WARNING *LONG POST ALERT*
If you’re capable of keeping up with my abundance of tweets, you will have seen that last week, and this week I went somewhere that many people have gone before but a place that I have avoided like
If you’d have told me a year ago that I would be going spinning, I’d have laughed in your face whilst chowing down on a pork pie and watching the Kardashians. However, I am a new woman. I’m open to new things and I’m trying not to say “no” to trying different things, even things that may infact kill me.
A dark room, spinning bikes, disco lights, speaker banging music and an instructor at the front who aswell as doing the class himself, talks throughout with instructions AND DOESN’T EVEN BREAK A SWEAT. I was almost falling off my bike, legs like jelly, my tshirt dripping wet with sweat and beetroot red in the face and he didn’t even have the faintest gleam of sweat on his brow.
I thought the most pain I would experience through spinning would be the out of breath, gasping for air and my legs turning to jelly pain. I didn’t bank on the fact that the seat of the bike would leave my very well endowed derriere (which provides some serious padding) feeling as though it had been ana!ly violated. 30 minutes into the spinning session I couldn’t actually sit on my seat properly and spent the final 20 minutes with my bum arched off the seat like a dog on a heat. Oh the sight wasn’t pretty, and neither was the pain – the pain didn’t subside until two days later (don’t even speak to me about the “trod on hamster” sound that I made when I tried to use the lavatory)
The ones who turn up in “proper” spinning gear – lycra, posh trainers, those stretchy training tshirts that cling in all the right/wrong places and sweatbands. They have gel padding in their cycling shorts to protect their derriere and are internally laughing at my foolishness “silly ginger girl! no amount of bum flab is going to protect your bum from the pain of spinning!” They hardcore pedal while everyone else is milling around, talking about Corrie or whinging about how cold the room is. When the music starts they’re off… their legs move faster than mine do when the Chinese takeaway man knocks on my front door. The sweat is pouring off them, they’re red as a strawberry, yet they keep pedalling as they reach for their water and then their towel to mop up said perspiration. They are that at one with the bike that they seem to do it all in one swift movement. Meanwhile, the first time I tried to reach for my water mid pedal I almost fell off and the instructor broke his cool composure to openly laughed at my expense. Suffice to say I don’t think I will ever make it into the serious spinner group.
I will be a group entirely on my own.
I come dressed in whatever passes in Primark for “sportswear” (I’m not investing in REAL sportswear until I know that for sure I like it, not when there’s blushers and lipsticks to be bought). At this moment in time “sportswear” is one of those oversized rugby shirts and leggings. Hair tied up, full make up on (with freshly applied lip balm) I’m full of apprehension and fear for my life. Stupidly I realise that I am paying for this fear and I start to think of all the things I could buy with 4 english pounds.
I awkwardly fiddle with the seat of the bike, adjusting it to my height (I was told it should be hip height, but then I have trouble locating my hip through the excess fat that smothers it) and the thought of strapping my feet into pedals so I can’t move for an hour seems like a bit of a commitment. The last time I rode a bike was over 10 years ago, but the saying “it’s like riding a bike” rings true and it appears I’m still capable of peddling. HURRAH.
First things first – the instructor wants to announce a 6 hour sponsored spin – I openly guffaw at this to a silent room. It appears he was being serious and he points this out in response to my laughing, so I automatically know I’m in his bad books.
Time for some speaker pumping music.
I start peddling, a leisurely “I’m cycling along the canal” pace and then I throw disgusted looks towards said instructor and my fellow spinning friend as he tries to cajole, pep, cheer and encourage us on to break into a “sprint”. This consists of peddling as fast as humanly possible until your legs fall off like a cheap Barbie doll. So I sprint and feel proud. But then he counts down to another sprint, and another, and another and my poor little heart beats so fast, my legs burn with the fury of a thousand suns and its then that I realise… This lycra wearing bastard is trying to kill me. I will not be beaten by a tiny man in lycra, leg muscles to rival Madonna and a head microphone to match the Vogue video. He will not mock my lack of ability to ride a bike through an hours session, I am a ginger, independent woman – so I power through. I don’t keep up completely, at some points I take it at my own pace (these are the moments where my heart feels like it has exploded all over my chest cavity and my legs feel like jelly that hasn’t quite set yet) but whenever I see him look in my direction I kick it up a gear and give him the “watch me spin” eyes. I try to ignore the immense pain in my backside by wrapping my towel around my seat and for the first time in half an hour there’s a slight moment of bum pain relief.
“This is your last sprint and final song” – his voice rings around the hall like some sweet, sweet song and I actually hear “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah” playing in my sweaty little ears as I push through the final sprint and emerge triumphantly (if not a little wobbly) from my bike. Through the cool down stretches I feel what I imagine must be endorphines pulsing through my veins, a buzzing little feeling which makes me think I could go and do an hour on the treadmill and I think “is this what Jessica Ennis feels like? No wonder she’s always smiling and looking so bloody smug”. When I get home I shun my earlier idea of fish and chips and make a noodley/vegetable concoction and when I lower myself onto the sofa (albeit with a blood curdling groan) to watch Eastenders, I actually think my legs look a tiny bit thinner.
In conclusion? Spinning is hell on earth, it hurts, you will be convinced that your instructor is trying to kill you, you will sweat more than you ever imagined you could sweat. BUT (I’ve talked about butt’s a lot in this post right?) its very rewarding – that feeling of accomplishment once you’ve completed it without dying is like no other. And I honestly* am gutted that it isn’t on next week because of Bank Holiday Monday.
*not an ounce of sarcasm (surprisingly so)