Spin all your troubles away

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Picture of a spin bike in a gym class environment

I’m writing this immediately after I have left my spin class. I wanted to write this fresh in my memory. I am covered in sweat, I can hardly breathe, I’m gasping for water, my legs are burning with pain, I’m mentally and physically exhausted, I’m beginning to smell, my face is beetroot red and I feel fantastic!

I have never felt so alive. I have the biggest smile on my face, I am exhilarated and it’s how I feel every time I leave a spin class!

Now I’m not here to preach to you about why you should go and join the next spin class, although you definitely won’t regret doing that. What I do want is for others to feel the way I do every time I finish my class. It took me a long time to discover something this enjoyable that will push me to my limits every week.

Spin has become an addiction, and it’s a good one to have. I don’t ever want to miss a class and I’m blooming mad if I ever do (I missed one class as it was over booked and I was absolutely raging). I’ve heard of people attending 3 or 4 classes a week as they become engrossed in the feeling they get during and after the class. And I get it. I totally get it! I now understand an addiction and why people return to it. I’m lucky mine is just a healthy obsession.

The First Class

Beginning a class isn’t easy and I understand that. I’ve tried loads in the past. I even tried pole dancing a few times. Although I enjoyed it I just never felt fantastic afterwards. In fact it always made me feel a bit self-conscious and just increased the insecurities about my body so it just wasn’t for me.

I’m not the most confident at the gym. In fact I was very intimated for a long time and although I had got more confident as I went to the gym more, I still wasn’t booking a class. I think I must have booked about 20 classes before I actually ever turned up to one. I know how annoying that is to other gym users desperate to get on a class but I wanted attend, I really did, my body just wouldn’t take me there.

One day I just booked a class and all of a sudden I was in the class, staring at this bike thinking ‘How the bloody hell do I get that seat down on the bike? Bloody hell I’m not flexible enough to reach down to the pedal straps. What the hell are the levers for? Oh crap, does this bike move? I didn’t think the bike was meant to move. If I pedal too fast will the bike come off the stand’?

I was intimidated to say the least. I had arrived early. I was aware that I needed time to work out the bike and I wanted to make sure I was at the back of the class. The last thing I wanted to do was bring attention to myself. I fiddled about with the bike for a while and thought right, sorted…let’s get this class started.

Picture from the view of behind a spin bike prior to the start of a spin class starting

I watched other people arrive and get on their bikes. Everyone started to cycle, I wasn’t sure if the class had started or not. I assumed it was just people warming up so I decided to copy them. Everyone was sitting on their mobile, whereas I probably came across a little weird as I was just staring at the ceiling. The trainer shortly arrived, she took a note of everyone’s names and then we were ready to go.

This is all I remember from my first class

She said to set the bike at 60%. I’ll be honest I had no idea what that meant but I noticed everyone else turn one of the nodules to the right, so I did the same. ‘Oh my God this is flipping hard to move. Shit everyone is doing a routine…don’t mess it up Jen’. Go up, go down, squat, up again, down again, squat. Ahhhh this is flipping agony. Oh crap I can’t keep up; I think my chest is going to burst. Where is my bloody water’? Flipping hell…the sweat is running down my chest, it’s everywhere. Sweat is EVERYWHERE! When is this torture going to stop? I thought ‘I can’t do this any longer. I think I’m going to pass out’.

‘Right she said this is the last song, people are going really fast, oh shit I can’t keep up. Oh my God, my ass, my ass, my ass, this seat is hurting my ass. It’s bruising I can feel it. Ahhhhhh go faster, go faster. Can this bike flip over from this speed? Keep going it’s nearly the end of the song. I wish this was a padded seat.’ The next thing I remember hearing is “and slow down…keep your legs moving”. It was over!

‘Bloody hell, I did it. I actually did it! I feel fantastic, this is amazing. Why have I never done this before?’

It was my first ever spin class. I promise, you will feel something very similar and you will feel on top of the world! I booked my next class straight away before I even left the gym.

I got more prepared for the next class

Over the next week I invested some time on planning for my next spin class. First off, I put a towel in my gym kit. This is an absolute necessity because the sweat kept running into my eyes, and I couldn’t wipe it away as everywhere and I mean everywhere was sweating on my face and body.

Next up I thought about how to fix the bike so I would be more comfortable. I checked out a website that gave me a basic technique on how to position the bike and I’ve been following it ever since, I’ve attached the link here or you can click the link below. It’s definitely a lot more comfortable now and I highly recommend their advice.

TCM Indoor Cycling 1.0: How To Set Up Your Spin Bike

Now I’ll admit it takes your ass a couple of weeks to get use to the seat or maybe that’s just my ass that had an issue. However you eventually get past that and to be honest you don’t even notice the bike seat after a while.

My top tip is get to the class early and don’t take your phone. I spend that fifteen minutes getting my bike set-up, getting comfortable, doing a warm up and most importantly I switch off. I now no longer take my phone into a gym class or around the gym with me. I want to switch off, no distractions. It’s now just me and the bike. Nothing else!!

A spin class is designed to push you to your limits; it’s going to test your mental and physical strength. It’s going to hurt during and after that workout but you are going to feel the best you’ve ever felt. I’ve noticed so many more improvements in my body since taking up spin:

  • I have way more energy now, a ridiculous amount actually.
  • I now sleep like a log. It’s a restful sleep and I wake up much happier, less groggy (less bitchy too).
  • It’s helped my mental health. It’s made me see things more positively and clears my head. I’m calmer, more focused and I can deal with situations better.
  • My skin is happier. I’m sweating out the crap and it results in a healthier complexion. Plus I always have lovely rosy cheeks after class.
  • Immune health is the best it has ever been. I used to constantly be ill will colds and headaches, always picking up bugs. Spin and all my other exercise has made me stronger and I’m very rarely unwell.
  • I’m Happy! I’ve found something I love. The healthy competitiveness of the class is amazing, yet we are still all working together to the routine. You can feel the overwhelming achievement felt by everyone by the end of the class.

One day you will be driving home from work and a song will come on the radio that is played in your spin class. You will be listening to the song but in your head you will be going over the movements of the class, squat, up, down, 2, 4, whatever the combination is.

If you’ve never tried spin then I highly recommend it. I’ve only been doing this for 6 months now but there has not been one week that I haven’t enjoyed it. Or one time that I’ve thought I’ve had enough of this. In fact I just want to push myself more every week. If spin isn’t for you, then try something else; Legs, bums and tums, pump, CrossFit, boxing, jujitsu, running, swimming, pole dancing, tennis or badminton. Try it all and keep trying until you find something you love. Something that makes you feel alive and empowered!

You may find a few things you love or some things that just aren’t for you, it doesn’t matter. Just go out there and find it. It’s going to be scary, a little intimidating and it may not be easy. But you’ll feel great after it.

Spin is just one of a few things I love doing. I love this class from start to finish. Most of all I love how much I switch off during the class. It’s just me. It’s just the bike. And it’s just the finish line. It’s my ‘me’ time.

Now go and find yours!

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