Since I turned in one of my papers (the one for my traditional class, not the independent study), I’ve been on a bit of a kick of getting over to Campus Rec. This scooter has seriously made a huge difference in my life!
Anyhow, on Wednesday after work I decided I wanted to hit a spin class. A personal trainer friend was telling me that the Rec got new spin bikes fairly recently that were more adjustable (the old ones were too tall for my little legs), so I wanted to see if I could find an equivalent to a “runner’s high.” For those of you that might not be familiar, spin is a group fitness class where everyone is on a stationary bike that is built like a road bike. Some classes are different based on music, intensity, style, etc. Here’s a short clip with an instructor that walks & dances around while teaching (most instructors in my experience stay on their own bike and I’ve never had a class do the arm thing they’re doing in the video). One of the cool things about spin is that you personally have control of the tension on the bike, so if the instructor says to raise it, you can choose either to do it or not (in my more shy days, I would sometimes pretend to change it but most of the time the instructor isn’t going to comment whether you do or not).
I was running a bit late from work, so I changed into workout gear at the office (plus the locker room is faux accessible and obnoxiously narrow & hard to navigate with any wheeled device). As it’s finals week, the Rec was pretty empty so I zipped into the dedicated spin room to find the instructor and two students on bikes. I pull next to the closest bike (which was the furthest away from the instructor, but I needed parking space) and made eye contact with her. She looked utterly baffled and I think was frozen in shock. Thankfully I have a LOT of experience with spin bikes so I didn’t need any help getting the bike set up to fit me properly [if you have never done spin but want to try it, make sure to get the instructor to help you set the bike up…an ill-fitting setup is going to cause discomfort and can cause injury, plus will likely make you think that spin is awful].
Since this was an experiment, I decided to keep everything pretty low key. I’m about 40 pounds heavier than I was the last time I was seriously into spin & cycling (it was my year of triathlons, distance cycling, running, & a duathlon), so I had some biomechanics to work out. I also wanted to give my body a fair shot at saying “yay” or “nay” to it without more injury, especially as I’m recovering from a sprained foot/ankle (hypermobility stinks). I figured that I can always choose to go harder, faster, and/or with more resistance later…today was about whether or not the spin bike and I could be friends.
I was pleasantly surprised. I had some issues related to keeping various body parts aligned properly (spine aligned so it didn’t put pressure on cyborg bits, knees slightly bent in the proper direction at all times), but mindfulness along with ignoring the instructor when necessary worked. The main issues I had were things that were unrelated to my spine and all were fixable. My tennis shoes were not the right style for the pedals (I’ve been using nursing shoes, but they don’t have the right padding for the bike pedal). My hands kept going numb or tingly, but that can be dealt with using cycling gloves (cycling gloves are padded to keep pressure off the carpal tunnel & other major nerves). My rear end was getting sore as well, so if I plan to make this a habit I really could use some new padded cycling shorts as the ones I own from my super athletic days are a size or two too small.
Because the issues I had with the class are mostly in the realm of “normal people adapting to spin class” problems, I’m going to consider it a win. I’m not sure if I will ever be able to ride hard enough to get a cycling equivalent of a runner’s high, but I do know that I managed 14 miles in a 40 minute class and that I was able to get myself sweat soaked and happy. I have a feeling that it will be amusing to look at the various instructors’ facial expressions as I pull into the room with my scooter (I can’t wait for a blatant “WTF is this crippled fat chick doing in here and if she needs a scooter, how the hell is she going to spin??”…if someone asks, I’ll sweetly tell them that the scooter lets me have the opportunity to workout because I’m not wasting upright-time ambulating).
I just picked up a new pair of gym shoes at Target (which was fun with the scooter…the shoe department employee seemed confused by the scooter-rider talking about which shoes would work for the gym better) and it looks like I can find shorts and gloves on Amazon for pretty cheap (anyone wanting to help me on this fitness adventure can use one of those Amazon links to purchase anything they want…I have an affiliate account now, so anything purchased through links on my blog will give me commission, not just the linked items).