Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why I love spin class.

Spin is not famous for causing warm, fuzzy feelings. (Ok, warm feelings, but that's more about excessive sweating.)

We all know that running is my first fitness love.  But I went to spin when I was hurt and I've kept it up.  I've got to tell you though, I was nervous as hell for my first class.

My husband thinks it's an abomination.  He actually cycles long distance, so he does not understand the appeal of working hard but not actually going anywhere.  And I totally get that.  But, as I've told him, spin isn't trying to replicate cycling outside.  It's a completely different animal.

If you've never tried it, you should.  Classes vary, but I can tell you how mine go. 

E= express.  This one is only 45 minutes at the Y, but it's on Thursday night and it's good for a good sweat session. It's not as hard, but they do expect you to work a little bit harder since it's shorter.
I= intervals.  This class is all about "1 minute sprint" "30 second recovery" "2 minute sprint" etc.  Now this, as with anything, is based on what you decide to do.  It's not like the teacher has control.  But I believe that if you're going to show up for class, you might as well push yourself!
H= hills.  My favorite.  This is when you start cranking up that little red knob on the bike.  And then you crank it some more.  And then a little more. And then, it feels like you're riding up hill through peanut butter and you crank it up a little more.  And by then, if your heart rate isn't in a crazy place and you're not pouring sweat, you need to crank it up MORE. 

I can hear the chorus of you: "Why, Sarah, that sound like pure-t hell."

Ok.  I get that. But there is something really fun about pushing yourself to a kind of uncomfortable place.  Only spin does that for me.  When running, I'm so conscious of form and aware of injuries, that I never push myself *that* hard.  But in spin, I go all out.  And it feels AWESOME.

A couple of things to remember when you go try spin class:
1.  If you've never been, ask the instructor to help you adjust the bike.  It's not complicated, but there are settings that will make your life easier.
2.  Bike shorts are acceptable, and will help you get used to sitting.  You need these more in the interval type classes because you're "out of the saddle" a lot in hills classes, so the extra padding is not necessary. 
3. If you have them, clip in shoes.  I wear regular tennis shoes and use the clips on the bike.  You want to pull up during spin class - not just push down as you're probably used to on a real bike.
4.  Bring lots of water.  (see aforementioned pouring sweat comment)
5. Also, bring a towel.  (are you getting the whole "sweaty" thing?)
6. Try not to lock your elbows.  A  good instructor will try to remind you of this periodically.
7.  Remember, you control your resistance.  No one knows but you.  But, that doesn't give you license to punk out.  I just tell you this so you know you can take a moment to recover if you need to!

So, go give it a go!  Cross training isn't all bad, and this is a great way to get that heart pumping.

What exercise have you done lately that you never thought you would try?


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