What the Heck is Spin Class?

Maybe you first heard about the elusive spin class from Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. Or maybe you’ve started to become more aware of the fast-growing numbers and popularity of the oh-so-famous SoulCycle. But what the heck is a spin class? And what do you do?

I mean I’m not going to lie - I literally thought spin class had to do with some sort of machine you twirl around on. As in, I really did not know what I was getting myself into when I signed up for two weeks of unlimited spin classes. So I’m not judging you.

Spin class is essentially a cycling class but multiplied by three thousand. I’m talking about dark rooms, flashing lights and disco balls, loud and upbeat pop and hip-hop music that rattles your eardrums, and peppy and cheerful instructors that keep motivating you to push for more resistance on the bikes. Basically, spin class is an entire out-of-this-world experience.

Did I mention that you’re not just cycling? Because you’re not.

You ride to the beat of whatever song is on the playlist. You stand up and do crazy, wicked things such as lift dumbbells or do push-ups as you continue peddling. It’s a 50-minute session of non-stop cardio and light resistance training, giving you a full body workout while sculpting your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and arms. 

This probably isn’t the official definition. I’m only speaking from my own experience - from my crazy and long-winded history with spin classes (and by that, I mean only two weeks).

So, if your curious minds aren’t completely satisfied yet, here’s an example of a circuit you could potentially do. When you’re doing a “climb”, also known as riding to a slower beat on a very high resistance level, the instructor might yell at you to start getting up and this is the point where you would take a deep breath, brace yourself (and your quads) and start riding while standing. You might then be instructed to do a push up on the handlebars every two beats as you ride, a dip where you move your back further to the seat so you're essentially hovering directly over the seat and back up to standing position to really target the glutes, or to sit back down for a number of beats.

Also, don’t worry - you wear specialized shoes in most places. They lock onto the bike pedals as you ride so that the chances of you tripping over yourself in front of that cute boy or girl next to you are a lot slimmer.

So now that you’re all experts in Spin Class 101, where can you try it?

Lucky for you, most places will offer special deals for first-timers, and if you’re looking to work out a bit more locally, Laurier has its very own CycleFit classes at the Athletic Centre with the group exercise pass! Please remember that no two places are the same, so I can’t guarantee that every spin class experience will all be the same that I had. I’ve also personally never tried CycleFit at Laurier, but that might change soon, so maybe I’ll see you there!

Here’s a pearl of wisdom - If you choose the first option, I beg you to take advantage of those deals. Places dedicated to spin classes such as SoulCycle and SPINCO get crazy expensive after the first-timer deal is used up, so get in all the rides you can while the offer is still valid.

One last thing. There’s a common misconception that spin classes are for women only and I cannot stress how untrue that is. Plenty of guys do spin classes, in fact half of the instructors that taught me were men!

So fill up your water bottles and get your sweat towels washed and ready - Happy riding!

P.S: Don’t wear a lot of heavy athletic wear. Leave that old, ratty workout hoodie at home because when you leave the room, you are going to be covered in sweat from head to toe. Mark my words.