Spinning Monkey On My Back

spinning class, fitness

Don’t think I’m addicted to cycling? Well I just picked up a pair of cycling shoes. Tomorrow I’m installing the cleats so i can clamp my shoe on the pedal. Oh, the spinning addiction is real!

Well my November Fitness Challenge – 2 spin classes/week – may be over, but I can’t stop spinning! It’s official. I’m addicted to that damn cycling class.

How bad is it? After the first two weeks of my challenge, it was clear those 2 classes per week weren’t enough. To get my fix I’m now doing 4 classes a week.  Heck, I did back-to-back classes Sunday morning.

I leave each class feeling exhausted and amazing.  No other exercise – weight training, yoga, walking/running – makes me feel the way I do after spinning.  There are five things that make spinning awesomely great.

1. I’m In Control
Yes, I follow the instructor. But I’m in complete control when it comes to setting pace or the resistance levels. I’m pushing myself as much as possible, but when fatigue hits (and it does) then I can slow my speed or my tension until I’m able to catch up. Sure I’m in a class, but it’s my own personal workout.

2. I Feel The Difference In My Runs
Since I started cycling, I’ve noticed a difference in my 5k-interval training. I’m a little faster, I’m not as winded after a session, my legs feel stronger and my knees recover much faster.

3. Spinning Kicks Everyone’s A$$
Doesn’t matter if you are overweight or buff, spinning is an equal opportunity destroyer. When I walked into my first spin class, I felt self-conscious. I found a bike in a corner in the back of the room. For some bizarre reason I thought people would watch the fat chick trying to pedal. Ha! When spinning, folks are doing their own thing. You have no idea what resistance levels your classmates are using. Plus everyone gets fatigued and lightens the tension settings…everyone, including the instructors.

4. I Love The Group Environment
Most group exercises I can do without. I find them boring.  I’ve had the complete opposite experience with my spin classes. There’s so much excitement and energy in the class it feeds your workout.

5. Awesome Music
I know nothing about newer music. With few exceptions, if it’s after 1995 I won’t have a clue. Spin class has introduced me to some great new music like…well, I can’t name the artists, but I’ve liked what I’ve heard. Occasionally my ears bleed from the catwallering of a Katy Perry song.  For those, I tune out the “singing” and focus on the beat. My weekend spin classes find me singing along at the top of my lungs to the best classic rock mixes – Zeppelin, Rush, Skynyrd, U2, Motown. Just brilliant.

What’s your workout addiction?


Cycling Challenge Week 4: Big Wheel Keeps On Turning

weight loss cycling, spinning class for beginners

Yes, the class kicked my butt — literally and figuratively!

I don’t know if I was preparing for Thanksgiving dinner, but I went all out during my spinning class today. For my first few classes, I went at my pace as I knew I couldn’t keep up with everyone else. Well today I wanted to do everything the instructor threw at me.

Resistance Is Everything
Cycling is pretty easy to understand. Increase your resistance, the tougher it is to peddle, making you work harder. Easy peasy.

My first week, I bounced between resistance levels 1 and 2 (the lowest). Since then, I’ve increased my resistance each week to challenge myself.

Last week 6 was my top-level of resistance. Today I wanted to really push myself, so I upped my max resistance to 8.  Clearly I didn’t want to just sweat. Nope, I wanted to wring every ounce of water out of my body.

Climbing Hills and Screaming Calves
If there is one thing in my spin class I absolutely hate, it’s the hill climbs. While I love getting my butt off that saddle, this is without a doubt the toughest part of the class for me. My hamstrings and calves scream at me. And sure enough, when I hit the half way point of the climb, I always sit down.

Not today!

I don’t know what happened, but for seven solid minutes, at level 8 resistance, I tackled that blasted hill.  My legs turned to jello while I huffed and puffed.  But I never sat down for a rest. I did each position the instructor called out with a fierce determination.

When it came time to sit back in the saddle I was drenched in sweat, exhausted and wanted to crawl up into a ball…just in time for sprints! Oh joy.

Normally I love sprints, but today it was much harder than usual. I thought I pushed myself too hard on the hill climb. I still hit 90 RPM. It wasn’t until the end of the sprint before I realized I increased my resistance to level 9 instead of dropping down to 6.

D’oh!

I was so excited when the instructor yelled, “Time for cool down!”

At the end of the workout, my bike’s monitor indicated I burned more than 800 calories.

I should be excited, but I just want a nap.