Wednesday, February 06, 2013
I wanted to do cycle spin classes for a long time, but I was afraid they would be too difficult for me. I finally got up my nerve and started last summer. Now I just love it. Cycle spin is a terrific workout, I really sweat like crazy, and my heart rate goes up nicely. At the same time, it’s easy on the joints. My butt hurt for the first four sessions, even with the padded bike shorts, but after that it quit bothering me. There are all ages, sizes and shapes of people doing cycle spin. Don’t think you have to be a super athlete to spin. If you want a good, fun workout, give it a try.
Of course, like any fitness class, the instructor makes a big difference.
My Tuesday night cycle spin instructor is Zack. He's a well-muscled, not too tall, blond guy. He's pretty easy on the eyes, in an innocent kind of way.
Zack is a little bit OCD as far as spinning goes. He times everything exactly, as in: We'll do a seated moderate climb for 20 seconds, followed by a seated difficult climb for 20 seconds, then a standing difficult climb for 20 seconds. We’ll recover for 30 seconds, and then repeat. He lays it all out for us, which is nice because I can really pace myself. He is also particular about having every joint and muscle placed exactly so - lift your hips one inch off the seat, lean forward, not too much weight on your hands, with tight abs and heels dropped.
He plays music, of course, as do all spin instructors, but it's just kind of background. If the planned routine is 3 minutes long, and the song is 3 minutes, 20 seconds, he turns the volume down for the last 20 seconds while he talks over it to get us ready for the next routine. It's a little disconcerting to never really finish a song.
But I sweat more for Zack than for anybody else, and all that structure makes the time go by fast, so he's one of my favorites.
My Saturday morning Cycle spin instructor is Jeff. He is a tall, muscular black guy with an earring and a Mohawk. When he is not a fitness instructor he sings karaoke. He was music major in college and he has an amazing play list. Sometimes at the beginning of class he sings along while we spin. (No one has breath to sing by the end of class.) Last week he was playing "Name the artist" for each tune he played. I am hopeless at that game, having absolutely no musical memory at all. I needed to have my son there. (He has an amazing memory for music.)
You would love Jeff! The thing about spinning is you set the tension on the bike wherever you want it, so you can work as hard (or not) as you like. Jeff is all about pedaling to the beat of the music. (Something I am also hopeless at - no rhythm - so I pedal to the beat of my own drummer.) His classes really are fun, so he’s one of my favorites, too.
I do Mike’s class sometimes. He is a little disorganized, but he plays great music from the 70’s, which I love.
Brian is absolutely gorgeous, plays great music, and is totally structured, but he’s gone back to school so he’s not teaching any more. (Sob)
Steve is completely random, and more than a little boring, so I probably won’t do his class again.
Julie spins like an anorexic maniac. I won’t do her classes, either.
Debbie is calm and focused, gentle almost. I can do Debbie.
If you start to spin, be sure to bring a towel (for the sweat) and a big bottle of water. The padded bike shorts are nice, and so are the special bike shoes that clip to the pedals. The shoes make it easier to pedal in a full circle rather than only applying pressure on the down stroke.
So – conquer your fears and look for a spin class. If you don’t like one instructor, find another. Keep going back until you toughen your buns. Pedal hard enough and fast enough to sweat. And enjoy!
Here’s a poem that really speaks to me now that I am retired and can do just about whatever I want:
Who Wants Those?
I am at a juncture now where I never have to
be serious again.
If I act that way—sober and concerned about
something . . . it is just a charade.
For people who are serious, well, let’s face it . . .
they seem to have lots of problems.
And who wants those?
From “A Year With Hafiz” by Daniel Ladinsky