Monday, January 26, 2015

Finding Fitness Results - Spinning

I feel like I can almost say that SoulCycle, beloved spin studio of David Beckham and family, is for chumps, because what I did for my spin experience was a class at the Sweat Shoppe, which specializes in heated spin sessions. 

Yes, it's like hot yoga but with bikes, more cardio and more suffering! Whee! 
I am hiding in the second row.

I realized as soon as I got to the studio (free class courtesy of Racked Fit Club) that I had severely underestimated the seriousness of this exercise enterprise. For one thing, normal shoes will not do. You have to take part using bike shoes (I think clipping people in helps them continue even on wobbly legs, perhaps) and the studio had to provide me with a pair. Secondly, I realized as soon as I sat down that I should have worn padded bike shorts as well. 

But it turned out that the hardness of the seat didn't matter too much - we spent so much time out of the saddle, following the instructions of Naomi, the superfit (she won an award, seriously) instructor. 

With her cheerful Australian accent, she urged us on through the session. "Nice job, Andrea," she encouraged me at one point. I blinked sweat away, in my addled brain thinking she was saying, "Don't die, Andrea!"  

I made it to the end, though. Actor Jason Priestly, Naomi's hubby, was riding on a bike in the row in front of me, and I wasn't about to wimp out in front of the guy who played Brandon Walsh and pretended to be a journalist. Nope, a real reporter refuses to pass out until the game is over and the story is in. Or so I told myself in order to stay motivated and riding. 

Here are my spin ratings. 

Fitness: 9/10 Sure, soccer players will naturally have strong legs, so working them out on a bike should be an easy transition, but the Sweat Shoppe class also added upper body work with modified push-ups on the handlebars, riding with one arm elevated, etc. Plus with the heat element, yeah it was a hard workout. 

Fun: 8/10 Despite the pain and exertion, there's a club atmosphere to the class, with disco lights and a funky playlist of songs to spur participants on. One tip, when the instructor says, "Two more songs!" all perky-like, one of those songs is bound to be an 8-minute Beyonce remix that goes all the way back to her Destiny's Child days for material. 

Sociability: 6/10 You can't drop off the peleton on the ride to nowhere, but it's too exhausting for most in the class to make any small talk. There's a camaraderie surviving, though, with strangers and friends alike congratulating each other at the end, "Nice ride." 

Convenience: 7/10 Spinning is pretty big these days, so there's bound to be local gym or studio that offers classes. For LD or other retired soccer players near Manhattan Beach, there's Fit On Studios, if the Sweat Shoppe or SoulCycle is too far away.

Cost: 6/10 The most popular classes with the best instructors are going to be in demand, so it's not super-cheap. Trendy workouts generally equal trendy prices.

Will I go again? Perhaps. I don't live that close to North Hollywood, so I might find a more local place to spin. I might even dust off my actual bike.    

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