Friday, November 30, 2012

Spinning Class

As I have mentioned before, Smith College, being a truly awesome employer, offers a set of free drop-in fitness classes through a program called, Get Fit Smith. Those of you who read my recent blog post know that, inspired by the fun I had at Smith's climbing wall, I decided to sign up for one of the Get Fit Smith spinning classes.
I have never tried spinning, and was looking forward to trying something new -- I signed up for the Friday, November 30 noon-time class with excitement.

In this moment of excitement, I must have had a moment of brief amnesia in which I forgot that I don't really like cycling. In my experience in the world of fitness, I have found there are people who like to run and, separately, people who like to bike. (There are the rare people who like to do both. These people are called triathletes and complete in triathlons and are either the most inspiring or the most crazy people one knows -- take your pick.)

I'll be honest I am a running person. I also like a good walk, cardio kickboxing, aerobics, HIIT training, or any of those totally crazy seeming at home fitness DVD programs. My preferred forms of exercise are those that don't involve sitting. Not to say that exercises that involve sitting, such as cycling or rowing, are easy. This not the case at all. However, I like to jump when I exercise, and I feel I sit enough during the rest of the day. I want my exercise to be in a completely vertical position.

Regardless of all of this, I was still in my state of happy forgetting-I-don't-really-like-to-bike amnesia when I entered the spin class today. The instructor was not very present until the exact start of class, so I was left more of less to myself to adjust the complicated spin bike. (This may have led to my lack of enjoyment in the class -- who knows.)

At exactly noon, the instructor arrived and put on some music, above which I could barely hear her. However, I did understand that we had a 50 minute class in which we'd warm up, do four 10 minute drills, and cool down.

This was all more or less fine. The drills incorporated interesting things like standing and "jumping" (which was not really jumping at all, but instead a movement where you sit and stand and sit and stand while pedaling). We continually adjusted a tension wheel to simulate climbing hills. The course we took seemed quite hilly.

My overriding problem though was the bike seat, otherwise known as a saddle, if you are a cycling person in the know. The seat was super uncomfortable. I feel as though my entire backside, where it was in contact with the seat of the spin bike, is bruised. This is not the discomfort of using new muscles but the discomfort of sitting and bouncing too long on a very hard surface. I'm hopefully that my running made my legs prepared for the rigors of spinning. They feel fine now, although this might be premature, and I shall wait for tomorrow to see for sure

It was interesting to check out something new with the fifty minute spin class, and I'm glad I was able to try for free at work. I think that spinning is definitely a good cardio workout, plus it works your legs hard. As a bonus, it's non-impact, so it's great for cross training days for those of us who do high impact activities. All in all though, I can't say I enjoyed the exercise that much. Perhaps this was because of the very limited instruction. I might try again with my step-mother, who's a spin instructor, and see if I like it better.

Either way I have a lot going on. You might think I am referring to the running streak I had pledged myself to last week. Alright, I admit it -- I have abandoned this effort after a miserable run in cold weather with a sub-freezing windchill last Saturday. I love to run, and I love to run outside. I don't want to get to a point where I hate to run because I force myself to do it just to keep up my streak.

Instead, for a holiday season challenge, I have decided to do another round of the fitness program Asylum, that I got for Chanukah/Christmas last year and did late last spring. I am getting the second set of DVDs for the program for the holidays this year, and I want to be ready. All this running had been great, but I need to keep up my strength and power -- Asylum is going to help me with that. I'm about a week in, having started on Sunday and am having a great time.

I am also looking forward to a fun running event Seth and I are doing this Sunday, the Hot Chocolate Run. This race will be a 5K in Northampton to support the charity Safe Passage. Apparently, the Hot Chcolate Run is one of the biggest races in Western Massachusetts drawing around 5,500 people this year. I think that this is going to be a very exciting local community even this weekend. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures and fill you in!

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