The View from a Spinning Class

Being a determined ‘spinner’ and having a strong desire to challenge my ‘inner cello’ form, I have years of experience in the spinning studio. The classes, which are usually 45 minutes long, demand only 4% of my day, leaving the other 96% to feel charged and a little bit pleased with myself. I hope that this blog will appeal to anyone who is considering spinning (also known as Indoor Cycling).  It may resonate with readers who do spin and may wish to share their experiences with me.

Fellow spinners come in many different shapes, sizes and ages and bring with them different attitudes to this intense activity.

Spinning Essentials

A drink and a towel to hand are a must

A water bottle (maybe with an energy tablet)
A small towel – great to mop the brow or to cover the handlebars if they feel a tad ‘sticky’ from previous use.
Loose, thin top – sleeveless is good as it gets exceedingly hot and the studios I have visited rarely have air-conditioning. Lycra cropped leggings or cycling shorts are a must.  Many people bring their own ‘gel’ saddle-cover to avoid any potential discomfort ‘down there’. Ladies don’t go for a spin in a g-string. You will miss most of the instructions and benefit of the class while fearing that you will slice yourself in half or by trying to discreetly remove the narrow gusset from your front bottom!

Trainers or maybe cycling shoes (cleats) as most bikes are adapted to both types of footwear and cleats can allow you to produce a more powerful pedal.

In my experience, those that are the most ‘relaxed’ in their attire are the hardest grafters. The indoor cyclist that turns up in full road cycling gear, including cleats, tend to miss several minutes of the class. They distract faffing with their bike positions, bibbed shorts, cycling shoes, water bottle and provisions for the class. The designer gym wearer is, in my general observation, less likely to get the most out of the class. They seem to spin their legs with less resistance, bouncing in the saddle and fail to get the benefit of a varied routine. Such spinners don’t seem to sweat as much as the person next to them who is wearing an old pair of cycling shorts and a faded dayglo t-shirt.

Before the first spin, ask the instructor to help you adjust your spin bike to suit your dimensions. It is a very unfulfilling experience to spend 45 minutes feeling that you are riding a penny-farthing or indeed a child’s chopper.

The Advantages of Spinning

You will not get knocked off your bike.
The rain will not soak you.
A rogue pothole will not unseat you.
The class is generally shared in the company of like-minded, friendly people (but do read on as that is not always the case).
You know just how long this form exercise will take and the amount of effort and challenge is entirely up to you.  Give it 100%!

The Disadvantages of Spinning

Fresh air is limited. Indeed, you may find that you are sharing the same regurgitated air as everyone else so if there are any coughs and sneezes those germy critters could be fanned into your heaving lungs.

I mentioned that most of my companions are like-minded and focused on sharing the experience. I have been preoccupied with fellow spinners who talk to each other during the session … if you can chat you are certainly not giving it your all!

Should any Spinning Instructors read this …

Spinning classes can be excellent, invigorating fun and to leave feeling happy having given everything to three-quarters of an hour of intense activity is entirely up to the instructor.

Good Spinning Instructors smile and check that everyone is fit for purpose. Friendliness is imperative to me … I haven’t been draughted to the parade ground – I have found the time to get to class and don’t want to regret the effort. Well planned, varied classes to music that doesn’t monotonously thump so loudly that instructions and encouragement (a positive word or two motivates more than a bark) can’t be heard.

To leave a class with a sweaty smile, having had a challenging experience with my spinning tribe, is perfect. To feel that I have just had a brush with a patronising dictator with a terrible taste in music is not good for my figure – I may not make the effort to go back!

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Published by Carol

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