might surprise you because I actually tried this new thing about a month ago and haven’t had time to write it until now! But it’s an awesome new thing so it’s worth the wait. I’m talking about spin class! As a runner, I’m always hearing that I need to add more cross training to my training plans, and spin is a really common addition for runners. It’s low impact, burns tons of calories, and helps build endurance! So when I first decided back in January that I was going to start cross training I started out with spinning!
I found my spin studio through Groupon – but I didn’t even need to buy a Groupon to get a good deal! I noticed the studio was literally 5 minutes from my office, so I checked their website out and discovered that during the first 3 weeks in January all of their new classes were free! One of their “new” classes turned out to be their original 45 minute spin class, just offered at a new time. So I jumped at the chance to try it out for free! I was so nervous before the class started because believe it or not, this was literally my very first fitness class ever. I’m a solo workout girl, mostly because I hate sweating in front of other people and I hate feeling like I’m the slowest/least capable in the room. So it took a lot of mental toughness to force myself to class after work. One of the reasons I forced myself to go is because you had to pre-register for class online and select your bike on the website. I was already signed up, and I didn’t want to cancel my reservation and owe money!
Before going to class I’d read many blog posts about going to your first spin class and learned that as a total newbie, I needed to get there at least 10 minutes early. So I arrived at 4:50 and found that I was the 3rd person there. This was extremely helpful because I was able to meet the instructor, talk to her about my fitness goals (she’s a runner too and understood why I was there) and most importantly, learn how to set up my bike! It was tougher than I thought, but with my instructor’s help I was able to get as comfortable as possible before my first ride. She also showed me how to use the bike’s computer, which would tell me how hard I was working, and how to adjust my resistance. There only ended up being about 10 people in the class, and I was 1 of only 2 people in the back row, so I felt better right away. I especially liked that they dimmed the lights before class started so I felt a bit more anonymous and began worrying less about other people noticing how out of shape I was.
Photo from my spin studio’s Facebook page. This is the view from my bike! Except we didn’t use the TVs.
When class started we started out with a warmup before going into a few different workouts. I had no idea what was going on at first, but the instructor made sure to explain what numbers we should be looking for and gave a range of numbers instead of assuming that we were all on the same level. That was great! I stuck to the lower end of the numbers which helped me feel like I was doing well without forcing me to go as hard as the other cyclists. But even though I was doing the bare minimum, I was SWEATING. Oh my god. Now I knew why there was a stack of towels at the door! When the instructor came around I asked if I could get a towel and I have never been so happy to see a towel in my life! Not to be gross, but it looked like everyone else was sweating like crazy too so I wasn’t the only one. I just kept riding along, trying to keep my numbers in the range that she was giving and trying to increase my resistance whenever she asked us to. One thing I liked about spin is that no one else knows what your resistance/numbers are – you could literally ride with no resistance and pedal slowly and you would look like you were giving the same effort as someone riding with a ton of resistance! Of course you wouldn’t want to do that, but it felt good knowing that I was able to work at my own level and still look like everyone else. In fact, this was probably my favorite thing about spin class! I can’t think of any other classes that are like that.
Yeah, don’t be this girl.
I eventually realized that I was sweating like crazy, my butt was starting to hurt, and I was starting to feel that semi-nauseous feeling that I get when I’m pushing myself hard. I took a quick peek at my phone and was discouraged to find that I still had 20 minutes left! I was mentally struggling up until the end of class when we did our cool down, but I was really excited when it was time to stretch. Until I stepped off my bike and almost fell over! I have no idea how triathletes run after biking – I could barely stand!
After class I felt kind of unsure about spin – while it had been really tough, I had this strange feeling like I hadn’t given it my all. So a week later, I went back for another free class and tried again. This time I pushed myself so hard that I felt like throwing up during/after class and sweated more than I’ve ever done before, but I did feel a sense of accomplishment and even talked to a few other people after class. But overall, I didn’t really know if spin was right for me. I’d say that this is probably because I’d already fallen in love with Barre3, which was also low-impact but focused more on toning and less on sweating (although joke’s on me, I do sweat a lot in Barre3!). So I stopped going to spin class in favor of Barre3. But if I get the chance to do it again for free, I’ll probably give it another try!
On a scale of 1 to 5, I’d give spin class a 3! Remember that this is my personal opinion and I’m not trying to knock spin class at all 🙂
- Perfect cross training for runners since it’s so low impact.
- It burns tons of calories! I didn’t wear a heart rate monitor but I hear it burns at least 500!
- The lights were dimmed before the workout, which helped me focus on working hard and not worrying about people seeing me die from the workout.
- If you take it at the right time of day, you might be able to spread out and have your own space. This is great if you’re into working out “alone” but love having the instructor there to help.
- The instructor pushes you really hard, which helps keep you on track and gives you a really good workout!
- You can do the workout at your own level without anyone else noticing. Since you control your resistance you’re able to make the workout fit the way you feel that day and you can participate even if you’re on a totally different level from everyone else.
- It hurts your butt. It hurt less the second time I did it, but the first class was tough!
- For me, it was a really tough workout. I always get semi-nauseous and dizzy when I push myself hard (usually this only happens in 5ks when I’m trying to go fast) but I got it during spin and it was tough to deal with! I know doing spin a lot would help me get better at dealing with this feeling, but it’s not my favorite way to work out.
- This is another personal issue – I felt bored doing the same thing for 45 minutes. We did lots of different “workouts” including climbing hills, switching from uphill to downhill, etc. but it was hard for me to get into it because technically we weren’t going anywhere. It’s like a treadmill workout without reality TV to distract me 🙂 Although the instructor tried to make it better by using lots of fun music!
While I wasn’t totally sold on spin and ended up falling in love with a different type of cross training workout, I think every runner should give spin class a chance! It’s such a popular workout and it definitely benefits runners. As long as you’ve got a water bottle, a towel, and aren’t wearing too many layers you should be good!
Have you ever tried spin class? Are you a big fan?