As drivers we all overstep the line once in awhile on the race track and usually this is signaled by a spinning race car. It’s part of what we do as drivers, always testing the limit and our only hope is that there are no sudden stops or walls involved. Although it’s a necessary evil (if you’re not spinning once in awhile, you’re not trying hard enough?!) we all see it as a bad thing. Recently I started another activity where spinning is involved, only this time it’s the name of a physical fitness regimen. Used in that context the name seems innocuous, almost cute. But let me tell you, after a few visits I can atest… it’s bad…. VERY BAD.
I’m here to warn you. It all seems innocent enough. How hard can it be riding a stationary bike? Particularly when the instructors all seem to be tiny pixies. After all, I’m an ex-football jock, big time race car driver. I can do this. But the tiny pixies turn out to be hellish drill instructors and the bike a cursed implement of torture. And that was just the first 5 minutes!! Only 55 more to go……
After the first 25 minutes we are ordered off the bikes for a little weight work. In retrospect I now know that I compounded my error in signing up for spinning by taking the ‘spin and sculpt’ class that involves a little ‘light’ weight work. I’m no stranger to the weight room and after observing the girls grab the 5 and 8lb being my macho self I of course had to have the 12 and 15’s. Mistake. I was so happy to get off the bike, but within 5 minutes I am so looking forward to shedding the weights and getting back on! This is circuit training on steroids with absolutely no rest and no muscle group rotation. It is even more hellish than the bike. Only male pride keeps me from collapsing. Probably not the class to start with but it was the only one that matched my weird hours. The next time I went for the 8’s and 10’s…
Happy and full of vigor, these girls are in great shape and with all due respect they’re easy on the eyes and dare I say motivating. But then the truth emerges. Obviously these girls have trained at Guantanamo and the waterboarding equip is hidden in back. They show no mercy as they keep telling you to ‘bump up’ the resistance as the rest intervals shorten and the push segments become forever. I sneak a look around and the house frau’s are keeping up with a slight ‘sheen’ while I seem to be melting as evidenced by the pool of sweat forming around me. I’m fairly certain I will die and consider the irony of doing that here on a stationary bike versus in a race car.
They all seem like nice people. Primarily housewives trying to get in shape, old guys (not me of course!!) trying to hold on, and a few professional types. All very innocent until you notice they all have the ‘gear’. Special shoes, spandex biker stuff, hi tech water bottles. Then they climb on the bike and become a spinning army. Basically robotic soldiers adhering to the commands of the pixie drill instructors. In truth many of the students are regular triatheletes and most others have been doing the spinning thing for some time. It’s only the newbies being crushed.
I left the first class feeling beat but the ‘ol body was feeling loose. That’s good I thought. My legs in particular felt very loose. Been a long time since I felt that stretched out. Yes sirree, the old man still had it!! It was only the next morning when I realized my legs felt so felt loose because my hamstrings had apparently separated from the bone and were attempting to flee my body. For 48 hours I could barely walk. The simplest motions had to be analyzed for necessity and potential embarrassment factor. Sitting down in particular was to be considered only under the gravest circumstances and only if no other alternative was possible.
Beware the stairs
Another thing you must be careful of your day one workout is stairs. Primarily downward trips. Because although you can walk fairly normally, the muscles are basically in shock. When I came to the first step downward all was normal until I realized my right leg was calling in sick and not decelerating my body in any way. After surviving the bataan death march for 60 minutes I was about to hurdle to my death on the stairs?? Luckily vanity prevailed. Death would have been okay, but I couldn’t stand the thought of the housewives and evil pixies seeing me plummet so I caught it just barely.
One month later
All is well and I am continuing my indoctrination into the spinning army run by sadistic pixies. It really is a great workout in a small amount of time. But be ready to be humbled! One thing holds true in my case…. If I’m not ‘spinning, I’m not trying hard enough…