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Spin Cycle Class: have you tried one?

By November 4, 2008 - 2:46pm
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I heard that a 30 minute spin class can burn more than 500 calories, compared to my treadmill jogging for 30 minutes, that burns "only" about 250 calories (I'm at a 15+ minutes/mile pace).

Have you ever tried a spinning class? How was it? They look very intense, so I'm nervous about overdoing it my first time. Any tips for a beginner?

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Our marathon training program head coach arranged for a private spin class for us with the local 24-HR Fitness where she and several others on our team are members. It just so happened that my slot was about 1 hour after I had done an 8-mile training run (I had been doing back-to-back Sat/Sun runs since July for an upcoming distance event). So, I went into the 45-minute class already a bit fatigued. This I do not recommend, lol!

All the same, having tried to do spinning workouts on my own, I found the group environment much more fun and challenging. Our instructor was awesome, the music well-chosen, and the lights were turned down low so that we wouldn't get headaches from light bouncing off the mirrors. We also had been arranged into a circle and that was fun - no looking at someone's rear end!

Spinning is great strength training for the legs and cardio for the heart. Because it's low impact, it's good for distance runners as part of our cross-training program, and for when the weather is non-cooperative.

The only thing is that I'm not a gym rat. Years ago, I had a spinner bike at home. When I replace my road bike, I'm planning to get a stationary trainer and hook up my heart rate monitor to it. My youngest sister is a triathlete and swears by this more convenient alternative to spin class.

Spin class does look intimidating, but there are different levels and you can work your way up to the TDF level (if you want). It's really all up to what you really want to do.

November 5, 2008 - 6:12pm

The first time I went to a spin class, I was intimidated too. In fact, for a couple weeks before I went to one, I used a treadmill close to the classroom so I could see what people did before and during the class. I could see what they wore, where they put their water bottles, and how they adjusted their bikes before class. I couldn't hear a lot of the class itself because they'd close the door, but I could see them working in there.

The best thing about spin class is that you are in charge of your own bike's resistance. You can pedal as fast or as slow as you want to and put as much resistance on the pedals that you want to. So if you're tired, you just take it down a notch; if you're doing great, maybe you rev it up a notch.

I think it burns 500 calories because the combination of music, visualization and collective energy of the class makes you want to work harder and harder. You really do push yourself. You COULD work that hard on a treadmill or ellipitcal or stationary bike, but it's hard to motivate yourself to push through your own limits when you're doing it all by yourself.

What's really intense in a spinning class is some of the other participants. Don't be intimidated by those who come dressed in bike clothes, immediately push the gears up to their highest level, and talk about how this instructor kicks their butt! No matter what, you can still tailor the workout to yourself. And you'll probably have a good time while you do.

November 5, 2008 - 9:12am
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