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5 Reasons Why Spinning is the Best Class for Gym Newbies

Before I started my freshman year at UCF two months ago, I had never stepped foot in a gym. The complicated-looking machines, uneven ratio of men to women, and lack of privacy intimidated me. I was not very comfortable with the idea of wearing form-fitting athletic wear and becoming drenched in sweat in front of strangers, so I preferred to work out at home and went hiking and running when I could.

When I arrived at UCF, I realized that working out in a tiny dorm room or running around campus just wasn’t very practical. So, I decided to give the gym a try. However, I still wasn’t ready to just walk in and try a machine, so I looked into signing up for a group exercise class. Most did not have very consistent schedules or did not have classes during the times that I was free. Spin class was one of the few that fit into my schedule and did not seem too intimidating. I had always been interested to try it anyway, after seeing actress Lea Michele constantly post about how amazing she felt after cycling just about every day.

I signed up for a 7 a.m. class on a Wednesday, and have been spinning weekly ever since. Here’s why it’s the perfect exercise class for gym virgins:

1) You can go at your own pace. Spin bikes have resistance knobs that allow you to adjust the amount of effort you will have to put into pedaling, so even if it is your very first class, you will still be capable of doing everything. If the instructor’s directions are too difficult for you, you can keep your bike at a lower resistance level. The class is what you make it, so if you stick with it, you can work your way up to a great, challenging workout.

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2) It’s body-positive.

I have had four different spin instructors and throughout all of the classes I have taken, calories have only been mentioned once or twice, and none of the instructors have ever suggested that the goal of spinning is to make you lose weight. For the most part, they all talk about getting stronger rather than about changing your body or becoming thinner. As someone who has recovered from anorexia nervosa, this is a very important aspect of the class for me. Exercise classes that involve constant talk of burning calories and fat, losing weight, getting in shape, changing your body or getting rid of “problem areas” are not positive environments for anyone, especially if you have a history of negative body image or other issues involving food and weight. I find that I am much more motivated to go to spin class because I know I am going for all the right reasons. It promotes the idea that you should exercise because you love your body, not because you hate it.

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3)  It’s dark, so you will never feel self-conscious.

If you haven’t been to a gym, it’s hard not to feel self-conscious the first time you work out in front of people. Luckily, spin classes are held in the dark, so no one will see your face redden as you sweat your way through the workout. (At least, not until you leave). The privacy afforded by the darkness allows you to focus on powering through the climbs, sprints, and jumps rather than on whether or not you look attractive while spinning.

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4) It’s a lower body workout that works two things at once: Your legs and your heart.

Usually, you have to use multiple machines to get a thorough workout at the gym. However, if you’re new, one machine will probably be overwhelming enough. Spinning allows you to strengthen both your legs and your heart, all in one workout, with one machine. 

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5) You get to listen to loud, empowering, and sometimes motivational music.

On any other machines in the gym, you would most likely put headphones in and listen to your own special playlist. However, as a newbie, it’s difficult to know just what songs will pump you up for your workout. In spin class, you spin to the beat of songs in a tailored playlist that is blasted over the speakers. I’ve found that most songs are fun and energizing, and some even inspire me to push myself harder. Plus, the music drowns out the sound of your heavy breathing when you’re in the middle of a climb or have just finished a sprint.
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Cover photo courtesy of marieclaire.com

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