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The Dreaded Spin Zone

I recently started spinning. Who would have thought that something that sounded so girly could actually be so hard? If I was ever in doubt beforehand, my worst fears about spinning have been confirmed. 

I had spent the last few years steering clear of the Spin Zone in the gym, graciously declining numerous invitations to try it out. I can now pat myself firmly on the back knowing it was a good choice; it is brutal. And this is coming from someone who used to play sports for a living.

My first day was amusing. It wasn’t fun for me, obviously, but for the rest of the class. Being the new guy, they already knew what was coming and I clearly had no idea. In hindsight, this explains the smug looks on some of their faces when the instructor asked me if it was my first time and I had said yes. 

Ten minutes into the class, I was sucking wind harder than I care to remember and was ready to quit. I probably would have quit if not for  whatever little pride I had left. Said pride wouldn’t allow me to get off that bike when there was a 50 year-old man next to me that was making it look easy. He, apparently, was under the impression that this was the Tour De France circa 1973. There I was, ten minutes in and ready to die, with 35 minutes to go. 

Watching a clock for 35 minutes is no fun; I’ve seen paint dry faster. I would look at it, after what seemed like an eternity and it would have  barely moved. Eventually the class  did come to an end. I could barely feel my legs; someone had replaced them with Jell-O, I slept really well that night. 
There was a time when I could justify the decision to avoid these sorts of indignities due to the fact that I was getting more than my fair share of cardio from playing professional basketball. Unfortunately, that excuse is not a luxury I have anymore. As a result, my options are to either stop eating food I actually enjoy, or find alternate forms of torture masquerading as cardio. 

Clearly, option one is not an option, so spinning it is. In all honesty, I think my biggest problem with things like spinning and running is that I get bored. Their repetitive nature drains me mentally way before I become physically exhausted. If I am exercising to punish myself, there should at least be some variety in the experience. I suppose the accompanying music helps in spinning, except when you get an instructor who has really awful taste– then it’s doubly excruciating. It’s bad enough having to endure Ricky Martin under normal circumstances, but having that pounding in my ear while I’m on a bike is just sadistic.

The irony of all this is that when I’m not in the gym, I probably come across as one of the lazier people you might meet. I would never dream of taking the stairs if there is an elevator anywhere nearby. People will say, “Let’s take the stairs, it’s good exercise.” That’s all well and good for them, but I already got my workout in for the day, so I’m good. Plus, if you’re relying on the stairs for your day’s worth of, good luck with that. What are we talking about here, burning 15 calories? I’ll meet you up there, I’m taking the elevator.

The other classic line is, “Let’s walk off the meal.” That one is really quite amusing because unless we are walking from New York City to California, that thousand calorie meal is not getting burnt off anytime soon, so let’s just hop on the subway and get where we’re going.

Anyway, now I’m a few weeks of spin class in and have finally managed to settle into a nice groove. I wouldn’t call myself a veteran yet, but I have made significant progress. It’s amazing how some things that seem so difficult at first become comfortable over time if we just stick with it. Don’t get me wrong, I dread it every time I go, but it’s getting easier.

The best part is that afterwards, I feel less guilty about stuffing my face with all kinds of things I should probably not be eating. I can’t wait for the next new guy to come into the class; it’ll be nice to see someone else suffer like I did. It’s true what they say: misery does love company.

Featured Image by Trust “Tru” Katsande on Unsplash

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