Decision, decisons…I know. Seriously I could only dream of Le Tour de France. For now, I will pedal it out on a stationary bike. For my fellow spandex wearing indoor cyclists, you know what this is all about. For those of you who think spinning is something in the Rumpelstilskin fairy tale, you may not be so far off. I guess I can see where you could relate spinning to a fairy tale. As taken from Wikipedia, Rumpelstilzchen in German means literally “little rattle stilt”. (A stilt is a post or pole which provides support for a structure.) I can see the correlation. The stationary bike is the post and the “spinner” is the structure. It is a sure bet, that when you are pedaling like it’s nobody’s business, that stilt better support your behind. Little rattle stilt…I sort of like the ring to that!
Well, I started spinning, the stationary bike kind, on a more regular basis. It is a great workout that can potentially burn 400-700 calories in an hour spin class covering approximately 13-18 miles depending on your pace. I definitely feel I am getting my spin on. Since I consume 64 ounces of H2O in one hour and walk out of class like I just got caught on a golf course when the evening sprinklers cranked on at full blast, I’d say I was working it!
Spin class is a nice balance of cardio and strength and if I was to get on a “real” bike out on the roadways, I am sure I would have a significant amount of improved endurance. Well, we sure would hope so! In my particular spin class they have an overhead fan that could provide enough energy for a nuclear power plant. The instructor is poised on a stage for your maximum viewing pleasure. I sort of feel like they are perched up there higher like a hawk soaring above watching for its next prey.
The class participants come in all shapes, sizes and athletic ability. You have your quiet, conservative spinsters who won’t dare break a bead of sweat and then there is your Rah-Rah Shish Koom Ba all pumped up participants. There are plenty of people who wish they took a restorative yoga class instead of strapping themselves into the stir-ups for an hour ride too. Then there are those outside cyclists who take the art of spinning to a whole ‘nother level.
Then there is me. A little athleticism and a lot of endurance who definitely wants to maximize a workout with a ton of potential to be the next cyclist at Le Tour De France. Yet, until yesterday, I was lacking the whole imagery thing. So, as you know, there is this mega fan to part aid in the cooling feature but also to possible simulate like you are riding into the wind. The instructors always dedicate “the ride” to a location. Some locations include but are not limited to Hawaii, Nashville, Italy and the streets of New York City.
So here’s me getting frustrated that I can’t imagine we are riding down Haleakala clinging to our handle bars with white knuckles in fear of going over into the Pacific. Until yesterday, I just never understood why we can’t just pedal to the metal with some great music and call it quits in an hour. I didn’t get what the whole imagery thing had to do with working out.
Then somewhere along mile 6, right about where my instructor started to resemble Captain Dan in the Forrest Gump Storm Scene (go ahead youtube it you – you know you want to), I found my imagery on a stationary bike. We were beginning our mountain climb and turning up our resistance to hill number three. Then it happened. I began envisioning myself climbing up the Jura Mountains north of the Alps between the Rhone and Rhine Rivers. The wind (aka big metal fan breeze) pushing against me. I had to get past the other cyclists and the climb was getting harder and then I found my rhythm and spun like Rumplelstiltskin did for the young women on the third night of her deadline. In the fairy tale and my reality, that was pretty darn fast.
I can’t really explain it but I get it now. The whole sensory imagery thing. It is okay to pretend and let go. Nobody knows what you are thinking. Just like nobody knows where your resistance level is set. You know what I mean spinners. We have all cheated our way through a workout.
So, in fairy tale fashion, the moral is make your spin class your ride. If you have never ventured into a “spin room,” venture in, saddle up, strap in and enjoy the ride. Afterall, it is your ride, your imagery and your workout. I have compiled a “must do” list when attending a spin class to help you in your efforts. Don’t be shy, go for it!
The Must Do’s for your Spin Woos
(Disclosure: Please contact a professional spin instructor on how to achieve the best spin experience)
1. You best get your jug on. That’s right, at least a minimum of 32 ounces of water. You want to be H2O plentiful!
2. Saddle up! You will be sitting, also known as “in the saddle”, running, sprinting, jumping and climbing all on a stationary bike for 45 minutes to an hour. Tweek those bike settings to the most comfortable and safe positions as you can. Please note, it will take you a few classes to find your right adjustment. Write your settings down for easy remembrance.
3. Strap In. If you lose yourself on a stationary bike, you want to have those foot stir-ups nice and tight. That’s right. You don’t want to be pedaling like a you know what and your feet lose grip. That will be a hurtful casuality.
4. Have your duo-dry sweat wicker at close range. If you are working out to your full potential (it is okay to push yourself too) then you will want to mop it up. We can’t have any blurred vision from sweat drips or slipped grips on the handle bars.
5. Pedal to the music. Assuming your instructor is tempo literate, listen to the beats and pedal to the tune. There is nothing worse than pedaling off beat.
6. “Really” use the resistance knob. You’ll see what this is all about when you get going. You can turn it up and then back it down with a flick of the wrist. Don’t back down unless instructed to. Set the pace that works for you but don’t cheat yourself.
7. Enjoy the ride. Whether you can visualize the Alps or feel like you are venturing to H-E double hockey sticks, embrace the ride.
So, I hope you all get out there and maximize your ride or venture to try it out. Let go of your thoughts, your lists of things to do and set out on your journey to reach your destination. You get “there” by doing. So strap in, pedal to the tune and set your mind free. You will get to that place you desire to be!
I want to leave you with one final thought taken right out of a spin class.
“Push yourself. Make it happen. Don’t hold back! If you have that being punched in the stomach feeling, then you are in the right place!”
– Kris (my favorite spin instructor)