Having taken up Muay Thai, I had this completely misguided opinion that every other work out out there (with the exception of Cross fit/Circuit training because I have filed that under the self-inflected-torture category) is for sissies and therefore boring. But since I couldn’t afford 1 on 1 Muay Thai sessions anymore and group classes for martial arts are terrifying, I needed an alternative.
Then I heard about Spinning classes from friends and colleagues. I saw pictures posted on Instagram of people posing in their work out clothes looking beat but toned in their post-work out glow. So I researched. And the feedback I got were all encouraging.
You’ll come out of it a beast
Oh god, I couldn’t move for days after
I lost my bat wings (this!)
Even a cross-fit addict guy at work was intimidated by spinning classes. Definitely not for sissies then. And then there was also this one comment that sealed the deal for me:
They have particular playlists for every class. Sometimes it’s a Britney Spears playlist!
I was sold.
So I tried to find Spinning classes here in Barcelona. There were 2 options.
- Get a gym membership and take Spinning classes there.
- Love Cycle – which is pretty much Soul Cycle but with a different name and is very much into hot pink.
I went with Love Cycle because their website was very convincing.
So I emailed Love Cycle, to ask if they have free classes for first timers (they do) and if they have classes in English (they don’t). So after a lot of back and forth and coaxing from my boyfriend, I finally signed up.
As soon as I walked in their studio, the first thing I noticed was that it smelled super good! Like Lavander and soap. Quite surprising since the used shoes bin was near the entrance.
I also noted down a couple of really great things about the place:
- Facility is impeccable! – There’s just one room for the spinning class, so you can’t get lost in a maze of hallways and room names (which is usually what happens to me). Also have I mentioned that it smelled good?
- And everything is provided for. – The moment I walked in, I was asked for my shoe size. Water fountains are available. Clean towels were already draped over your bikes as soon as you walk into class.
- The locker rooms are your personal bathrooms – The lockers are equipped with automatic lock system so you don’t need a key. Take a free one, input your code, and viola you have one! They provide towels and toiletries. They even have hair dryers and earbuds.
I took a quick look around, put my shoes on and waited. I checked out the people waiting for the same class as I was and thoughts started racing through my brain.
Geezus! Look at their abs and toned arms. They look like they’ve been coming here for a while.
Oh god they’ve been coming here for a while. Look they’re even saying hi to each other. They know each other! They seem to be chummy even with the instructor.
At least I think he’s the instructor. Oh shit! They know the instructor. They know the playlist. Am I the only beginner here? Oh god, I’m going to suck so much.
And they’ll notice! Shit! This is going to embarrassing.
I almost ran out of there…
The actual work out
But the instructor started herding us into the classroom; and unfortunately for me, I was closest to the door so I couldn’t exactly make a discreet escape.
The lights were dim when the instructor got on his own bike. I was still trying to lock my cycling shoes into the pedal, bewildered and confused when the music started blaring. It sounded like it was Rihanna.
1 song down. 2 songs down.
Everybody was bobbing up and down according to the beat. My lack of sense of rhythm clearly obvious from my reflection who was cycling furiously right in front of me. I was standing on my bike, trying to understand how the other cyclers were both biking AND dancing all at the same time.
3 songs. 4 songs down. There was a total of 45 minutes to this torture.
I couldn’t even remain upright anymore. It was a good thing I was in the right most corner and only the cycler beside me can see that I was trying not to pass out. If she happened to glance at me at all. Everybody seemed to be concentrating on their own reflections in the mirror.
It was a war zone in there. 15 women and 1 man all pedaling to the beat. Cycling and push-ups were in the choreography. We were supposed to push forward twice followed by pushing back twice. I was lost. I sat down. I was out of breath and my sweat was sweating. I continued to pedal.
I had no idea what songs were included in the playlist. But I was pumped! Even if my slow pedaling and out of beat movements didn’t look like it. The instructor was shouting at us, trying to keep us inspired, or motivated, or in my case: distracted (from all of the pain).
Pedal through your pain!
Pedal through your stress!
Leave all your worries behind and push!
In Spanish. He probably said something different, but that’s how I translated them in my head. I tried standing on my bike one more time while I tried to pedal to the beat. I tried pushing forward and pushing back. I tried my darndest even if there was a very loud voice in my head pretty much shouting at me to just get the fuck out of there and never come back!
And suddenly it was over. I heard clacks and people were unlocking their feet from the pedals and stretching out. I tried to do the same.
Unfortunately, my feet were stuck. I didn’t know how to unlock my shoes! I held on to the handlebars as I stopped myself from toppling over with my feet still attached to the pedal.
I asked another student to help me detach myself from my bike so I can I wobble back to the locker rooms, trying to keep my legs steady and willing myself to not to fall flat on my face.
In my head a decision was being made. On one hand, I was already planning to come back the week after. On the other, I vowed never to step foot in that class room again.
The locker room was jolted me out of my thoughts! People were stripped down to their skins as they jumped into the shower.
It was all casual. No big deal. Women were taking off their clothes, down to their underwear. Completely naked. Walking around the locker room as they get prepared to wash up. Nobody thought much of it. No shame. And it was awesome.
My Catholic school upbringing taught me how to change clothes without exposing a nipple! And locker room life in Manila was pretty much women wrapped in towels. These women, having conversations with each other while boobs, nipples, and different shaped pubic hair were waving about in each other’s faces!
I considered for a bit to do the same. But I was too insecure to strip down and expose myself. Conservatism still strong. Envy at the confidence and nonchalance much stronger though.
So I walked out of the locker room unshowered, and probably smelling like sweaty socks.
Well, walked is a bit an overstatement. 90% of my brainpower went to willing my legs not to collapse from under me while I try to get myself home, while the remaining 10% tried to cross the streets without getting hit by a car. I lost my balance a couple of times because my knees gave. Minutes later I crash landed on my couch, wondering what in the world I got myself into.
In that same evening, I purchased 2 more sessions. As of writing, I’ve been to my 2nd one last week and I’m planning to go tomorrow.
I changed instructors though. While my first teacher was kind of amazing and speaks English every now and then during class, the 2nd instructor, whose class I joined the 2nd time, made me feel more comfortable. The 1st teacher was all about PUSHING and POWERING THROUGH! But the 2nd instructor was more calm and encouraging – urging us do our best. Or at least that’s what I thought he said because it’s hard to translate Spanish in your head when you’re in the middle of trying not to kill yourself on that goddamn bike.
even his instructor slogan is non-threatening.
So all in all, how was Spinning class or Love Cycle?
- It’s fun. And finding a work out that I actually enjoy and look forward to going to is an endeavor I thought I would never succeed at.
- It feels effective. My heart rate raced. I felt more energized afterwards despite being exhausted as hell. And I felt motivated to work out. Despite the thoughts and feelings I went through while I was mid-pedal.
- It’s simple. But not boring. I didn’t have to remember steps because the instructor shouted the choreography at us the entire session. I didn’t have to follow a workout plan or lift equipment and make sure was lifting correctly. I just needed to get on a bike, pedal like my life depended on it and get moving according to the music.
- It gets cheesy. Pop music, inspirational and motivational words being shouted at you every once in awhile can turn you into a shouting warrior in the middle of class. A single loud WOO can do wonders in bringing in that last surge of energy you desperately need to push through the last song in the playlist.
- It’s judgement free. My social anxiety was calmed down when I realize that nobody cares what you’re doing (apart from the instructor). Nobody cares if you make a mistake. Nobody cares if you can’t catch up. Everybody’s too busy looking at themselves to make sure they’re doing the choreography correctly to even spare a second to look at you.
Am I hooked? Too early to say. But I do plan on going as often as I can (or at least for as long as my budget will let me). Right now, I’m just really happy to have found a workout that works for me.
And maybe, just maybe, we’ll see some results in the not so distant future too.