It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of changing up the ol’ workout routine whenever I get the chance. In fact, there are very few workout routines that I won’t try at least ONCE, although I’m certain as I get older that eventually there’ll be some exceptions. But I do still enjoy a challenge. This is where spinning comes in. Sometime in the early period of the past ten years, I travelled home to New Brunswick to visit my family. I brought along some fitness gear, since Sensei’s dojo was closed out for the summer but my aunt and uncle managed a local fitness gym that I knew I could frequent.
I was home for a few days, jogging the few kilometres required to reach the gym, paying the five dollar day pass and using the gym for about an hour before heading home. I felt light and easy, and satisfied at the fact that I was maintaining my fitness while on vacation. On the third or fourth day I ran into my aunt, who explained that she ran a spin class three times a week and invited me to join for one of her classes in lieu of going to the gym. She explained that it was a workout using an indoor stationary bike. When I found out how late into the morning it was, I stated I’d hit the gym THEN go to her spin class. She warned me that I’d be unable to do both in the same morning. How right she was…
I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I’d used stationary bikes before, but I obviously preferred the real thing. I walked into an open area with a dozen books lined up and a small group of women stretching their legs and chatting. My aunt approached and introduced me to the group, who all agreed how nice it was to have a man working out with them for a change. I was handed a 10-pound padded rod and told to place it on the front of the bike until it was “needed.” What the hell was going on???
The music started and everyone started peddling. What followed was one of the most intense hours of my life. In the seat, up from the seat, easy peddling, higher-geared peddling, hold the rod, shoulder press the rod, and on and on… I was drenched within minutes and it was a ridiculously brutal workout. It worked basically everything on my body that I could see as well as some muscle groups that I wasn’t aware even existed. It was so good in fact, I joined my aunt’s class as her guest for several more sessions on that visit and subsequent ones.
Spinning has a number of measurable benefits, including increased cardio, weight loss over the long term due to an increased calorie burn, muscle increase and helps to prevent lower back pain. It’s also a low-impact exercise, making it much easier on the knee and joints than running. The articles I’ve read have suggested that an hour of spin class can burn anywhere between 400 to 600 calories, which is not to shabby if you’re trying to burn through enough calories to be in deficit to burn fat.
If you’re looking for something that’s easy on the joints but high on the challenge scale, I highly recommend spin class. The benefits are many, and frankly there are very few downfalls, except whatever membership price you may pay for the class. I was reminded of my experience with spin class a couple of weeks ago when it was brought up during a conversation with one of my friends. Although taking part in an actual spin class may be a bit difficult at the moment, there are ways to access stationary bikes and do your own spin workouts at home. The benefits will be well worth it. ☯