Tuesday, March 10, 2009

An exploration in self-torture: Spin class

Around the second week of January I decided that I needed to get in shape. This is probably a decision I should have made, oh, two or three years ago, but nonetheless, since then I have been going to the gym for about 45 minutes each day for five days a week. I been changing up what I've been doing a variety of cardio activities, primarily focusing on the elliptical machine and the ergometer (rowing machine).



Last week I decided to try out the spin classes that they offer at the campus rec center. I had never done one before, but knew they were supposed to be hard. I asked a classmate of mine, a former Green Beret, about what to expect since I knew that he had done them. He told me to prepare to leave my dignity at the door. In spite of this dire warning, I went anyways.

He certainly wasn't bluffing. Spin class does a great job of combining the experience of riding a bike with all the charm of 45 minutes of pure masochism. It kicked my ass that first time, and has kicked it the other four times that I've been since then. There are two girls who teach the classes here at Clemson, both of whom have their individual styles. One girl makes it much more like an aerobics class in that she plays technoed-out versions of Top 40 songs and many of the exercises center around keeping to the beat of the music. While the music itself is pretty miserable and while this isn't really my favorite style, the workout does seem to have more structure and certainly gets the job done. The other girl plays much better music (including two Metallica songs, though I will knock off points for playing a Creed song and a Nickelback song), and the workouts seem more oriented towards the music itself (go hard during the upbeat chorus, back off when back to the verse). I'm not sure which girl I hate more (I actually like both of them, though 20 minutes in I begin to resent them when I start to feel like I'm going to keel over).

A great benefit of spin class is how I am usually only one of two or three guys in there. The downside of this is 1. In the middle of the workout, I couldn't care less who was in the class since I am simply attempting to not die, and 2. When I finish I am such a sweaty beast that I'm not sure that any girl in there would even consider talking to me.


Not actually me, but not too far off from the truth...

In spite of what it may sound like, I have been enjoying spin class and really feel like I get a great workout every time I go. I suggest giving it a try if it is offered at your local gym.

9 comments:

Death Bredon said...

I'd rather ride my bicycle naked in a blizzard that sit indoors in spin class. Spinning classes are physical and psychological torture!!!

Anonymous said...

Spin is a great way to get in shape. If you stick with it, be prepared to shell out major bucks for new clothing, as you will experience size changes...

Anonymous said...

Get yourself one kettlebell that is fairly heavy for you and learn to do swings, cleans, presses and add in some squats, pushups, sprinting and other simple stuff. Go to the park or wherever and mix it up for 45 minutes or so. I kick the soccerball around as well. I can't stand gyms personally. Here is one place you can get a kettlebell or just find a heavy dumbell

http://www.muscledriverusa.com/grsev2ke.html

-Kevin

Memphis88 said...

I've only heard terrifying things about spin classes. That said, I want to give it a try soon.

trip said...

Kevin,

I have actually looked into CrossFit, and do try to incorporate some of their exercises from time to time. These include kettlebell swings, though I do them with a dumbbell since I don't have a kettlebell. At some point I would like to join a CrossFit gym as I feel like their model is one that I can get on board with. In the mean time, I have a "free" membership to the campus gym, so I figure I'll take advantage of it as much as I can.

Anonymous said...

I here you, free is where it is at and I should say a campus gym is really a different story. The crossfit stuff works. I was fully into it about 5 years ago and got into great shape but these people are completely nuts and I don't like to pay people for a workout when I can do it myself. Playing a sport is even better. Why do something you don't enjoy during your free time. Give it hell. -Kevin

Sarah Margaret said...

I like how you tagged this entry as "dying"...I did a spin class once and no matter how much I ate I never felt full for over three days. You burn a lot of calories in those classes! Proud of you for going to more than one.

eric said...

spin class is scary. some instructors seem like they are there to torture you, like if you dont fall off your bike, their class was a failure. on the flipside, you WILL get in shape in notime!

Miss. King said...

It is a AWESOME way to lose weight, and get in shape! I have gone to about 9 classes, and have dropped 23 pounds! It is VERY hard but so worth the results... Lord have mercy on my butt!!! Ouch!