As I finished a class at Scenic Cycle in the City (Sydney) the other day, it struck me that I’ve written about all sorts of workouts like F45, Tabata, Barre, CrossFit, running… but never about the cardio workout that I actually love the most.
Spin is kinda my ‘thing’.
But it hasn’t always been that way.
Spin was the first class that I took when I tentatively started my fitness journey a couple of years ago. My PT persuaded me to give it a go to mix up my routine. I chose a seat right at the back (as all newbies do, right?), tried to keep up (failed dismally) and just about managed to keep it together (didn’t actually vomit but was pretty darn close). I’m not even going to tell you how sore I was afterwards.
I hated it.
But I went back. And again. And before long, I was the spin queen.
For a while there, I was doing four or five spin classes a week. Now I do one or two (because I have added running and CrossFit and yoga into my weekly schedule) and I get very very sad if I can’t make that 6am class on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. They fill me up with good vibes.
My regular classes are at my local gym, Energize. My fave instructors are the ones who take the time to choreograph the action to the music – whether you’re on light gears or heavy, standing or seated, sprinting or climbing – it’s always more fun if it’s to the beat of a great track that’s cranking out of the speakers.
At the Nike NTC Event earlier in the year, the spin class was run by the awesome team from Vicious Cycle in Bondi… there were nearly 200 bikes and we even had individual headphones for a ‘silent disco’ version… It was my favourite part of the day. Can you tell?!
And as I said, I’ve just finished a class at the new Scenic Cycle where they have massive screens that take you on a virtual tour as you ride (they have different ‘routes’ per class, ours was a tour around the world… we ‘rode’ through New York, Hong Kong, San Fransisco, Lake Tekapo, Hawaii…). If you’re struggling with the effort, the beautiful view can help inspire you to pedal harder. Or at least take your mind off it until time’s up 😉
Scenic Cycle also has bikes that track your power wattage output , RPM and expended energy so you can compete with yourself (or your classmates) week in, week out and plot your fitness levels rising.
If you’ve never tried spin, or need convincing to give it another go, here are 10 reasons to jump on that bike.
10 Reasons Why Spinning is Winning
- You’re in control – because you’re in charge of the gears/resistance/tension on your bike, you can dial the workout up or down depending on your level, whether you’ve been sick or injured, how you’re feeling… so you can push yourself a little bit harder each time. Or you can lay off the resistance if that’s what your body is asking for today.
- Solo training vs Group Ex; Best of both worlds – you get the vibe of a group–ex class (yes, you can laugh at 6am on a cold winter morning and yes I have made lasting friendships with my front row posse)… but you’re still in your own little world on your own bike, so you’re not so ‘exposed’ if you know what I mean. No-one else needs to know if you really couldn’t go any higher on the resistance during the last track. You don’t need to know all the steps to a zumba routine. You don’t need to worry about ‘coming last’ in a running race or workout ‘for time’. Comparison is the thief of joy. In spin, you can zone out, tune into the music and get lost in your own pedals whilst feeding off the energy in the room. Perfect.
- Hello! It burns calories – you can burn around 500 calories in a 45 minute class if you’re doing it right. ‘Nuff said.
- It’s knee-friendly – Spin is high intensity but low impact. So it’s a better form of cardio workout than running, for example, if you have bad knees or you’re carrying an injury.
- Legs 11 – because you’re using your major muscle groups in your legs a LOT during spin class, it shouldn’t be too long before those legs are looking leaner and more toned. Amen to that.
- You can track your progress – even without the fancy bikes that track your stats, you can make a mental note of calories burned, kms cycled, highest wattage output etc and see how you’re improving as time goes by. Rode 15kms today? Go for 16 next time…
- It continues to challenge – Even though I’ve been spinning for a couple of years, it doesn’t feel any easier… that’s because our instructor keeps making it harder haha (because she knows we can handle it). We just have to rise to that challenge. So although it doesn’t get easier, we do accomplish more in the same time. And even if your instructor isn’t taking you along that ride, you can do it yourself by increasing your resistance more and more as time goes by.
- Endorphin rush – Spin gets your heart rate up. It makes you sweat. And if you’re loving the music too, well, it can feel euphoric. When you’re done, you feel completely and utterly brilliant – no matter how you feel when you rock up (and believe me, there are days when I’ve felt so tired and not ‘in the mood’ and grumpy as all-get-out) you always always leave the spin class on a high. Totally sets you up for the day, you feel as alive as you’ll ever feel after a good class.
- Spin builds stamina – your cardio endurance will improve over time with regular spin classes as you get used to going harder for longer and turning up that resistance. Our instructor also devises her classes to help train our bodies to deal with increased lactic acid build up. And, of course, as with any regular aerobic workout, we’re constantly improving our cardio vascular system. Winning.
- Path of least resistance – you don’t need any expensive equipment. You don’t need to rely on good weather. You don’t need to be a road cyclist or have any special experience. You can more or less jump on a spin bike and get going. So do it. Jump on.
So what are you waiting for?
Jump on a bike, give it a few classes to ease yourself in, and I reckon you’ll never look back. Well, maybe only to see how far you’ve cycled. Go claim that yellow jersey.
Meanwhile, in the US of A…