Monday, May 20, 2013

My very first spin class

Since a few of you were wondering about spin, I figured I’d make a full post about it. Disclaimer: this was my experience. Take it for what it’s worth.

I showed up extremely nervous, but relaxed a bit when I realized everyone else there was a newbie, too!  The staff was really helpful and the instructor helped me fix my bike. Once the class got going, it was high energy and a workout you won't soon forget; Or at least my butt hasn't.

From the moment I was just sitting on the bike, before we had even started, my butt hurt. Like a lot. That should've been the first red flag. I was hoping that sometime during class, I'd get used to it or my butt would go numb; something besides excruciating pain. Unfortunately, that never happened and, not gonna lie, there were definitely moments where I cried. Luckily, the lights are off so no one can really see what’s going on and the music is so loud, no one can hear your soft cries. 

This really upset me because I wanted to enjoy the workout, but I couldn’t. All I could focus on was literally the pain in my butt and trying to get it to stop. I don't know about you, but I like feeling sore in the muscles I used during the workout; feeling like my butt is black and blue and on fire? Not so much my idea of a good time. I could feel each blood vessel pop and as the bruises were forming.

I was terrible at this stuff. My core strength kind of sucks and little did I know that seems to be a big factor in spin class. There was a lot of standing on the bike, which I don't think was set up correctly because my knees kept hitting the handlebars. I could barely get off the bike, so I just pedaled as hard as I could without puking. Being in the front row didn't help matters either. I felt bad that I couldn't keep up and I was directly in front of the instructor. I was not feeling good about myself at all and that's not really how I like to feel when I'm working out. (for the record this instructor was super encouraging and even told me I did a great job after class. Thanks for lying ;)

There are many different ways of encouraging and a fine line between that and pushing too far. I’m a fan of the lighthearted yoga and Zumba encouragement. I do better in those environments. High intensity spin classes or Crossfit don’t really seem fall into those categories, which is why I’m sure I stayed clear of them in the past. But hey! Gotta try new things every once and awhile, right? I also feel like if I were stronger, I’d feel differently, but who knows? For now, high pressure and intense workouts like that are not my cup of tea. I also don't think there is anything wrong with that. Everyone’s different. I’d like to stick to things that make me feel good. Bruises on my butt do not make me feel good.


I'm not ruling out that I'll ever do it again, but definitely not until I've completely forgotten what a pain in the ass it is, pun definitely intended. So, it's safe to say I won't be signing up for a triathlon anytime soon and probably will need to sit on ice for the rest of the week.


I also want to stress, just because this wasn't my jam, doesn't mean it won't be yours. I totally encourage you to go and try a class. How are you going to know what you like until you try it? If I hadn’t tried Zumba, I never would've known how much fun cardio could be! Fred, who actually is a fan of this torture, mentioned on my last post that the key is finding a teacher you like that plays music you enjoy and will keep you focused. Personally, I’m ok with never figuring that out and I’m sure my butt will thank me.


How do you feel about spin?

24 comments:

  1. I didn't realize you were that miserable when we texted last night. Maybe spin isn't the thing for you. I will say that if your knees were touching the handle bars, the bike wasn't set up correctly. I hope you give it another shot at some point. It really is an awesome form of cross training.

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    1. I can safely say spin is NOT for me. Maybe we can re-address it when I'm not in pain, but for now, no.

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  2. Invest in a pair of bike shorts - it will be all the difference!

    Where did you take class? I agree with Fred's comment - it's all about the instructor. I have a good place you should try if you want to give it another shot (I'll even go with you so you can yell at me if you still don't like it!).

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    1. I've heard that, but I don't want to invest in shorts for something I don't see myself doing often.

      I'll email you about the place. I don't want it to seem like bad publicity bc it was a nice place.

      Thank you for the offer, but I'd totally rather hang out doing anything else ;)

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  3. Haha I HATE spin class. Every 6-12 months I forget how much I hate it and try a class again because so many people love it and I wonder what I'm missing, and then I go again and remember how much I hate it. Sorry it was so painful. :(

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    1. So glad I'm not the only one! I agree, I wish I knew what everyone loved about it, but I'm not willing to be in pain to figure it out.

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  4. Glad you tried spin. I looked to it as a form of long run replacement two summers ago and it played a major role in maintenance and eventually dropping 20 minutes in the half. I'd encourage you to give it another shot. The soreness is something you have to get used to, or you can get padded shorts (which I have, and they help a lot). Since I'm primarily doing CrossFit now, I don't think it's fair to loop it in with spin. I find spin to be much more intense and tear-inducing, since it's 60 minutes of the same motion and really hard work. I definitely cried in spin class once when I was first getting started. CrossFit is an hour-long class, but with the portions of hardest work (that don't necessarily occur in every workout) range from like 4 to 30 minutes, with the longer WODs being rare. Most are around 10-15 minutes, and I always think to myself that I can do 15 minutes of anything. And I can. The environment at CrossFit is really different, and we all encourage each other. There are few beasts, unlike how spin class felt to me... I always thought I was the only one dying and suffering, since no one but the instructor speaks. I no longer spin because I didn't love it, and the cycling motion tends to aggravate my IT band. Don't let your experience deter you from a triathlon, either. Riding on the road is completely different from the very high intensity classes.

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    1. Good to know, Katherine! Thanks for clearing all that up and the insight.

      I'm probably going to wait on all that. I think I'm getting ahead of myself on all the new adventures!

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  5. I keep thinking I want to try spin, but I have this very vague memory from years ago of having the same issue. I remember being so focused on how badly my butt hurt, that I could barely work out. I give you credit for branching out, though. Good job!

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    1. Thanks, Jaime! I think I'm sticking to zumba for awhile! haha.

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  6. Abby i'm so sorry you (and many othersm apparently)had such a terrible experience!I've been spinning and road-cycling for over ten years. I don't remember ever feeling pain while seated- that's not normal. I would like to offer some tips for the recently discouraged.
    Wear padded shorts or at least get a gel seat. One rarely gets used to cycling without one or the other. It is good protection for the hoo-ha if ya know what I mean...
    When you are seated, you should be resting your ischial tuberosities (sit bones) on the biggest part of the seat, not your hoo-ha. There is actually a really good reason that the seat is so narrow. It promotes blood flow in the large arteries in your tushy. A wider seat would constrict flow due to location.
    You need enough tension on the flywheel to keep yourself relatively stable in the seat, but also so your legs are working to keep the pressure off of your tushy, almost like a jockey riding a horse (almost).
    The instructor should always emphasize that this is YOUR ride, you should not be competing with the others. Even after 10 years of spinning, I refuse to do the jumps. I don't see the point.
    I do hope you'll try it again. It is a really good way to crosstrain, especially for runners.

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    1. Thanks for the tips, Deanna! I wish I would've hear this beforehand. If I ever do try it again, I'll definitely keep all this in mind.

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  7. I can tell you from experience that even having a good instructor does not help your butt hurt less!! I took spin for a couple months (once a week) trying to convince myself that I enjoyed the torture, but I just don't. I may try it again once I lose (a lot) more weight, but I'd rather take a dance class. :) Good job for trying it out though!

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    1. haha. right?! I totally feel the same way!

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  8. Too bad the instructor didn't help you alter the bike properly before you got started - I did my first 2 SPIN classes a couple of months ago and loved it. Very difficult but awesome.

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    1. He did, that's why I'm so confused. Oh well. I'm glad you enjoyed your experience, though!

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  9. Sorry you had a rotten experience. That really stinks! Spin classes can be pretty tough, but I've never experienced the pain you are talking about, of course I do tri so I'm used to being on the bike. If you ever consider it again I would definitely think about purchasing the padded bike shorts - they definitely help.

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    1. I totally thought "I have no idea how Michael does this!". haha! You are a rockstar.

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  10. I am with you on this one, spin is not my favorite cross training activity! I gave it a try awhile ago and have no been back since. My legs and knees already ache from running I don't need to throw extra pain in my butt!
    Way to go and give it a try, stepping out of the comfort zone is never easy! I'll stick to the road and my yoga mat :)

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  11. Just wanted you to know how much I love the little someecard you put in this post. I'm pretty sure I'll still be laughing by the time I go to bed tonight...

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    1. haha! Glad you enjoyed it, it was the best representation I could find of this experience.

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  12. I'm so proud of you for trying spin!! Part of the reason I haven't tried it (besides being scared of the intensity and being yelled at by an instructor) is the pain after I start riding my bike each year (you'd think I'd learn and keep up the bike riding throughout the year). It eventually lessons, but oh yeah, that first ride is painful. Thanks for sharing your experience!!

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    1. Thanks, Emily! If you can ride a bike- I know you can rock out the Zumba class!

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