The holidays don’t have me swirling around in a daze of busyness. However, the spin class I took nearly sent me over the edge. For those of you who love to spin – more power to you. For those who have never tried it, let me give you a first timer’s experience.
My dear friend shared a free coupon she received to try a spin class at Soul Cycle. I looked online to find a class time that worked for us and we set a date. On a Monday, after dropping our boys at school, we headed to Pasadena. The business is impressive. It was brightly lit with yellow decor. We signed in then signed our life away on the waiver. After selecting our bike location (out of 50 bike stations), I noticed a jar of yellow earplugs. I inquired. The woman said, “The music can get kinda loud in the room.” My heart rate started increasing at that moment. I love music but loud “boom-boom” contemporary stuff can overwhelm me.
We were guided to lockers where we put our stuff and shoes. We slipped on the specialized shoes they gave us that included metal contraptions to clip onto the bike. Walking was slippery. When the doors open and the prior class exited, everyone was dripping sweat. I looked at my friend who also looked concerned that everyone was so sweaty. We agreed it would be a good workout.
A kind woman, who was a regular and several years older than us, said it is a lot of fun, intimidating at first, and the music is very loud. She encouraged us that we could do it.
I walked into the darkened room and had to remember to breath. It was warm, small, dark, and had tight aisles between the rows of bikes. We squeezed our way to the back row where bike 45 and 46 were. Since we were new, a worker showed us how to clip in and out, where the emergency brake was located and explained a bit about the way the bike worked. I inquired how to exit if I freaked out when it got darker and more full of people. (Claustrophobics would not take this class. I barely could.)
The instructor entered and the lights dimmed. The only lights on were at the front where the instructor was. She greeted everyone and said a special hello and word of encouragement to us 2 newbies. It was a welcoming place. Then the music started and the intensity began.
The pounding beat of the music began. I actually liked the songs. I was grateful for the ear plugs. Without them, my ears were in pain. Very loud is an understatement. Within a few moments, everyone in the class got off the seat of the bike and stood upright. You are clipped into the pedals and can stand with your hands on the handlebars and your toes are pointed downward while you keep pedaling. Yes it is as complicated as it sounds.
I braved standing only to feel immense pain in my upper thighs. These aren’t bicycle muscles I was using. I like to bike and do so often, but biking doesn’t use the same muscles as spin. I sat back down after 30 seconds. I think the most I stood at one time was 2 minutes. I see that it is something you need to do regularly to build up that particular muscle group. While everyone stood, I sat and tried to join in the other motions.
We did push-ups on the handlebars. We moved side to side on the beat. We pedaled faster. At one point, everyone sat down and we pulled out hand weights tucked under the seat of the bike. The nice gal next to me showed me where they were. At one point, I slowed to a snails pace and took deep breaths when my heart rate got dangerously high. I pedaled the whole time, even after I tightened the tension when I thought I was loosening it. Ugh.
The final stretch felt good. However, I only did one side because you unclip one foot, stretch, then clip back in and do the other side. I could never reclip. When I stood up to exit, I had spaghetti legs. I thought I was going to fall down. I didn’t though.
We all exited and returned to our lockers. I was grateful to get the shoes off and sit down without pedaling. The worker who helped us appeared with a welcome gift (a free pass to come again) and a huge smile. He asked how we liked it. I said, “It was loud and hard, but I did it.”
Would I do it again? I doubt it. The environment isn’t my style. Would I recommend it? If you like high energy, high impact, high intensity, then go for it. I am grateful to my friend for encouraging me to try something new. We went together because new things can be intimidating. Doing it with a friend, makes it manageable and fun. She and I now share a memory that I guarantee will last a life time. For that alone, it was worth it.