Spin

“Have you ever considered trying a spin class?” my trainer asks me casually.

HA.

Of course I’ve never considered trying a spin class. I’m a fatass, remember? My gigantic butt probably couldn’t even fit on the seat, and the bike itself would groan and possibly collapse if I deigned to try. Seriously, isn’t spin class for smaller people? Shouldn’t I start conditioning with things like walking?

bike-room

The awesome new indoor cycling room at my gym.

It’s September and my gym has just opened its indoor cycling studio. There’s a promo online that was filmed for Shaw TV, and I giggle as I watch it – their full class of participants is composed of employees of the gym. But ultimately, it looks nuts. All these bikes standing close together, with people on them pedalling furiously with smiles on their faces as big as my ass.

So obviously the gym employees have been asked to push the class, right? Hence Julie asking me if I want to try spin.

“I don’t think I’m ready for that,” I reply cautiously.

“Why not?” she replies cheerfully. “You can take it at your own pace.”

One thing I love about Julie is that while she’s a nice person and incredibly motivating, she’s not the bubbly cheerleader type of trainer. So when she brings the saccharine out for this occasion, I know she means business.

Crap.

“I’ll do it with you,” she promises. “How’s Saturday morning?”

And this is how I wind up walking into the gym on Saturday morning with my stomach in knots. I’ve asked my trusty Weight Watchers Canada community what I should expect, and received all kinds of tips and encouragement from spinners – even a couple of instructors. I’m prepared, but terrified. I’m supposed to be transforming into a warrior, right? But I’m trembling in my hot pink Nike sneakers.

The gym owner, Ron, sees me walk through the door and chirps, “Hi Deborah! Julie’s upstairs waiting for you.”

I force my lips into a smile, but I’m sure it comes across as more of a grimace. “Great!” I say. “I’m pretty terrified.”

Ron assures me that I’ll do fine, and that the first class is just figuring out what it’s all about and I’ll know what I’m doing by the second class. Second class? That’s a fucking joke. I’m here because I want to be willing to try anything, not because I plan to become a spinner. And also? Because I’m a sucker who can’t say no.spin_cartoon

I trudge upstairs to the spin room and tentatively open the door. I’m disoriented as I walk inside. The lights are low, the music is loud, and all I can see is a blur of yellow Livestrong spin bikes. There are about four participants already in the class, pedalling lightly as they wait for it to start. Julie is there, and she greets me. I manage to smile back, and decide to head for a bike in the back of the class. I can’t fit between the ones in the front. It’s embarrassing. I have to tilt the bike to squeeze past, and I bump another participant as I do so. “Sorry,” I mumble, wishing like hell I hadn’t agreed to come. This is going to SUCK.

The instructor bounces over to me. Her name is Kat, and she’s blonde and bubbly, but she’s so very sweet as she helps me set up my bike. I sit on the seat and it disappears between my bountiful buttocks. Holy shit, it’s uncomfortable. I continue to pedal slowly as a couple of other people enter the room and set themselves up on bikes. By the time Kat closes the door and hops on her own bike, there are eight people in the class, including me. I’m already exhausted. And my butt hurts like hell. I want to leave.

Kat starts her playlist and turns the lights down even further, and explains the basics. That I need to listen to my body first, and then her. That I should push myself, because it’s Saturday morning and I came to the gym, or something like that. I’m not listening too much because I hurt. My ass hurts. My quads hurt. My feet are starting to hurt. I do pay attention when Kat explains how the tension works, and where it needs to be when we do standing climbs. That sounds brutal. I don’t think I’ll be doing any standing climbs.

I’m feeling pretty beat when the song changes and Kat brightly announces that we’ll start the warm up. Whaaaaaat? We haven’t officially started yet? I shift on my seat, trying to balance on one cheek to give the other a break. I’m already sweating. Thank God I chose a bike in the back – I don’t want anybody to see me like this.

Kat tells us to up the tension to prepare for a standing climb. I do what she says because, even if my legs fall off, I’m getting the hell off that seat. I hoist myself up when instructed, leaning forward and gripping the handlebars for dear life. My knees bump against the handlebars, and the pedalling motion feels jerky. I sit down quickly. I choose ass pain.

I struggle through the class, adjusting tension as I’m told, but mostly sitting in my seat. My feet are completely numb. My butt is so sore that I vow never to sit down again once I’m allowed off this demonic device. My thighs are on fire. I’m dripping sweat onto the laminate floor. And finally Kat assures us, “Just one more song!” I internally chant, “Almost done. Almost done. Almost done.” as the rest of the class climbs their imaginary mountains. The song is miraculously short. I slump back in relief. Holy shit, I actually made it.

exhausted-cyclist

We do some stretching (most of which I don’t even attempt) and then I practically fall off the bike. I can’t remember when I’ve felt so relieved. Julie asks me how I found the class, and I just laugh and complain about my ass. She laughs too. Another gym employee helpfully suggests I use a gel seat cover next time. I briefly consider strangling her for not telling me before the class started that seat covers are available…but I’m too exhausted to even lift my arms. Julie suggests that I rent proper cycling shoes next time. And Kat comes over to tell me how well I did, and how I’ll do even better next time.

Next time. These two words seem to be hammered over my head with astonishing speed. Next time next time next time next time. There will BE no next time, unless there are copious amounts of drugs involved. These people are crazy.

For two days I can barely walk, and my ass is sore for several days after that. I report back to my Weight Watchers friends that it was hell, and that my feet hurt, and that my knees knocked against the handlebars. They assure me that my ass will get used to the seat and I’ll barely notice it after awhile. They tell me that I should move my seat back a bit, use a higher tension, and try proper cycling shoes.

Next time, I tell them, I’ll do that.

I really am a sucker.

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Comments (2)

  1. Kismea

    bwahahha Good for YOU for going and doing it! YES use the gel seat – they do help… a lot. BUT lets be honest, we are BIG girls and the seats are the size of a damn tic-tac. THAT creates a LOT of ass/crack pressure đŸ˜‰ it WILL be uncomfy. However sore/tired muscles are GOOD it means you are doing something that your body isn’t used to and that will be a huge benefit to you! I hope you go again, but if you don’t? good job for trying it!

    • admin

      Thanks, Kismea. I’m a regular spinner now – I go every Saturday at least, and surprisingly, I love it. This time last year I would have laughed if anybody had told me I’d enjoy spin classes. Just goes to show that it’s worth trying something new, right?

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