Spinning my wheels: My first spin class

I, Mrs. Courtney P., did the impossible. I woke up before 6:00 a.m. today. I still can't believe it myself, but I did it! Never mind that I was already wide awake from having sporadic stress dreams all night about missing my spinning classI woke up before the sun. I was half expecting Clayton to high five me when I sat up and flung my legs over the side of the bed, indicating to the world that I had committed to being awake for the day, but he just laid there like a lump and continued to doze.

When I kissed him on my way out the door, he was so out of it that instead of saying "Goodbye" he just mumbled, "Thank you." It was cute.

I definitely solved the city parking problem, too. It's simple: Just go find a parking space before 6:30 a.m. and I promise that you'll have the pick of the litter. I ended up parking in two different spots because as soon as I turned off my ignition, I saw another vacant parking space even closer to the cycling studio. It was like winning the parking lot lottery and the jackpot was ... more parking spaces.

This beautiful photography is courtesy of me.

I arrived at Urban Cycle Studio about 5 minutes before class began was instantly greeted by Rebecca, the instructor I met at the IU Outdoor Track last week. She was as sweet and chipper as ever (which is amazingly difficult to pull off at 6:30 in the morning), and helped me get situated with a key card for future sessions.

Then came the task of picking out my bike. I took an inventory of the room. It was a small area with 10 or so spinning bikes in close proximity. I didn't mind working out close to someone so long as they didn't mind working out so closely to someone with a sweating problem. I chose a bike in the middle of the group and slightly towards the back, wanting to blend in yet still be able to hear Rebecca's instructions. 

Several women (there was only 1 male in the class that morning) were already perched on their bikes, peddling effortlessly and glistening with dewy beads of sweat. I struggled for several minutes with my bike's seat, feeling frustrated that no matter what height it was set at, the seat was sexually assaulting my reproductive organs. I eventually gave up and resolved myself to the fact that hemorrhoids and chaffing were probably in my not-so-distant future.

I have absolutely dreadful posture to begin with, so having my bike's seat elevated slightly higher than my handle bars had my back aching from the very start. I chalked the discomfort up to my beginner's status and decided my body just wasn't used to being in such a hunched position (although given the way I sit at my desk all day, I could probably start referring to myself as Quasimoto). I made a mental note that the next time I spin, I'll make sure I arrive in enough time to adjust both the seat and the bars to my liking. Admittedly, I didn't want to spent too much time messing with my bike's settings because I didn't want to draw attention to myself. I was clearly the only newbie in class, and if there's one thing I hate and have totally had my fill on, it's being the new kid.

When the class was ready to begin, Rebecca dimmed the lights and instantly transformed a rather aggressive-looking bike room into a calm, almost tranquil environment. That's when I noticed strands of soft white lights hanging from the ceiling. Mood lighting for spinning? We were either going to take a group nap or hit on each other.

But the low-lighting was rather peaceful. The ride had a zen-like quality to it that actually reminded me a bit of yoga (but certainly not hot yoga.). In fact, with the a/c cranked up and a faint morning light streaming through the studio windows, I would actually describe the environment as heavenly.

As we began our workout, Rebecca instructed us on when to adjust the resistance on our bikes and what cadence we should aim for during various parts of the ride. (Cadence being the number of revolutions of the crank per minute, or how many pedal rotations in 60 seconds.) We turned up the resistence to simulate riding uphill, and Rebecca encouraged us to rev it up until it became so taxing on our thighs that we had no choice but to rise up out of our seats. That was my favorite part: Standing up to peddle or, as regular spinners would say, "rising out of the saddle". It burned like the dickens, but it was a good burn and even with sweat dripping into my eyes, I loved every second of it. 

The workout concluded with Europe's "The Final Countdown" blaring from the wall speaker behind us, and every time we heard the words, "The final countdown", we had to adjust our resistance level higher and higher. By the end of the song, my legs were screaming. I had no idea one person could say "the final countdown" so many dang times in one 5 minute song.

(And for the record, our spinning playlist was amazing. If I had the athletic wherewithal to bike and first pump simultaneously, I totally would have.)

To be honest, I was disappointed when the class was over. According to my bike's digital reader, I peddled over 16 miles in just over 45 minutes. Maybe it was an endorphin high, but I totally felt like I could do another class right then and there. The powerful feeling in my legs was addictive. 

After spinning, I felt so chipper and the early morning sun was so lovely, I thought,
"Why NOT walk down the street and take a picture of myself as a sweaty, disgusting mess?
That won't look weird at all."

Speaking of my legs, I was a bit apprehensive of trying a spinning class (and training for my sprint tri), because I operate under the belief that excessive biking will make my already muscular thighs bigger and bulkier. All of my cardio is done with the goal of tone! tone! tone!, and I was really nervous that after a few weeks of biking I wouldn't be able to get my jeans over my thunder thighs. I know I'm probably making it a much bigger deal than a normal person would, but my legs have been my kryptonite and it's taken almost 2 years of running every other day to get them down to a tolerable size and shape.

I did some research online and talked briefly to Rebecca at the IU Track, and the general consensus is that biking, especially spinning, is more aerobic than anaerobic and the constant peddling will actually help tone and slim the muscles more than anything. Aside from doing lots of leg weights and living on a bike 24/7 (which, thanks to the bike seat that almost retook my virginity, is something I won't be doing), it's not feasible for women to add a lot of bulk to their frames from cardio. So that put my mind at ease for the moment.

The classes are slightly pricey (especially when you consider I've spent the past two years running outside for free), so I don't think our budget would allow me to spin more than a couple of times a month, but it's something I definitely want to do again (... and again!). As you know, I'm somewhat of a fitness nut and one of my favorite hobbies is ... finding new hobbies! I like new challenges and discovering new ways to push myself, and peddling my brains out first thing in the morning is a great way to do just that. Plus, working out disgustingly early in the morning keeps me energized throughout the day and my metabolism is like a machine. Why yes, I will eat that entire plate of french fries.

And on a totally unrelated note that I thought was worth sharing: I finally found the perfect pair of red shoes! I know, I know, you weren't even aware that I was looking for red shoes, but trust meI've been on the hunt for months and finding a good pair of red shoes that don't scream "granny" or "street walker" was quite the challenge. I ended up having to order them online because everything in the stores were cheaply made, overpriced, or would make me look like Minnie Mouse's ugly cousin.

Cute, right!?

Have you tried a new workout lately?


  1. You go, girl! Look at you all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed working out in the morning!! I wish I could get my ass outta bed to work out in the morning, but while you were spinning, I was already showered and in my car on my way to work. I'd have to get up at 4:45a to get a workout in before I have to get ready for work.

    Um. No thank you and good day. After work training sessions it is, then.

    Hope you have a great 4th of July!

  2. I know this is an old post, but I'm hoping to take my 1st class this week. This blog really helped!

    And I adore those shoes!


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