Monday, January 14, 2013

Love At First Spin

My sister-in-law convinced me to take gym classes with her this summer. Although I had access to free gym classes for the last four YEARS, I had never taken a single class. We did Zumba, which was fun but challenging for my uncoordinated self. At one point, I looked so absolutely ridicilous trying to do the moves that I had nothing left to lose and simply made up my own. Also, I never felt like I had gotten enough of a workout from Zumba. I'm curious how many calories you actually burn in a class. Weight lifting was also fun, until I threw out my back from the weights! Then, one day, we took the class with the funny name: spin.

At first, I had low expectations for the class. I've never been that fond of bicycling. The long-time long distance runner in me always prefered to set my beloved Nike Pegasus shoes to pavement over hopping onto a bicycle. I was an elitist runner who thought cycling was inferior and not challenging enough. I soon discovered that a 20 mile spin class was so much different than a childhood bike ride around the park.

I quickly became obsessed with spin class. It was perfect: travel 20 miles without going anywhere, no pounding which was good news for my runner's knee, fun music, a group setting which still allowed to tailor your ride to your own needs/skill level. And I was amazed by the amount of sweat that dripped off my face by the end of the hour long class. At first I was disgusted by the pool of sweat I left on the floor. But it quickly became my badge of fitness. The best part, however, is hopping off the bike at the end of class and landing on legs made of jello. Then, I always end my workout by "sprinting" a mile as fast as I can. I shocked myself last week when I was able to crank out a 6:30 minute mile. That's not fast, for a runner, but it was proof to me that my 2.5 mile walking commute and my spin class are really keeping me fit. I used to feel about walking the same way that I felt about biking....

After a couple of spin classes, I quickly learned that there is a downside to cycling: sore butt bone. Each spin class left me with a sore butt that lasted for an entire week and made it painful to sit. At my next class, I took cues from the people around me and bought a padded seat cover. I must have an especially sensitive butt bone because this did NOTHING. Five days later, I still found myself sitting very gingerly and avoiding cross-legged sitting.

That is when I discovered that the funny tights the cyclists were wearing actually have a purpose other than to make you look ridiculous. Those tights are padded! No wonder they look so funky! Today, I bit the bullet and bought my first pair of padded cycling shorts. I have no idea if they worked because my butt is still sore from my spin class three days ago. But let's just hope I'm not wearing these suckers for no reason:

Do these padded shorts make my butt look strong? They were kind of pricey, so now I HAVE to go to at least 40 more classes...

Hey look! I sweated in the shape of a heart!

Also, why is it not standard practice to sing along with the spinning sound track. How can anyone exercise to "Living on a Prayer" and NOT sing along? Come on!

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