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An Introduction to the Spinning Program

Turn on the Spin Cycle
  -- By Holly Little, Certified Personal Trainer

My first experience with this revolutionary indoor cycling activity seems like a distant memory. As I walked into the room, the lights were dimmed and candles were lit around the room. People all around me were wearing these tight black shorts and odd and colorful shoes, with water bottles in hand. The instructor was in front of the class working on a selection of music that I would never have associated with cycling. Nevertheless, as I was set up on my bike by the nice instructor, I thought I would give it one shot and probably never come back. I am just as pumped up and excited about spinning as I was when I left the class that first day.  Eight years later, I'm still a Spinning enthusiast.

So, what exactly is Spinning? What is the appeal that has brought many people, including celebs like Helen Hunt, David Duchovny and Calista Flockhart, to participate in such a unique and challenging activity? According to www.Spinning.com: "Introduced in 1987, by Johnny G, the Spinning program has become a global exercise and wellness phenomenon. The primary focus of Spinning is to get into shape, have fun, train with purpose and enjoy a powerful mind-body connection."

This last sentence sums up my experient and explains my passion for Spinning. I have been a competitive athlete my entire life and this is one of the only sports that has kept my interest, tested my aerobic endurance, and brought me to a new level of mental endurance. I have trained for all kinds of competitions and events, and yet, when I'm in the class, I undergo a different kind of challenge and mental toughness. I leave satisfied, feeling like I have not only burned 500-plus calories, but have also accomplished something that I never thought I could. Amazing.

The other great thing about this activity is that it’s a different experience for each individual participant. Johnny G describes it by saying that "spinning is a unique indoor cycling workout. It brings the elements of athletic training to people of all fitness levels, but contrary to popular belief, Spinning is not just a 'hard-core' fitness program for elite athletes. Instead, this high-energy group exercise integrates music, camaraderie, and visualization in a complete mind/body exercise program. Individualized for participants of any age or ability, the Spinning program uses [a] stationary bike, a simple set of movements and hand positions, and heart rate training to deliver personal empowerment and unparalleled fitness results. In fact, participants in a 40-minute cycling class can burn an average of 500 calories."

As far as workouts go, Spinning is on the top of my list, especially if you like working out in a group or are searching for something a little bit different. Give it a try, but keep in mind that it might take two or three sessions before you get used to all of the different elements. For more information or to find a Spinning class in your area, go to www.spinning.com.