I've Got the Spins

As a junior in college, I remember when our fitness center got a spinning studio. I was confused, and had never heard of spin before. Sure, I had fooled around on the archaic stationary bike in my grandparent’s basement as a child, but as far as legitimate exercise was concerned, I was convinced that biking in a gym was boring, and couldn’t possibly be a real workout.

One day, Quinnipiac had a health fair and was offering spin classes, so my friend and I decided why not? Let’s try it. I really don’t remember much from that first class, except that my heart rate was elevated and I was dripping in sweat and I was persuaded that, alright, maybe that was a workout after all.

It was a long time until I tried spinning again. Probably over a year later, during one of my many free trials at gyms throughout NYC when I was a poor graduate student. I mainly took classes during my month-long NYSC membership (which you, too, can enjoy once a year!

Then, when my shin splints started getting really bad, I had to seriously cut back on my running.  But of course, I wouldn’t let myself give up all exercise.  So while home one weekend, I sucked it up and paid $15 to go to a spin class at a gym nearby.  It was dark, there were black lights, the music was loud and poppy and fun, and the calories that my Polar heart rate monitor watch said I burned was seriously awesome. I was no longer just a casual spin-class taker when the opportunity presented itself. I was hooked.

(My favorite spin studio- on Long Island!)

When you first start taking spin classes, you feel awkward. At least, I know I did.  You think everyone else knows what they’re doing, makes it look easy, and holy hell, how are they not wincing with severe butt pain?! But stick with it, because eventually you’ll learn how to set your bike, what the different positions mean, what the heck the instructor means when they say to get ready for jumps and climbs, and no, your butt won’t hurt that badly forever!

There are so many things I love about spinning. I’m not going to lie, I love the fact that it burns A LOT of calories. But there’s so much more to it. It’s never boring (if you have a good instructor.) Throughout one class you’ll do interval training, strength training, hills, jumps and depending on the type of studio you’re at, even some arm and ab work!

The music is loud and pumps you up and when your instructor has a playlist that you like, and you lock your pedal strokes in with the rhythm, you feel. so. awesome.

I also like that there is such a HUGE variety of different types of spin studios and instructors.  What works for one person may not work for everyone, so it’s definitely important to try all different types of classes with all different types of instructors before you give up on spinning! Maybe one day you’re in the mood for a class with John from SoulCycle because you leave a sweaty beast and he plays rap and techno during class while kicking your ass with 10 minute climbs and intervals.  But then the next day you wake up and need some California Dreamin’ hills with Harriet the Hippy instructor who has you closing your eyes and “becoming one with the bike.”

(I am totally content with basic NYSC spin classes!)

I’ve tested out my fair share of spin classes (you can read about my first SoulCycle experience here) and they each have something unique- so shop around until you find the place that feels like the right fit for you!

Oh, and check out this funny Buzzfeed about people who spin ;)