I found an email in my inbox last week: ‘you’re coming to a spin class with me on Wednesday morning,’ it said, and I, being a compliant fool, replied with a very enthusiastic ‘okay’.
To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what ‘spinning’ was. I’ve deduced, from anecdotes and social media, that it might be something to do with sitting on a stationary bike and possibly pedaling until your teeth fall out.
But that begs the question, why is it called ‘spinning’ rather than, say, pedaling or cycling?
If nothing else I would finally get clued in, so just before 9.30am, today, I entered the studio with my two companions. I could call them friends, I suppose, but I have a hard time calling anyone who forces me into a state of physical exertion a ‘friend’.
We checked in at the desk. ‘It’s her first class,’ my friend announced; pointing in my direction. Because the first class is free – the main reason I agreed to leave the confines of my home for the purpose of exercising. An assistant handed me a white form on a clipboard, to divulge my personal details. Usually I make up fake birthdays and phone numbers for these sorts of things, but this time I didn’t. I was too tired from the 4am wake up call young Percy had dealt me.
There was an emergency contact section, and naturally I put down the professor’s name, but it got me thinking: might today be the day they would need to call the professor and inform him his wife injured herself in spinning class? Was spinning…..dangerous, or even life threatening?
The assistant handed me a pair of [rather large] black cycling shoes – apparently my white Asics weren’t going to cut it for spinning. And, after dumping our stuff in the change room, we headed to the studio, a sliver of a room with two rows of [what appeared to be] stationary bikes. I met the instructor, Tammy, who looks like she does nothing but exercise eight hours a day and she showed me how to adjust the Livestrong bike to fit my frame.
There were a lot of levers and I sort of lost track of all the things I was supposed to pull or push, so with an ‘agh, that looks good enough,’ I hopped on my bike. At the front of the room, on the wall behind Tammy, hung a large screen with a virtual road – the one we’d be spinning [on] during class, I gathered.
And then we were off. Spinning was, indeed, pedaling a stationary bike until your teeth fell out. Tammy yelled out time intervals and RPM targets; commanding us to ‘dial in’ when we needed to increase the tension.
After a while, I decided ‘dialing in’ was optional. My bike was far away from hers, she had no idea what I was doing [unless, of course, she had some computer screen on her bike with a flashing orange light pointing to the stationary bikes with subpar RPMs.]
And even so, would I really see her again?
Just when I thought it was over, the awful part began: the part where you have to stand up and pedal for varying lengths of time before sitting down. Allow me to say, when you’ve already pedaled so much your teeth are tingling, standing up and pedaling [with jello legs] is something of a challenge. I had flashbacks to that scene in Bridget Jones where she falls off an exercise bike after pedaling furiously.
Each time Tammy permitted us to sit down, my rear collided with the seat in such a way I was certain falling all the way off the bike and onto the concrete floor was inevitable. And then angels sang from the heavens and we were allowed to slow down and get off our bikes. We did a couple of calf stretches and I was already salivating at the prospect of falling onto my couch with some flourless peanut butter cookies, when Tammy told us to grab a resistance band.
I was so discombobulated by the unforeseen turn of events, that I missed her explanation on which colored bands were the least resistant ones. I’m guessing bright red was at the ‘resistant’ end of the spectrum as I could barely hoist my clenched fist upwards, much less in the direction of my bicep.
And then it was time for ‘floorwork’. ‘You can fold up a towel if you need to,’ she relented before
boasting confessing, ‘I broke my tailbone a couple of weeks ago so that’s why I’m using this [disc-shaped piece of foam] because, man does it hurt when I sit.’
And that’s how I knew I could never be a fitness guru. Because if I broke my tailbone ‘a couple of weeks ago’, I’d still be lying on the couch eating chocolate whilst watching 30 Rock reruns.