You know you are in the wrong spinning class when you make your own workout during the class and/or you tune out your spin instructor’s voice. This was me last week when my favorite spinning class was taught by a substitute spin instructor! I was in the mood to spin. I wasn’t going to leave the class early so I kept calm and enjoyed my own ride.
I have been spoiled by my favorite spin instructor, Michael, who has taught me the art of spinning! In my mind, he is one of the best spin instructors I will ever have. I have been spinning with him for over a year now in Saint Louis. Everyone has their own favorite instructors. Everyone is motivated differently. Everyone wants something different out of their workouts. I love how Michael teachers his class, but that doesn’t mean he is everyone’s favorite spin instructor. However, his classes are always full to maximum capacity with a waiting list! I think that says a lot in itself!
The reason why I think he is one of the best spin instructor is because the time is never mentioned during the 60 minute class. Michael teaches his class to ride with the beat of the music instead of relying on a ticking clock and a detailed description of the entire ride given during warmup.
Get into a rhythm!
Pick your beat and stick with it!
Close your eyes and feel the beat!
It is all about the music! You never know what to expect the whole class because the music is what tells you what is next in your ride. I find that I can really visual the ride better through music than someone telling me I am climbing or sprinting. I would say my eyes are shut for about 3/4 of the class to visually create the ride I paid for…..and to not get sweat in my eyes of course 🙂
If it is a slow song, you increase the resistance until you are pedaling strong with the beat. This creates a climb up an imaginary hill! If it is a fast song, you reduce the resistance until you are pedaling with the beat (but still in control). This creates a sprint or faster pace on an imaginary flat road or downhill! The song’s beat and length of verses create the intervals and transitions for bike positions (position 1, 2, or 3, sitting or standing).
Often, I get so into staying with the beat that I am always so surprised when we reached our last song! Instead of thinking, “Ugh, I have a 5 minute climb left until I am done! This last minute is the slowest minute of my life!” I am thinking, “Stay with the slow beat, stay with the slow beat, don’t give up, don’t reduce the resistance, stay with the beat, feel the beat, feel the burn, don’t give up!” And then before I know it, the song is over and the class is done! I am breathing hard, sweating a ton (literally), and I just experienced an outdoor ride, but in a dark room with 45 other individuals!
How could it not be fun to spin in a dim room (a garage believe it or not), with colorful lights, amongst 45 other hard working individuals! We are all there for different reasons and our individual experience may be different, but we are all being taught by the same motivating teacher to reach our exercise goals.
Not only does the music push you during the ride, but Michael verbally pushes you as well! Every few minutes or seconds he throws in inspirational quotes, words, and stories! He always points out that we already made the hardest step, which is getting to class and sitting on a bike, so why not make the best of the 60 minutes that has been set aside to be good to our bodies and push ourselves beyond what we expected prior going into the class. Make the next 60 minutes an experience, not just a workout.
A few words/sayings that have stuck with me
Dominate the down, Own the up
Create a feeling
Close your eyes and you can take yourself anywhere!
Spell NOW backwards!
I highly suggest spinning as a form of cross training and/or off-season cardio for runners and cyclists. Spinning has helped me learn how to bike up steep hills by experiencing the elliptical motion while sitting on a stationary bike to get up those imaginary monster hills. Spinning has helped my running legs get stronger in order to power up those hills and last few miles of my long training runs, as well has helping me maintain my strength during my off-season. Also, I believe my risk of injury from running has been reduced due to spinning at least once a week throughout the year!
Spinning is not the same as riding a stationary bike in your local gym! Just try it! Scout out who the best instructors are at your local gym or spinning facility and check out one of their classes! You will get a workout, even if they are a boring instructor, but aim to a find an instructor that motivates you, makes spinning fun, and keeps you wanting more!
I am sure I will find another spin instructor on the east coast that will meet my spinning needs, but if not, I know that I have been taught valuable spinning techniques and skills to continue practicing during my indoor rides, no matter who my instructor will be.
At least now I can always blast my own music and spin with the beat! 🙂
Ironically, I started writing this post a day before I sprained by ankle 😦 Spinning might be a great form of exercise for me over the next few weeks while my ankle heals. I probably won’t run for at least week to prevent any chance of my ankle rolling any time soon, especially since I do have trail run coming up that I don’t want to miss! Sprained ankles are never fun…I will keep you posted on my recovery!