Spin Class: What to Expect During Your Tour de France
For those of you who don't spin regularly, I understand your hesitation. It's an intimidating looking class (some may even call it self inflicted torture)! When I lived in San Diego I would go to the YMCA take their low key spin class. Then I moved to New York City and was overwhelmed by the fancy spinning boutique gyms like Soul Cycle and my personal favorite Flywheel.
Taking the plunge and going to your first spin class can be really intimidating. Everyone looks like they know what they are doing or like they've been doing it all their lives. But spinning is a great workout and a great way to cross train if you are training for an endurance race. This is what you can expect during a spin class:
1. You Will Spend All Your Money.
What the hell do all these people do for a living and how do they afford these classes. Classes range from $30-$35 A SESSION! That is basically highway robbery! But I mean, it's worth it....and when you think about what you normally spend that money on, like eating out or drinks, it's hard not to spend it on your beast body.
2. You won't know what you are doing.
Don't know how to set up your bike? Not sure what that turny nob thing does? Don't know how to "click in?" No worries! Just ask! It's OK to be new! Everyone was new at one point. When I used to spin I never had fancy spinning shoes. We simply wore gym shoes. But at a spin boutique you get a pair of shoes and you click into the bike. I took my first class here in the city last week and I couldn't get out of the bike. I won the class (again there really isn't winning...even though I did win...) and I had to leave my shoes on the bike and walk out barefoot, like a boss. Just raise your hand and ask for help!
Nervous? DON'T BE! Here is my advice, don't go 100% in the beginning. There is nothing worse than pooping out halfway through the class. Warm into it and make sure you have the energy to finish strong. Spend the first couple of classes getting to know the bike, the different positions in and out of the saddle, and what resistance levels you work at.
4. You probably won't understand half the class.
Loud music and a yelling professor will have you asking yourself, "What did they just say?" It drives me crazy! I can't understand half the class and then when everyone knows what they are doing I want to ask what sort of sorcery they use to understand. If you can't make out what the teacher is saying, don't worry about it. They will repeat themselves and you'll figure it out. Just keep spinning and look around. You'll figure it out. When in doubt, add some resistance and some speed.
5. An awesome Instructor.
In my experience, on average, there are 3 different types of instructors.
The Drill Sergeant: Put your big girl or boy pants on because you're about to get your ass whooped. This is my personal favorite because you aren't about to half ass a workout when someone is looking you in the eye saying "I KNOW YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT!"
The Motivational Speaker: This guy or gal is not only going to give you a killer workout but they are going to put your life into perspective. Get ready to have your mind blown.
The Fun, Cool, Inspirational Teacher: Brace yourself for some warm and fuzzies. This person is hellbent on reminding you that yes you are amazing and yes you are incredible. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO! With this teacher, there is a 100% chance you'll be smiling the entire time.
6. Spinning in the Dark
The first time they turned the lights off I just about peed myself. Spinning in the dark definitely takes some getting used to but it's much more fun than spin class in the light. I love that you don't have to worry about what you look like because I sweat like a mad woman. (AND being in the dark makes peeking at your neighbors screen easier, you know so you work harder than them.)
7. Location is Key.
To afraid to sit in the front row? Here's what you can expect. Enjoy that view. Enjoy it.
8. Spin For Your Life.
Hills, sprints, intervals, and an arm workout. Push yourself. Find your threshold and break it.
9. Time Is Ambiguous.
20 seconds actually means 40 seconds. 30 seconds actually means 1 minute. Either it's a sick game or these teachers are all trying to inception your brain. "20 seconds left" they scream! Then 20 seconds later "10 seconds, you got this! Don't give up now!"
10. Get Competitive.
It drives me crazy when someone looks like they are working harder than me. And then when the torq board is involved I'm like, "WHO THE HELL IS ON BIKE 3!?!?!?!? OH NO THEY DIDN'T!" The best part about spinning is everything happens in short bursts. There is lots of time for active recovery so you can give it your all and then take 20 seconds to catch your breath. USE THOSE ACTIVE RECOVERIES! Need an extra 5 seconds, take them. And drink tons of water. I go through 2-3 water bottles a class because I am a water hog.
11. Your Legs Will Feel Like They Are Going to Fall Off.
Expect your legs to feel like they got run over by a bus and then a train. It's half the fun.
12. Spaghetti Legs.
Your legs may or may not feel like spaghetti after class. I can't even stretch right after the class because my legs shake so badly. Last week I couldn't even get off the bike. Take your time dismounting. Take your time. Because if you worked your little tooshy off you may need a little longer to recover. That doesn't make you weak, that makes you a bigger bad ass.
Otherwise take a victory lap because you are basically Lance Armstrong!
This week you know where I will be, riding dirty trying not to go crazy since I can't run. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I'm getting a little worried about my knee. But I am headed to physical therapy this week so hopefully they can help me out. Until tomorrow friends, #RunSelfieRepeat.