On Monday I ventured to my first Spinning class ever. Now that my marathon training is over, I have set myself the task of trying out new classes to find out which ones I enjoy. I’ve always been really intimidated by the thought of group exercise classes as I have never felt fit enough and didn’t want to embarrass myself. With my fitness levels at the highest they’ve been for years, I decided to bite the bullet and give classes another go.
I signed up for a week free class pass at Fitness First through Zest magazine, and used my first class token after work. I was luckily allowed to sign up over the phone as it was my first class, but normally the list opens half an hour before the class. It was chaos at the reception desk when I arrived with people trying to sign up, A very unhelpful guy behind the desk was being rude to everyone, including me, and claimed to know nothing about the Zest deal. He was also telling people to go and get changed before signing up, yet when those people came back to sign up, the list was full. Thankfully I was already on the list so grabbed my token and went to get changed.
The room was packed with people and bikes, and most of the bikes had water and towels on. At first I thought this was a thoughtful extra from the gym, complimentary water bottles would be so nice, however I quickly found out that they were already taken! I found one free bike right at the back in the corner, which suited me fine for my first time.
The instructor came in and seemed to know quite a few people- always a good sign that people are returning to one of his classes. He asked if it was anyone’s first time- er only me! He came over and explained how to increase the resistance and checked that my pedals were the right level, and said that I could go out and get water any time in needed to.
Note to self; bring water and a towel to the next spinning class!
The lights went off with only UV lights still on, and the music cranked up, creating a disco/nightclub vibe. It felt oddly exciting, and made me feel a lot less self-conscious knowing that no-one could see me! Unfortunately, it was at this point that I discovered my black top and leggings were covered with white specks that showed up bright and clear on my clothes- I promise they were clean!
We began with a warm up, with a low resistance and some stretching, and push ups on the bike.
We then upped our resistance… I didn’t crank it up too much as I didn’t know how my legs would feel. I don’t cycle much, and this was my first post-marathon exercise. We alternated between sitting and standing, increasing our resistance gradually for 7 minutes on what our instructor called ‘A killer hill’. We were at a effort level of 10/10 for the final minute and my thighs started to feel the burn. Next we turned the resistance right down and did some sprints.
Then on to intervals; changing up the resistance for 90 seconds of high resistance standing cycling, followed by 30 seconds on low resistance sitting. This was pretty tough, and really got me sweating and my heart pumping. I was really glad to be directly by the air conditioning unit especially with the ‘no towel or water’ situation.
Our final push was another long ‘hill’ where we started at an effort level of 7/10 and cranked it up to 10 again. After a cool down, we hopped off our bikes to stretch out our legs. (I actually got stuck between my bike and the wall and the sweet lady next to me had to help me out).
I actually really enjoyed the class, and felt like I’d had a good cardio workout. My feet are still feeling a little fragile and so it was nice to get some cardio in without running! It’s also good to get a bit of cylcing practice in before I get back on my real bike and on the road- not to mention the cycling bit I am doing as part of a relay triathlon in 2 months time! With all that in mind, I will definitely be incorporating spinning classes into my new workout routine.