Thursday, January 02, 2014

the peculiar etiquette of spin class

I returned to work this morning, after the final blast eating and drinking that is New Year's Eve, followed by New Year's Day which is pretty much like New Year's Eve, except that you eat and drink too much while you are wearing pajamas. I packed a nourishing and fibrous lunch of alfalfa and corn husks (actually slaw salad, carrots and green beans), and made sure to bring my exercise clothing. I was afraid I might talk myself out of exercising, so I changed into my workout clothing 40 minutes before the spin class began, and told myself, "If you don't want to go to spin class, you can change back into your work clothes in 40 minutes." HAH! I went to spin class.

If you have never been to spin class, you will think that it is peculiar. This impression would be most accurate. You have a room full of sweaty people on exercise bikes, being urged on by a sweaty teacher with a headset microphone. There's loud music and some shouting involved, and everybody pedaling hard and fast and standing up on the pedals to go up imaginary hills, and having imaginary races with one another. Some of the people wear heart rate monitors that talk to little boxes on their bikes called "pilots." The pilot takes your age, weight, and maximum and resting heart rates and estimates how far you are pedaling, how fast you are pedaling, what your heart rate is, and how many calories you have burned on your imaginary ride. Speaking of burning, people who are new to the class often complain that the saddle of the bike makes their seat burn. That is a short-lived phenomenon. After about 6 classes, you get calluses on your seat and it doesn't bug you any more.

There is some etiquette to spin class:

  1. Greet your neighbours then look away. Don't watch and compare to find out who is pedaling fastest (or at least pretend not to look).
  2. Drink lots of water, but not out of a wheezy squeeze bottle. Do not belch.
  3. When the instructor says to the class, "I want your bums hanging over the back of your seats," resist asking "How many of my bums do you want me to do this with?"
  4. Cheer other riders on during the drills, but don't be too noisy. Try to hoot and holler a little bit less than the hootiest person in the class. That person may be irritating someone.
  5. Tell the instructor when you like a song that she has chosen for her workout. Just shout "Good song!"
  6. If you are wearing a short top and low cut pants, pedal in the back row. Nobody wants to sit behind you and see that.
  7. Do not engage in side conversations. Spinning is a team/community activity. Do not talk on a cell phone or text during spin class.
  8. Do not freestyle. It's weird and distracting. Or at least go to the back row to freestyle, especially if you are in the outfit described in rule #6.
  9. Have fun! The hour will go by quickly if you are laughing and smiling.
  10. Wipe your bike! And share the towels and spray bottle. If you want to be a model spin class citizen, spray up a couple of extra wiping towels after the class, and hand them to people coming up to the towel station. That's classy.
Guess what? At the end of the class I felt GREAT! I can't wait to go again.

question: have you tried it?

mompoet - callused and hooting (moderately)

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