I’ve been going to spin classes at a fitness studio for some time now. When I started it was very uncomfortable and seemed pointless and futile. I weighed about 193 lbs and was doing liver flushes with a colonic hydrologist who pointedly suggested I get more exercise than yoga, drumming and bellydancing classes. I did not know how to adjust the seat or handlebars. I felt like a fat walrus perched on a unicycle. I didn’t understand all the instructor’s talk about hills, flats, pushes, and other mysterious subjects. I could barely stand up in the stirrups without falling forward and my knees and hips were not that happy about all the pedaling going on.
But one thing was good and familiar: the music. The instructor has her own bike up on a little stage and she always has music playing with a solid beat. When I was an aerobics instructor at an “exercise spa”, I always had music to dance and exercise to with a clear beat.
At first all I did was just show up and get on the bike, pedal and survive, not leave the class until it was over. There were more people than I could imagine coming to spin class, even at 5:15 am.I had to pretend this was going to do me some good. There’s a wall mirror in the studio and the smart spinners use it to work on their form. I used to watch people who were clearly experienced rise up in their pedals and ride as though they were cruising and racing a real bike, not sitting on a stationary bicycle in a room. Though I was not sure about anything at all, I kept going. After a while, I got some spandex cycling pants and began to feel stronger. I learned how to adjust the seat. I learned how to adjust the tension on the flywheel. I learned about hills, pushes, flats, and so on.
But what I began doing was using the beat of the music to be stable with my pedal strokes, work on my form and sweat to a cadence. I didn’t worry about how fast or slow I was going, I let the music carry me. I added rotating my arms, doing bellydancing rotations of my hips in the saddle and upper torso here and there; and twists of my upper torso to the mix. Anything to loosen myself up, including deliberate face grimacing to work my face muscles. Little by little, bit by bit, I got better with it all and my legs began to get toned and stronger. I basically dance while I spin. It works and I feel terrific.