I have been getting back into a regular “spin” routine lately. I must be a sucker for punishment.

Spinning – or RPM, as it’s called at Goodlife – is definitely one of the toughest cardio workouts I have tried. The class takes you through a series of intense exercises on a stationary bike. You race, stand up on the pedals, power climb from the seat, or attack by standing up and leaning forward. It’s much harder than any run, I think.

I first tried spinning almost two years ago (wow, time flies). I remember thinking, ‘How hard could this be?’ After one song, I was completely breathless. And that was just the warmup. Another track later, I thought I’d have to leave. Somehow, I stuck it out to the end of the 50-minute class, but I remember feeling very light-headed and nauseous.

Spin training helped me complete a 30-K bike ride along Nova Scotia’s South Shore earlier this summer with ease. Man, I should really buy a bike.

Well today, I can take the pain better. But it’s still damn hard. Every bike has a lever that lets you control your own tension, so really, every workout could be slightly different, or more difficult (or easier). There are times in just about every class when I feel like my heart is about to explode in my chest. My heart is racing. My lungs can’t hold anymore. It takes every ounce of focus to get through.

Then, you do it. You get through it, and the euphoria – well – that’s what keeps you coming back. That’s when I think about how far I’ve come, how I’ve made such positive changes in my life and my fitness, and how I never want it to end. Then the music pumps you up and you feel like you can climb any mountain with those pedals.

They say, not sure if I believe it, but they claim you can burn an average of 675 calories in an average class. That’s more than a 10k run, for me. The workout is also great for building leg strength and toning the lower body. For a runner like me, it’s also great cross-training. My friend Scott has told me he continued taking a spin class through a running injury, and after he healed, he kept running like he never missed a beat.

So, for all its benefits, long live the spin class. Because there will always be a need to burn off those extra calories. (Did I mention I just ate a giant pasta dinner after 8 p.m.?)


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April C

Writer, editor and mom in Saint John, NB.

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