Friday 22 September 2017

Fitness tested: Spinning

Photo courtesy of Mad Dogg Athletics
Photo courtesy of Mad Dogg Athletics

Elaine Roddy

I’d always avoided Spinning – simple as that. I’d happily trot on a treadmill at my own easy pace for a solid hour rather than go though the gruelling masochistic looking torture that the Spinners seem to endure as I’ve witnessed from afar many a time in the gym.

Why would anyone want to do that to themselves? Well last week I found out.

Buoyed by bout of jealousy as my fiancé left for yet another session and boasted about how many calories he was about to burn, I grabbed my trainers with all the enthusiasm of a lamb heading for the slaughter and followed him.

Even as I started the journey up the stairs to the studio my thighs started to groan at the effort. You see I’ve never felt that strong in the legs, nor loin for that matter, so I always felt I should steer clear of my weak spots.

Mind you, I’ve also wondered why those skinny jeans never quite had me feeling that skinny at all and now I know! In order to strengthen and tone those legs into shape I need to start USING them as I exercise.

So armed with a large bottle of water as advised (always a sign of seriously hard work ahead) I found a free bike.

Around me were the enthused ‘spinnies’ as I call them already Spinning away on a low gear to warm up and start the burn before the class started.

Spinning, by the way, is apparently one of the best ways to burn calories healthily in any one session than any other fitness class.

Anyway up I hopped, strapped myself into the pedals (again another warning sign!) and started to push. It seemed simple for the first few turns but after about 20 of them I started to feel that muscle tension that reminds you the heart rate is on the up and the beads of sweat on the way down.

As the instructor started the class officially, I steeled myself for the off and did as I was told. Spinning is basically like going on a long bike ride with varying difficulties and challenges along the road due to hills and so on, except the bike is stationary and you’re in a room.

As with a normal bike ride you can choose the level of difficulty by opting for various gears and the higher the gear, the tougher the cycle, but the further you travel and hence the more calories you’ll burn.

Our instructor was a tough task master but motivating nonetheless. He told us to imagine we were heading up the hills, cycling down a incline and most importantly oft racing against each other.

Spinning is a competitive sport in itself and even going ‘downhill’ at a low speed you are sprinting against each other and pedalling like crazy for up to 30 seconds a go…simple as this may sounds it takes a lot out of you.

As hard as that was, it wasn't as bad as my least favourite, the seated climb. Different to the rising climb where you are up out of your seat as you pedal (I quite liked this one), the seated climb has you at a very high gear and relying on those thigh muscles to keep you moving. That said, it doesn’t last for very long and the ‘interval’ nature of the journey makes the hard times easier to bear.

After 45 minutes, I was truly wrecked but invigorated (not to mention a little shaken) and, despite my previous reluctance, I will definitely be going more regularly.

As I travel the road to fitness perfection with the many twists and turns it presents, I have realised that I need someone pushing me in order to get results. There’s a competitive, stubborn streak in me that never likes to let something get the better of me and now that I’ve tried spinning and survived, I’m going to continue with it.

They say it never gets easy – you just get fitter. One final benefit of spinning is that once a class is done you become very aware of just how much effort it takes to burn a quantity of calories and it puts you off calorific treats for you know hell it takes to burn them off. It seems some things are better than chocolate!

For information on pay as you go spinning see www.justclasses.info
Elaine Roddy is Director of Buzz PR see www.buzzpr.ie

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