What Are Spin Classes? Cycling Your Way to A Better Workout

School has only been in for a few days, but I have gotten up every morning for a cardio workout routine. As soon as I wake up I throw my gym clothes on and do my workout before I lose motivation. After classes and going to my job in the afternoon, exercising at night is the last thing I want to be doing.

But, when my roommate told me about an evening cycling class called Breakaway that she wanted to me to try with her, how could I say no. Our ASI Recreation website described the spin class as indoor cycling.

 “Breakaway from your normal routine, burn calories and pedal away stress in our high energy cycling studio. This class is a great cardiovascular workout and fun too! Your instructor will guide you through a series of resistance or speed intervals, simulated sprints/ hills and time trials to create workout party on a stationary bike…”

So, after 6 hours of class, we walked over to our school’s newly remolded gym, gearing up for our first indoor cycling class. We were running a few minutes late and when we found the room we had to double check that we were in the right place. The room was dark with bright disco lights dancing on the walls and the girls were already on the stationary bikes, facing the instructor in the middle of the room. The biking shorts and buns on the girls heads were enough to scare me away but my roommate dragged me over to two empty bikes she found next to one another.

According to Nichelle Heins in her article “Spin the Right Way,” where she explains what are spin classes, she says the number one rookie cycling mistake is doing your bike set up wrong. She writes,

“Often when people are trying a new exercise for the first time they are too nervous or intimidated to ask for help. Cycling solution: It’s critical that your bike is set up correctly the first time you ride. If you’re new, let someone know right away. The instructor or someone else working there should be able to make sure your bike is properly set up to ensure a safe ride. Any place worth going to will take the time to help you with that. Use them! That’s why they’re there to help.”

Some kind of modern techno music with a heavy beat was filling the workout room. The instructor, Lauren Meers, was getting her mic on prepping for the hell she was about to serve up to us. Before we started, Meers helped my roommate and I adjust our bikes to the proper height and feel. Once we were all set up we mounted the bike like the rest of girls in this, by chance, all girls class.

Later Meers said,

“Some of the benefits of spin class include low impact (good on joints vs. higher impact activities like running) high cardio workout. I also think spin is a great way to build  strength in your legs and lean muscle through resistance. Opportunities for anaerobic conditioning through changing tension and sprints and intervals are added benefits as well.”

What Are Spin Classes

Throughout the spin workout, Meers led us through a series of sprints, hills, isolated movements, and exercises for our butts, backs, and surprisingly abdominals on the stationary bike. The experience kicked my butt, literally. Any cardio I previously thought was hard was surpassed by this workout.

“Dip, dip, dip, dip, HUP!,” shouts Meers in an encouraging voice.

I learned that in our 45 minute session, most of us kicked 400-700 calories to the curb. The next day, my calves, thighs, butt, and back were all extremely sore. While it hurt to walk up and down the stairs, I know that my body was sore in a great way and was so happy it got to try something new and work different muscles. Talk about a rewarding workout.

Meers also mentioned she thinks lean protein is good to consumer after the cycling workout.

“Some low glycemic carbs and protein before class (I usually don’t eat for the hour before class but that’s just my preference). An example would be string cheese or peanut butter with an apple. Most important is to stay hydrated throughout the day, whether class is in the morning or the evening. dehydration can be an issue and cause cramping in legs.”

So, the real question is…will I do it again? Yes! I plan on attending this disco cycling girl party every Wednesday to get my butt into shape. Not only will it be a good way to break up my week, but it offers my body an alternative to the elliptical and treadmill machines.

Now that you know what are spin classes. I encourage you all to look into an indoor cycling class too. Most likely your school gym offers workout classes that are incorporated into your student fees. If you are already paying for them, why not take advantage of them? Having a class to attend will help keep you accountable for your workouts as well.

It’s a win win situation.

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Kait Freeberg

Kait Freeberg

Kait Freeberg is a junior at Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism. At school, Kait can be found interviewing people or hitting the gym. As the Colleges Against Cancer president, Kait helps to fight cancer and she educates her peers on the disease. Apart from school she works two jobs, enjoys traveling, and cooking for her roommates.