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Thread: Spin Classes

  1. #1
    Senior Member fatpunk's Avatar
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    Spin Classes

    So a spin studio recently opened about 30 minutes from where I live. (everything is 30-45 minutes from me) I've been contemplating trying it but being a uber clyde I have my questions and I don't feel like asking them questions some 110 lb super fit and lean person will not be able to relate to.

    1. Are the bikes comfortable? I read they use Spinning NXT-SR bikes. I don't know the first thing about spin bikes.
    2. How did you as a clyde enjoy it? I have a general fear of being the guy who can't maintain the pace and hearing, "OH COME ON SPEED IT UP FATTY!" (past exp in a boot camp)
    3. If you did or did not enjoy it, why?

    Thanks guys/gals.

  2. #2
    Senior Member markm109's Avatar
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    I used to go to spinning classes at the local Lifetime. You get all types - from super fit to clydes at the classes. One of the instructors was also a clyde and another instructor was a very fit female mountain biker that raced for a lbs team. Every instructor was polite and didn't treat me any different than anyone else. They understand that each person has a different level of fitness. You do what you can do but you will also get out of it what you put in, as with anything. I never heard any negative comments by the instructors or other participants.

    I enjoyed the classes, just the times of the classes were not good for me. I'm no longer a member. The after work classes filled up quickly. You had to be in line 45 minutes early to do a weekend class. The only class that wasn't full was 5:15am but I couldn't get my butt out of bed that early very often.

    The gym used Lemond Revmaster spinning bikes at first and then those were replaced by Schwinn spinning bikes. Both were fine with my 250lb frame. They are quickly adjustable to fit you, just when you get it right, remember the settings.

    I found a barely used Lemond Revmaster on craigslist last fall for a great price and picked it up. I like riding that better than riding my bikes on trainers. It feels more stable and I've put a brooks saddle on it. And it is way more quiet than a trainer. I don't have to have the TV on the highest setting any more. LOL

    The only thing I didn't care for was you just stared at the walls. And hoped they played music you liked. At home I watch TV or cycle training videos that take place outdoors so you have constant moving scenery to look at and your own ipod for music.

  3. #3
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    IMO there is nothing enjoyable about spin classes. They're simply to be endured. I will say, though, that I've never heard an instructor single out anyone who doesn't appear to be at the proper cadence (or have anything to say about someone's physical traits). They shout general motivational stuff for everyone. And the resistance knob is something that's pretty much between you and your conscience - the instructors have no control over it, nor do they have any knowledge of where you set it, other than some visual cues like pedaling too fast when you stand up due to lack of resistance.

    The bikes we have are not the same as yours, though they all have pretty much the same level of adjustability. I don't care for the saddles (too wide and cushy for me), but they aren't deal breakers. They're comfortable enough for the hour or so you're in there.

    My biggest complaint, though, is the noise. I absolutely abhor the music they all use, and my ears can't even begin to pick the instructor's words out of the high-volume aural assault. I have to watch her to see what we're supposed to be doing. Others don't appear to have the same problem, so I assume it may be an age thing. Maybe I'll try some earplugs next time.

    This may be my last winter of doing these - once I get my basement music/exercise room finished I'll ride my trainer in my own miserable solitude.
    Craig in Indy

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    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
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    I did some spin classes last winter when it was too cold and got dark early. You can do them as hard or as easy as you prefer, as you are in control of the tension knob and your cadence. Macho pride and a room full of fit women kept me hammering to keep up with the instructor. I found the sessions brutal, but they did me a world of good. Many others just did a light spin in the back of the room.

    A side benefit to spin classes is the great scenery.

    This year, I've improved my gear for riding after dark and in the cold, so my on road riding hasn't slowed down any and I'm not doing the spin sessions.

    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    My biggest complaint, though, is the noise. I absolutely abhor the music they all use, and my ears can't even begin to pick the instructor's words out of the high-volume aural assault. I have to watch her to see what we're supposed to be doing.
    Yup. Have to agree.
    2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '88 Trek 900, '92 Trek T100, 2000 Rans Tailwind

  5. #5
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    IMO there is nothing enjoyable about spin classes. They're simply to be endured. .......

    My biggest complaint, though, is the noise. I absolutely abhor the music they all use, and my ears can't even begin to pick the instructor's words out of the high-volume aural assault. I have to watch her to see what we're supposed to be doing. Others don't appear to have the same problem, so I assume it may be an age thing. .....
    This and the fact that several classes I've tried had very little connection to actual cycling: way too much standing and not enough high cadence spinning Of course you're free to do your own thing and set the resistance knob where it makes sense for your level. there are classes that are cyclist-oriented and are reputed to be very valuable.
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    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    1. Are the bikes comfortable? I read they use Spinning NXT-SR bikes. I don't know the first thing about spin bikes. Some are better than others, but they all can do the job. Get to class early, take some time setting yours up. Wear a chamois or liner. Or, if you are worried about the seat, bring one of those gel seat top that cover the spin bike seat. Bring earplugs just in case. Bring water, seriously.

    2. How did you as a clyde enjoy it? I have a general fear of being the guy who can't maintain the pace and hearing, "OH COME ON SPEED IT UP FATTY!" (past exp in a boot camp) As a general rule, spin instructors love noobs and out of shape riders. You may get a little extra attention, but in a good way. Some instructors like yelling 'pump it up" and similar during the class, those are normally the klunkers, most everyone ignores them. As far as keeping up with the isntructors, like 10% of the riders are on the pace - no worries.

    3. If you did or did not enjoy it, why? I'm a fairly fit clyde with years of spin experience, so my take may be different than others: It depends on the instructors. Some are pretty bad, the music is annoying, the routine does not transfer well to bike riding. I'd say it depends on whether the instructor is a rider or a spinner. If you get a competitive cyclist or triathlete as a spin instructor the classes can be really great. Otherwise, i ignore 50% of what the instructor says and just do my own thing, sometimes listening to my own music, often doing cadence drills. Spinning without a class works too, occasionally I spin for a couple hours listenng to my tapes, it's meditational. You want to find a gym or spin environment where the bikes are available for spinning before and after classes, no restrictions. Other than you own rollers or trainer, it's ideal for staying in riding shape during bad weather periods.

    Expected Benefits: It will knock off lbs, your cadence will improve, your heart rate & recovery profile will improve if you train correctly, if you keep raising the seat and lowering the front bars it wil train you for riding in a rotated position - you may find over time you want to drop the bars on your bike to a couple inches below saddle height-go aero-...and you get to watch the girls in front of you. And, no headwinds.
    Last edited by FrenchFit; 01-31-13 at 10:21 AM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    IMO there is nothing enjoyable about spin classes. They're simply to be endured. I will say, though, that I've never heard an instructor single out anyone who doesn't appear to be at the proper cadence (or have anything to say about someone's physical traits). They shout general motivational stuff for everyone. And the resistance knob is something that's pretty much between you and your conscience - the instructors have no control over it, nor do they have any knowledge of where you set it, other than some visual cues like pedaling too fast when you stand up due to lack of resistance.
    Heh. "Endured." Good description, especially if the music is bad. With that said, I did regularly attend one spinning class that I enjoyed. The instructor was great. She varied the routine from class to class, explained each drill clearly and usually played decent (even fun) tunes. IME, she was a rare exception.

    A lot of times I will see instructors and participants spinning at such high cadences that their bodies are bouncing up and down like jack hammers. No relation whatsoever to real cycling.

  8. #8
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    The one routine the instructors at my gym are fond of, that bears no resemblance to real cycling (at least not my kind of cycling), is seated low-rpm, pushing huge resistance. I cut my cycling teeth back in the day when the conventional wisdom was that each year you built a large mileage base with high-rpm spinning before you ever think of trying to mash, or you put your knees at risk. I've been through enough knee problems to believe it's true, at least for me. So I refuse to do low-rpm/high-resistance seated work in a class. If I'm going to blow out a knee, I'm going to do it while actually cycling, and not indoors preparing for cycling.
    Craig in Indy

  9. #9
    Senior Member gunner65's Avatar
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    I have only been able to make it to a class o few times but the few times I have I really enjoyed it. The bike for me is no more comfortable or uncomfortable then any stationairy bike at the gym so just set it up for yourself and try it out. The instructors have been in my situation very kind and helpful and so far at my gym they are all cyclists. It is not easy but if you are wanting to work out it really should not be easy. It is a kick in the ass when you first begin but no one is watching or judging you because they are not gonna have the time or energy to spend judging you. I hope my schedule allows me more opp to get in a class or two a week at least when the weather sucks for riding.

  10. #10
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Just like a group ride leader can make or break a group ride, your instructor will make or break your spin session. A good instructor knows how to motivate and also knows how to watch students and make appropriate modifications on the fly. It is important to remember not to compare yourself to everyone else in the class. Push yourself but don't be ashamed to sit down a little early or to not crank the resistance up every time the instructor calls for it. We don't have spin classes at my gym but have three spin cycles and a 42" TV with a couple of DVDs you can check out. I'm usually soaked in sweat and puffing by the time I'm done and gave up worrying about who was looking or what they thought a long time ago.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    The one routine the instructors at my gym are fond of, that bears no resemblance to real cycling (at least not my kind of cycling), is seated low-rpm, pushing huge resistance.
    Man. That's the opposite of spinning. Good choice not to pedal that way.

  12. #12
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    I go to spin class when I know I need a workout but I'm out of other options. It's very convenient and I already have a membership at the gym to use their pool and weights.

    The spin bikes in my class are horrible. The saddle is cushy and domed and puts pressure on all kinds of soft tissue that aren't intended to bear weight (I am female) without supporting the sit bones. One session the saddle was misaligned and rubbed raw spots in some tender skin. I wear my bike shorts that have the thickest chamois padding and use lube. I inspect the bikes before I choose that evening's steed to make sure that the saddle doesn't have any tears, that the resistance adjustment/cable work. I also have trouble getting the saddle height and reach to handlebars to fit me. The cranks are longer than what my knees like and I have to be very warmed up to tolerate standing while I pedal.

    The instructor is perky and thinks she is funny but the negative comments about how people over 30 belong in a silver sneakers program, how the losers sit in the back row, how wimpy anyone is that leaves before the class is over, how spandex cyclist attire and day-glo colors should be illegal because it offends her fashion sensibilities -- I was ready to complain to management but I was too out of breath. I just figure she's an ignorant twit with an overinflated sense of self-importance who knows nothing of riding a bicycle out in the real world. Other people may appreciate a cheerleader/boot camp instructor type.

    The low-rpm huge resistance and the "hovering" doesn't seem knee-friendly at all. I have good leg-extension strength so I'm fine with mashing, just don't think it should be pushed on everyone. Funny, one reason I came was to work on my spinning cadence to try to get some leg speed. Standing while pedaling I only do for a few minutes each session, mostly just to get off that horrible saddle and to get my heart rate up when I get too lazy and my heartrate needs to go a little faster.

    The good part is that I'm over 50 and am fine with sitting in the back row doing whatever feels like the correct thing for me to do, no matter what anyone else thinks or says of it. I accept that it is for general fitness with some carryover to real cycling. I endure the 60-minute class and do it at a minimal effort level as a recovery ride/average heartrate about 120. As said above, other people can't tell how much resistance you've set your bike at, so it's your own business to set it at a level that is appropriate for you and your objectives that day. My intense workouts I save for my outdoor riding or some of my swim workouts.

    The room my class is in is very well air-conditioned but it still gets hot quickly. Do bring a water bottle, bring a small hand-towel for face/hands, wear a wicking T-shirt. Make sure your shorts aren't so baggy that they get hung up on the bike saddle nose. If there are mirrors, pick a bike where you can watch yourself pedal particularly the alignment of your knees and your body posture on the bike.

    Good luck!

  13. #13
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    OK, I'm a long-time, hardcore roadie who attends spin at the Y a couple times a week in the winter, so I'll throw in a couple pence.

    First, to nkfrench, I would not have hesitated to report that instructor. But I would've been shocked as well since my experience over the past 3 years is that while some instructors are more competent as instructors than others, they've all been very positive and supportive to everyone. Without exception. As others have said, you're in a group and you're by yourself. You're free to make the workout a hard or easy as easy as you want without harassment. It's just you and your conscience and guidance from the instructor (and loud music you may or may not like).

    Spin is an immersive experience which is what I think makes it so intense. For us, the lights go down, the music comes up and you submerge. Sorta like a rave, but without the drugs.

    As has also been said, and bears emphasis: a handtowel and lots of water are critical. I prehydrate with a half -liter of water before it starts and I also wear something called a Sweat-Gutr, so profusely do I sweat. Plan on bringing a liter with you into the session and consuming it all before you hit the showers.

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