A Better You, Fit Fam

The Emotional Stages of Spin Class

I’ve never been exactly what you’d call athletic; it was only recently (within the past few years) that I started enjoying running as an activity, and my newfound love for hiking is just that–newfound. But I’ve realized that I’m infinitely more motivated to exercise if I’m in a group or class setting. There’s something compelling about a preposterously fit man or woman telling you that you’re doing great and don’t you dare stop now.  Basically, I think I need to be forced to exercise. Is that weird? Anyways, it’s because of this need for structure that spinning entered my life.

Spinning is a completely different ballgame than any fitness class I’ve encountered.  From what I gathered based on promotional media from spin studios, it’s a transcendental mind-body-meets-nightclub experience. Interesting enough, right? Well, one introductory class at a very popular spinning studio chain that shall remain nameless in Boston made me question the appeal; it was crowded, dark, sweaty, and the the music was so loud I could feel it in my teeth. (I’m sounding pretty old right now.) I figured I should give it another try, though, since it’s supposed to be incredible for you and torch between 5 and 200,000 calories each workout.*

*This is not a real statistic.

The creeper shot I took before class week. I’m basically a professional photographer.

Enter: Vital Cycle.  In my end-of-year, maybe-I-should-move-more-since-I-work-at-a-desk ponderings, I skimmed through Groupon and LivingSocial for promotional offers for nearby exercise venues.  (Pro tip: You should 1000% search on these sites before going to a new studio…many times you can get 5 or 10 classes for half the price of the studio-offered introductory specials.) Vital Cycle came up on both sites, and the reviews seemed really positive, so I purchased a pack of 10 classes at a substantial discount.  Plus, the location in Saugus is only about 20 minutes from my house, meaning it would minimize the amount of “but it’s soooooo far away” excuses I could give myself to not show up.

Full disclosure, at the time of writing, I’ve been to five of my ten classes, and have one scheduled for tomorrow.  I definitely plan to use up all ten, because it’s a killer workout.  Nevertheless, even after five classes, I still go through the following emotional stages each time I head to the studio.

1. Ow, this seat kind of hurts my butt.

Spinning/cycling seats are notoriously uncomfortable.  I don’t think I’ve gotten used to them, even after all my attempts.

2. Oh HI, LIL PUP!

My studio is owned by a nice couple with a very fluffy, wonderful dog named Gracie.  She likes to stroll around the bikes before class when people are getting settled and will sit down on you feet once you start scratching her head.

3. Wait, this is just the warm up, right? Why is everyone already pedaling so hard?

A few minutes before class, most people are already situated on their bikes and easing into a warm up.  For me, that means moving my legs at all with minimal resistance.  For the guy two bikes behind me, he’s probably about 60% done with the bike portion of his daily triathlon.

4. We’re climbing the hill now? What have I been doing all along?

I know that I’m getting stronger with each class, but ANY resistance still feels like I’m climbing Mount Washington.  When the instructor tells us we’re about to start a climb, my quads weep.


5. Holy crap, I’m so sweaty.  Why am I this sweaty?

I really don’t sweat that much in other activities or workout, minus a summer run.  For some reason, my pores decide to release every bit of sweat they’ve ever held back during class, and I’m the weirdo actively toweling off every 7 minutes.

6. My legs feel like gelatin.

No explanation needed.


That weird surge of adrenaline kicks in about 3/4 of the way through the class, and I feel like an unstoppable beast.  That adrenaline is short-lived, and I realize there are still 12 minutes left of class.  I sigh.

8. Are we done yet?


9. I’m never doing that again.


10. See you next time!

True! Those endorphins keep me coming back again and again?

Have you ever gone to a spinning class? Did you enjoy it?