This is an overview one of my favorite cardio workouts is spin class, or, the ride. It’s an indoor cardio class on stationary bikes, which you have complete control over in terms of how heavy the tension on the bike is and how hard you work.
Now, if you have never done a spin class, it might sound boring (a classroom full of people riding stationary bikes) or, intimidating, considering the loud thumping music emanating from the cycling studio.
The classes I take are usually in a big room with lights out, black lights on. The spin instructors play music ranging from Evanescence and Justin Timblerlake to Joy Division and the Cure to the Chemical Brothers and Commander Tom, and everything in between. You lose yourself in the waves of the music while you are sweating so much that there are giant puddles on the floor.
Of course, it’s not just the music that makes the spin class what it is. One of the things that is often important to a class is the energy of the people. It shouldn’t matter but it does. How hard are the people around you working? Is everyone really into the class? These are things that help you push yourself harder. I’ve even written before about an unspoken rivalry I seem to have with someone else who takes most of the same classes that I do; I guess it’s because when I feel like I am tiring, I look to other people to draw from their energy, and then I try to “beat” them.
Aside from the energy of the class, the instructor is also huge. Sometimes their music is crap, and they walk in early on a Saturday morning saying, “Hey guys, let’s get ready for my theme of the week, bad 80’s karaoke!” I’ve had another one yell out at one point, “Okay, now do the Cabbage Patch, and then shimmy!” And still, there are others, who want to manage every second of your ride. I get up and walk out of these classes, they just don’t do it for me. However, the rest of the class usually stays, because these instructors are just catering to their “regulars,” the people who show up to their class every week.
But those are anomalies. Most spin instructors focus more on either endurance or some type of high intensity interval training, and even try to make the entire class into a cardio-abs class by making us focus on our core the entire time.
It really can be a phenomenal workout. For me, a less intense class, whether it is my own fault or because I am not being pushed hard enough, which to some degree is still my own fault, I burn a minimum of 450 calories in 45 minutes. I have gone over the 600 mark in 45 minutes, and that is when there is sweat dripping off the brim of my hat. Also, while most spin classes are 45 minutes, one of my friends often offers up 2 hour classes. Heck, I’ve even done a 3 hour. These workouts are just so great, and I would recommend them to anyone.
In some upcoming posts, I will tell you more about some of my favorite instructors (ones who don’t try to make their students shimmy). But for now, I’ll leave you with this guy.