Fancy a spin?

It’s funny how the fitness centre car park is always overflowing in January/February – where have all these people been and how do they all disappear so quickly by March?

I must admit I have upped my frequency at the gym over the last few weeks and that has been mainly on the cardio side – enter Spin classes.

The concept of Spinning has never sat right with me. Why cycle indoors for a start? What is it about a hot, sweaty, darkened room that entices people? Why engage in an activity that ends up with your thighs looking quite chunky, regardless of muscle to fat ratio? Many questions indeed, but late last year I decided that if other ladies I knew were persisting with it, then there must be something I was missing; so I indulged myself.

The class in question was on a Friday morning; three of us arrived, with me quite unsure what the next hour would entail. After the first 5 minutes of trying to work out how to change the height of the seat and handlebars, I was ready for the torture that would soon engulf my body. And yes, torture it was. The first song (just a warm up, apparently) had such a fast beat that my legs simply could not keep up with the RPM, (‘rotations per minute’, I was informed) even though the resistance I had on the bike was minimal. Then onto the main core of the workout – hill climbs, intervals of hills and short sprints, and then full on sprints. It got so bad that half way through, I simply had to turn the resistance down to a paltry level just so I could keep the pedals rotating, thereby giving the illusion to the instructor that I was totally accustomed to this type of class. I kept glancing longingly at the exit, but to get there would mean enduring the smirks of other riders in the class – I could not subject myself to that humiliation. Eventually 45 minutes were up – I dismounted, hoping that my legs would support me back on terra firma. One of my friends seemed to feel the way I did although with a more positive attitude. The other one was a marathon runner, so she probably found the whole thing a doddle – I thought it best not to question her opinion of it all.

Back in the cafe after a latte, my heart beat was starting to return to normal and my legs were feeling slightly more steady. I can’t say I enjoyed the process but I did weirdly feel better as a result of having done it. So much so that until Christmas it was a weekly ritual for me. Regarding the chunky thighs – well, I would say that they have got slightly larger but also more toned , which is definitely an improvement so I can’t really argue that one. Since the start of the year, I have upped the frequency to two classes a week – the enjoyment still hasn’t kicked in alas, but now I’m just counting those calories! A 45 minute spin lesson burns around 500 calories for someone of my build (65 kgs, 5ft 6 inches), and if I can do that 2 or 3 times a week, then in addition to the odd tennis game and pilates, I’m well on the way to losing a few pounds over a month. If only I could find a fat free range of biscuits and chocolate!

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