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.


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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Dance, Dance

May 21, 2007

Dancing is a great form of exercise. So great, in fact, that gyms have incorporated different types of dancing into group fitness classes. It is pretty normal to see classes for everything from Bollywood Bhangra to hip hop to stripper aerobics. All the while, you are dancing to burn calories, and possibly pick up some moves to bring with you when you go out to a club.

That said, dancing provides a multitude of benefits for when you do go out. 

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May 14, 2007

Is it just me, or does it feel like there is a higher concentration of douchebags in a workout environment than anywhere else; at least in real world day to day life. It kind of makes sense, after all, people tend to get into cramped quarters, get all sweaty, energized, and to some extent, completely self-involved. Social norms such as politeness or even basic etiquette tend to get thrown out the window. Maybe it’s the elevated levels of testosterone, or hey, maybe it’s just the fact that some people are complete douchebags.

Allow me to provide a few examples:

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Coffee, coffee, coffee!!!

May 8, 2007

It’s 5:30AM, and I am sitting at my desk with a cup of coffee, home brewed. If it weren’t for this cup of coffee, I would still be in bed. Sure, no matter how many times I hit snooze on the alarm clock (and subsequently pissed the neighbors off), I need the kick of some serious caffeine to get me going, like a lot of people. Still, there seems to be an almost stigma associated with drinking coffee (or other caffeinated drinks), and it’s effects on exercise.

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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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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.