If you’ve never tried Spinning, don’t bother.
If you aspire to anything approaching physical fitness, you probably burn your calories through some skillful and satisfying sporting activity and support this with a sensible regime of running, stretching and weight training.
The thing about Spinning is it’s pointless. Well, apart from the massive cardio-vascular workout potential. Pointless, but strangely addictive.
It’s not competitive, well not in any conventional sense unless you count who can get the sweatiest. At our gym, we used to have bikes with ten settings, but you could tighten or loosen the belt against the flywheel and anyway, we broke them all.
Now the Startrac bikes just have a red knob with a two-headed arrow on it; plus one way, minus the other. Clockwise gives you more resistance, anticlockwise gives you less. Put thirty of these in a darkened room with disco lights, loud music and an instructor:
Now you has Spin.
You can pedal them fast; you can peddle them slow. You can have heavy resistance; you can have light resistance. You can stand up; you can sit down.
And… er… that’s it, basically.
Except when you’ve got the resistance just right so you can pedal to the limits of your endurance and stay on the beat – Blur’s “Song 2” with it’s slow/fast/slow/fast/fast (Whoo-Hoo!) structure is a good one, otherwise most dance music fits the bill – that’s when your instructor earns their salt with his or her motivational catchphrase.
Here are three of my favourites with a preliminary description of their creators:
- Huge bloke with muscles on his muscles and crew-cut red hair who, towards the end of some impossibly long, fast section, just as we were all slowing down to be sick, would announce “YOU KNOW IT MAKES SENSE!”
- Sturdy lass with multi-coloured asymmetric hair, she would arrive from who-knows-where in her Japanese 4X4 to urge us on at critical moments with her battle cry “KEEGO-KEEGO-KEEGO KEEP-GOING!”
- Relatively slight but utterly gung-ho north-eastern girl who prefaced everything with the stern warning “FAST AS YEZ CAN!”
Did I say Spinning was pointless? Maybe if we wired the bikes up to the National Grid we could sell the electricity generated…