Over the years I have had an on/off relationship with spinning. Back in 2014, my Mum was getting married and my sister and I were bridesmaids for her. The three of us started going to Introduction to Spinning at Newport leisure centre. We stuck with it for a few months but after the wedding our motivation dwindles and we stopped going.
Since I joined my gym in January I have been to spinning once. It was 9.15 on a Sunday morning and it was really, really hard. I actually considered getting up and leaving after the first 10 mins! I’m not a morning person so it probably didn’t help that it was so early but I just found it so hard. Having set myself this class challenge I thought I would give it one more go, I mean there must be a reason spinning is so popular, right?
So Wednesday evening I headed to the gym for a 45 min spin class. I loitered around by the lockers to see how many people were joining the class. Only one other girl was choosing a bike. I started to panic a bit; I don’t want to be in a spin class with only one other person! Too much attention will be on me from the instructor and I’m rubbish at spinning.
In my head I was thinking “just go home” but I found myself walking over to the spin studio and choosing my bike. I chose one near the one person in the class but…disaster! The saddle on the bike was way too high and I couldn’t figure out how to adjust it. I didn’t want to ask the instructor for help (I don’t know why, that is what they are there for!) So I moved to a different bike. I sat on the bike and the saddle height was fine, I looked up and realised too late that I was in the instructors direct eye line. Oh no, he will be watching me the whole time and see how poor my leg strength is (again don’t know why I was worrying about this, everyone has to start somewhere). I considered moving bikes but it was too late, other people were joining us and the class was about to get started.
In total there were 8 of us in the class. The instructor, Liam, started us off with taking all the resistance off the bike and just spinning our legs to warm up. He then talked us through the 4 positions we were going to be doing throughout the class. These were:
- Seated with hands on the front handle bars
- Standing tall and straight, engaging your core and looking up and to the front (straight at the instructor in my case!) with fingers lightly touching the bar but not gripping it
- Leaning forward gripping the back handle bars, bum in the air above the seat
- Squat position, squatting between the seat and the handle bars
Hearing about position 4 I started to get nervous again but my bum was seated and my feet were strapped in so it was too late to do anything about it.
We started off with a HIIT workout. For anyone not familiar with HIIT it’s a concept of working as hard as you can for a length of time, say 30 seconds, and then resting for a length of time, another 30 seconds, and then repeating it over and over again. When applied to spinning it just means sprint on the bike as fast as you can until the time is up then rest before repeating. We did this with no resistance and I enjoyed it, it was hard but felt good at the same time.
We then moved on to position work, turning the resistance up a bit then going through the positions one by one. To my surprise I did not find position 2 that hard. I don’t know if it was because of the way I was standing. Liam gave great guidance and advised to stand up straight, bob up and down not sway to side to side and engage your core. We also didn’t have to go too fast which I think helped. I find it so hard to stand and sprint. Position 3 was ok but when we got to position 4 I could not do it. I looked around at the other 7 people in the class and hardly any of them were doing it either so I did not feel too bad putting my bum back down on the seat.
We moved onto a tabata workout. Now tabata is not something I am familiar with so correct me if I’m wrong but it seemed quite like HIIT. We did 20 second sprints then 20 seconds rest and repeated this about 6 times. I can’t remember how we had the resistance for this section but I don’t think it was very high. I found this part challenging but not give up and go home hard. It helped that I had realised there was a timer on my bike so could count down the 20 seconds myself. 20 seconds doesn’t sound long but when you are sprinting on that bike it feels much longer.
The last part of the class was climbs. We did seated and standing climbs starting off slow and speeding up. The resistance started on 0 and moved up in half turns until we got to a level of 4. By the time we got to 4 my legs felt so heavy I could hardly move the pedals!
And then hurrah, the class had finished, we turned the resistance off and spun our legs to cool down. When I got off the bike to complete the cool down stretches, my legs were literally shaking so I knew I had done a good work out.
I much preferred this spinning class to the one I did a few months ago. I didn’t find it as hard and managed to stand for pretty much the full duration every time we were supposed to. I’m not sure if it was just because I am rubbish in the mornings so an evening class is better suited to me, or whether all the work I have been doing in the gym the past few months has increased my leg strength. Either way I actually enjoyed the class and felt good afterwards so I think I will be giving spinning a chance and trying to catch a class at least once or twice a month.
Have you ever done spinning? What did you think of it? Would love to hear from you in the comments!