Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spinning Class Torture

Monday, I decided I would expand my exercise horizons and try a spinning class.  I had been warned of the potential dangers of spinning, so I purposely chose the 'Spin Express' class that is only 30 minutes of torture as opposed to a full hour.  In case you are not familiar with spinning, I'll explain it to you.  Basically it is riding a stationary bike while following an instructor's lead on tension settings, when to stand or sit, and how fast to pedal.
The above picture depicts semi-accurately what an actual spinning class is like, except that no one is smiling during class in real life.  Except maybe the instructor who was pretending to actually enjoy the torture.  Because this class was my first experience with this particular type of abuse, the instructor helped me to find the proper height of my seat and told me to hop on to see if it was comfortable.  COMFORTABLE?!?!?!  First of all, the bike itself is about the size of dental floss, so I wasn't sure that it wouldn't crumple beneath me if I gently climbed on, let alone 'hop' on it.  Second of all, the seat is about the size of a television remote control (and about as cushy), turned sideways and wrapped in barbed wire.  I'm not kidding.
So I 'hopped on'.  It was about as comfortable as falling down and landing rear-down on deer antler.  I smiled cautiously, while trying to hide the fact that my nether-region was becoming a huge concern to me.  The man next to me (a first timer as well) looked equally as concerned.  At this point I'm starting to reconsider this decision.  I looked for exit strategies.  A 30 minute water break, begins to seem like a strong possibility.  I hop off the poor excuse for a bicycle and grabbed the lone cushion that is available and added it to my seat.  A rubber eraser would have been just as effective.
So class begins, no turning back now.  In case you were curious, they lock your feet into the pedals for 'safety'.  Really it's so you can't escape.  The instructor turns up the 'Jock Jams' and suggests we turn up the tension setting.  At this point she was laughing an evil witch laugh and there was fire shooting out of her eyeballs.  Maybe I was imagining things, she is really very nice, when she isn't the directer of the torture-disguised-as-an-exercise-class.  The weird thing about these dental floss bikes is that your hips are at the same height as your hands, so you are leaning forward at this really awkward angle.  I am hanging on for dear life, due to the fear of flying over the handlebars (which may as well have been straight edge razor blades), when she tells us to stand up and pedal!  STAND UP?!?!  I can't even do this sitting down!  The only thing that made me follow her instruction was that I was certain that someone was beating me in the tailbone with an aluminum baseball bat.  My poor excuse for this standing pedal maneuver is a flopping jerky movement accompanied by a lovely facial grimace.  But it was either that... or this:
When I get to the point of knowing that death was looming over me, I looked up at the clock.  It was only 10 minutes into class.  I am not kidding.  This is when the instructor has the audacity to say "Listen to your body.  Do what it's telling you to do."  Right.  I didn't tell her that my body was screaming at me to dive of this bike, run away and not stop until I found an ice covered cloud to sit on (and we all know how I feel about running).  The dread-mill was even sounding more appealing at this point.

I somehow managed to finish the entire 30 minutes, although I'm certain that we were in some sort of warped time continuum where each minute is actually 24 hours.  There were only a few reasons I didn't jump off that torture device and never look back.  One, I come from a proud people, looking weak is not something we do well.  Two, I would feel awful if someone hated one of my Yoga classes so much that she had to leave.  And Three (mostly three), I wasn't certain that I could get my toe clips undone fast enough to make a quick escape.  Also, the guy next to me looked like he was hating it worse than me.
When it was time to dismount, I wasn't sure that I would be able to.  I was pretty certain that it was going to take a surgical procedure to remove the seat.  I returned to the safety of the ab and back room where I was making a mental list of the charges to be filed against the bike seat, when the instructor popped her head in to tell me "great job".  I told her that I didn't know about great, but thanks anyway.  I complained to my spinning-loving-friend about the torture of the class and she assured me that it would get better with each class.  EACH CLASS?  Apparently you have to work your rear into the kind of shape that it can withstand that kind of abuse.  No thank you.  You would have to hog-tie and blind-fold me to get me anywhere NEAR another spinning class.  Not unless, of course, the bikes are replaced by a Lazy Boy Chair with pedals.

I guess I should be proud of my self for finishing a whole class and not quitting, but I am still not able to sit comfortably (4 days later), so proud is not something I am able to feel quite yet.

Remember... you're In Good Company.


  1. it will get better! i know it sounds crazy but it will get fun. i didn't think i would like the class but i really did. i took one that was spin and weights. so we would bike and then hop off every once in a while and do some sort of ab, butt, or arm exercises and then hop back on. it was a lot of fun!

  2. I think I may just take your word for it on this one!
    No, I may try it again... I've always heard that you should try something three times before giving up on it completely. We'll see though.


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