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Spin classes – what is up with all the hype and are they worth it?

Spin classes…this is something that I have long associated with the fitness freaks of LA who had all the money and kale juice to sustain their enviably healthy lifestyles. Little did I know that this fitness trend is readily available in most gyms and is not as terrifying as I first thought.

Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I am no gym bunny. I work out because I love food, and begrudgingly accept that afterwards I feel great for having exercised. However, one thing I never thought I would try let alone enjoy is a spin class. I had a baptism of fire of sorts to the gym when one of my housemates invited me to go spinning with her. And I can’t lie; it was only a half an hour class and I thought I was going to die. I never wanted to go back again and feel the excruciating pain of repeated sprints and the deadly bike seat (I so wish I had been warned about this, you have to make sure your bike settings are right otherwise you’ll be aching in all the WRONG places). But I’m sure you can see where this is going, I went back and as my stamina improved I actually started to look forward to this high intensity workout.

So why do we find spin classes so intimidating? I mean, I’m sure all of the crazy videos of fitness gods and goddesses that are circulating leave us thinking there is no way that us normal people could cope, however spin is not as impossible as you would think. One of the amazing things about spinning is that you can take things at your own pace. You don’t have to follow everything the instructor says when you’re first starting out, and they don’t expect you to do so. If you feel like it is too much then don’t apply as much resistance and just peddle as fast as you can. And the best part is that no-one can tell and no-one cares if you’re taking things at your own pace, so it is a great environment to build up your stamina and ditch your aversion to cardio.

Even more importantly, the benefits of spin are so worth the momentary pain. Firistly, you burn an impressive amount of calories so you don’t need to spend hours in the gym to get a good workout. It is estimated that you can burn up to 450 calories over 40-45 minutes of spinning, which is pretty amazing. Also, as with any workout your body will release chemicals called endorphins which stimulate positive feelings; this is perfect for when you are feeling a bit stressed…hello upcoming exams and deadlines (insert crying face).

You will also be increasing you stamina massively as you will be pushing your body throughout the class, so it won’t be long before you’re feeling a lot fitter. And if you find the instensity a bit off putting then I can assure you that they play very motivational music so you’ll find sprinting much easier than you would think. Finally, it is a high intensity workout which is amazing for fat burning and it is also low impact and places less stress on your joints, so there is a reduced risk of causing any injuries.

As you can see, spinning is definitely worth all of the hype that it has been receiving lately. Also, there are way more gyms that offer spin classes then you would think, so it is definitely worth checking out if your current gym offers them or inquiring before you get a membership. Don’t be scared of the intensity, if you decide to go then I can promise that you will be feeling so proud of yourself afterwards (and so you should, it is a real achievement).

I am a third year English Lit student at The University of Exeter.
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