Monday, February 25, 2008

Nickxandar at Spinning (RPM)

Today’s entry is a nod to Magus Young whose entries of him trying out the GX classes offered at his gym have long inspired me to try them myself. Of course, me being me it would take months after reading his entries before I did anything towards that goal. But I finally did it at last this past Friday and as promised will be documenting it as a blog entry. The title of this entry by the was is also a nod to Magus’s post on his experiences in the RPM class which you can read here.

Having taken last Friday off from work, I decided to go to the gym much earlier than I usually do. I don’t know why but even after 30 minutes of cardio and 1.5 hrs of weight training with the PT, I still felt that my energy level was quite high. In hindsight, it might be the mushroom fried rice and cendol that I had for lunch before coming to the gym, but at the time I was definitely buzzing on something. As just as I was finishing up with my PT, I saw that they were just setting up for a class at the spinning room and I decided to finally give it a try. Since I wasn’t sure what the experience level requirement for that afternoon’s class was, I had to look for the instructor first to confirm if a newbie such as myself would be able to sit in for the class.

It turned out that the instructor for the spinning class was someone I had noticed at the gym before and he quickly assured me that even it was a intermediate multi-level class, newbies are welcomed to join. We just need to go at our pace and not to try to match the more experienced people in the class. He helped me set up the bike that I was to use that evening which was actually a much less daunting task that I initially feared. There were 3 newbies that afternoon and we were all grouped together in the front of the class so the instructor could keep an eye for us if needed. Once we all were sorted out and the basics were explained to newbies, we started to hit the paddle.

I love exercising on the stationary bike even though I cannot cycle at all even to save my life on a regular bike. Of all the cardio exercise machines in the gym, the stationary bike has always been my favorite since it’s less painful on my knees and ankles. Since I was already going intensity interval rides on for my cardio all this time, spinning came quite naturally for me. I guess that’s why the comment came from the instructors that I seem to already have strong legs for someone who has not done spinning before (*blush*). Of course the main difference now is that I actually have a better soundtrack playing to cycle to instead of the one I keep playing in my head when I’m on the stationary bike.

The song selections that afternoon was decidedly a wee bit retro than I expected considering some of the songs that I heard blasting out of the spinning room before. I don’t know if this was a choice by this particular instructor or if was to cater to the slightly older group in the class that afternoon. I’m not complaining though as I still could get into a cycling rhythm as well as actually knowing the words to the song to mumble under my breath while trying to catch my breath. I wasn’t expecting to hear Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out For A Hero” at the gym though.

The routine itself was fairly mixed between flat and hilly cycling. I fiddled with the intensity control knob to find a level that I was comfortable with and limited myself to quarter turns in each direction this first time out. I guess once I get more used to sequence, I would be able to raise the level of intensity to challenge myself more. Unlike stationary bikes where you keep your butt parked on the seat, there were more than a few times during the spinning class that we had to stand up and cycle as if we were cycling up hill which honestly I was thankful to have. While you do have to increase the intensity, feel the burn in your quads/glutes and really push yourself when you’re in the standing climb position, it was actually a welcome release from sitting on the hard plastic seat that was threatening to cut off circulation to my family jewels.

By the end of the session, I was sweating buckets but really exhilarated at the great workout. No doubt that I wasn’t pushing myself to my fullest intensity at this first try, I know that I would definitely try to put a few spinning class somewhere in my weekly gym session. I do need to keep cardio in the program so I can balance out the weight training with endurance training for a fuller gym experience and spinning class looks like a good choice for the time being. A great instructor, good tunes and a working in a group vibe really made the experience an enjoyable one and now I am sheepishly ashamed that it took me this long to finally try it.

Now .. if only I can bring myself to try “Body Pump” classes next

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