An update on ‘spin rage’

September 18, 2007

According to the NY Post (“Gym victim is wheely angry”), no felony charge is being filed against Christopher Carter, the man accused of sending fellow spinner Stuart Sugarman into a wall on his spin bike (though he does face a misdemeanor).  While Mr. Sugarman has been vocal in the press about how he was merely “whooping” and yelling “you go, girl!”, Mr. Carter has been relatively (and probably advisably so) reticent about what happened.   What we do know is that Sugarman’s membership had been summarily terminated following the incident.

Interestingly enough, word around Equinox is that, allegedly, Stuart Sugarman was not quite 3 bikes away, and was allegedly repeatedly bumping into Christopher Carter during the class.  Also, allegedly, there was not 1, but 2 spin instructors present at the time.

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Runners always find dead bodies

July 17, 2007

I love my Pearl Izumi cycling shoes.  They are pretty old school, ugly, and don’t breathe.  I still love them. What I didn’t realize is that they are more than just a cycling brand.  And now they are really pushing this angle.

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What motivates you?

June 27, 2007

I lead a pretty active lifestyle. I workout at least once almost every day, either running, spinning, cycling, strength training, cross training, or swimming (no, climbing my six flights of stairs everyday does not count). Checking out different gym memberships, though, made me consider, why exactly do I, or you, bother?

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Spin Etiquette

June 4, 2007

A while back I was wondering if instructors cared whether students left class early. I wasn’t sure if it was disruptive for the class or if it was offensive, since a lot of time people walk out early because they don’t like the class or person teaching.

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You’re not tired, you just think you are

May 4, 2007

So says my good friend, spin instructor Joanna S. In the middle of her hour long or two hour long rides, after pummeling us with wicked hills and kick-ass sprints, when she is telling us that just because the song has ended, doesn’t mean we can sit up on our bike and break, she tells us this: “You’re not tired, you just think you are.”

These are words to live by, and it’s in the same vein as the “No Pain, No Gain” idea, in that figuratively speaking, you can push yourself harder than you think you can. Obviously, pushing yourself through an injury can be stupid, like what I’m doing now I would do.

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Spring has (finally) sprung

April 24, 2007

A very, very long time ago, I had written about how I was going to be spending a whole lot less time in the gym, and a whole lot more in the gorgeous spring sunshine, riding my bicycle or running along the West Side Highway in NYC. After all, it was almost the middle of March, and I was ready to stop spending so much time inside of the gym, and a whole lot more outside. Boy, did Mother Nature totally NOT get the memo.

Wait, some might ask, “but FitFiend, we thought you liked working out, what happened?” Well, I do, but there is only so much time you can spend indoors with a bunch of machines and a bunch of other smelly, sweaty people, some of whom probably contributed to my feet issues. These are same people who wear gym clothes too many days in a row without washing, and the same ones who sometimes forget that just because you are listening to your IPOD, doesn’t mean that nobody else can hear or smell when you are baking brownies (Disclaimer: I am by no means 100% innocent of any of this).

Also, I will certainly still be hitting the gyms, but just not spending as much time in them as I had to over the colder months. While most of my cardio will be outside, there are still certain spin instructors who make life worthwhile. That’s right, a great spin class can be the highlight of my day, sometimes even week. Sure, some spin instructors revel in their classes pain, but if they are any good, I usually like it!

That said, these last 3 days in NYC have been gorgeous. I was trapped inside working on Saturday, so I couldn’t enjoy a run or a bike ride, but I have made up for it the last few days. Unfortunately, I have checked up on the weather, and I think that Mother Nature was just teasing us, because it is going to be headed back into 50s and raining later this week. This means, I will have to back inside and aside from lifting, and probably spin, I will be stuck to the treadmill or stair mill, both of which I hate. If only running on a treadmill was as much fun as this looks.


Spin Class (Part II)

April 17, 2007

While I do love my Spin, not every class is as good as the last.  There are certain elements that contribute to a great class, and that includes the instructor, the music, and also the energy of the other participants.  Of course, the music is a function of the instructor, and both contribute to the energy of the class.

What do I think makes for a good instructor, or for that matter, a good class?  Everybody has their own preferences, and I can tell that some people actually like some of the things I hate.

In my opinion, there are two kinds of “rides.”  There is the class that is conducted like an 80s style Jane Fonda aerobics class, or else there is the “ride” that is conducted like an actual indoor cycling class.

No instructor switches between.  They are either the cycling type or the aerobics type, and let me tell you, I have a huge problem taking an aerobics type spin class. 

In the aerobics type spin class, the instructor is constantly providing instructions.  You are never in the same position on the bike for more than a count of two.  This type of class usually requires that the instructor have an exaggeratedly high level of energy, which, in theory, is a good thing.  However, when it essentially translates into an aerobics class, hopping and dancing around on a bike, it is an awful, awful thing.  These are the classes where the instructors make you to shimmy or do the cabbage patch or switch your hand positions on the handlebars repeatedly.  For me, being in a class with an instructor telling us to do these weird things is strange enough, but seeing that the rest of the class is actually following the instructions is an even weirder thing.

If you tell me we are going up a hill and to get out to third, do not then make me switch back to 2nd then 1st in counts of two while still on this hill.  Actually, I feel bad, slightly, because it is in these classes that I pretty much do my own thing, or else just leave.

An aerobics class, to me, should be more like this.

My ideal type of spin class is one where we may do interval training or an endurance type ride, where the instructor tries to make you think you are on an actual outdoor ride.  True, even the best will throw in jumps, but that is to keep the class interesting and engaged.  It is more of a pace changer than the basis of the class.  I would any day prefer to be on a 7 minute hill than 7 minutes of constantly switching positions. 

The best spin classes are basically indoor cycling classes, where your core is engaged the entire time and your hams, quads, and glutes are all working.  Sprints are mixed in with inclines and declines and flat roads. 

When I think of what a spin class should look like, it would be something like this.

There are spin instructors who I avoid at all costs, because I have taken their classes and even given them second chances, but I just can’t get down with the bike aerobics nonsense.  Does that mean they are bad?  Absolutely not.  In fact, there are definitely a lot of people who enjoy that style; I’m just not one of them.