My First Spin Class

The fogged up mirrors should have been my first clue as to the punishment that was to come

I took my first spin class this weekend. It was early on a Saturday morning and the pervading thought I had during the class was: “I’m glad all I had to eat was a banana”. Why? Now, I’m getting ahead of myself.

The class started at 9am and was taught by a friend of mine. She is actually not a biker but is a popular spin instructor and known for her “speed” spinning. We got there a few minutes early so I could adjust the bike to me. Since I’m strictly a mountain biker with a little around town commuting, I had no idea how to adjust all the other bars. I set it all up as I normally would for a mountain bike and hoped for the best.

It started off easy enough. Gentle spinning to get warmed up and then came my first challenge: turning the knob. Well, to be more specific, it was turning the knob to find the right tension. It really took me about half the class to figure out how much tension was being applied as I turned the knob. Sometimes half a turn was enough. Sometimes the knob required a full turn. But most times the knob required three plus counterclockwise turns to get me to stop feeling as if I had to puke.

So naive before the class of pain and torture, otherwise known as spin

Next challenge? Standing up. It took a bit of courage on my part to dare myself to stand up. Seriously! The whole balancing act of standing and spinning the cranks quickly and reaching forward to grab the upper part of the bars and keeping your weight back so you’re not using as much of your upper body during the exercise… My friend, in regards to my “standing” said something along the lines of you looked stupid in the beginning but towards the end you only looked semi-stupid… but in a much nicer way of course. I took that as a compliment.

I had to really try hard to keep myself from fainting. Before the class started, my friend asked an innocent question “Do you want to do a 45 minute class or an hour?” “An hour” was my machismo reply. To my chagrin I started looking at the clock after only 15 minutes. 15 MINUTES! I was already tired after only 15 minutes! How was I supposed to last another 45? So what comes first? The fainting or the puking? For me, it was the feeling of wanting to faint. I was utterly exhausted as the 20 minute mark inched by. Maybe “inched” is too large a measurement value. It was more like “millimetered” by. At the 25 minute mark I started to feel a little light headed. I began to concentrate a little more on breathing deeply because in a room full of bike spinners (4 to 1 female to male ratio) I was not about to embarrass myself and faint. Plus, I rode mountain bikes, dang it!

The LeMonds. I hate yellow LeMonds.

At about the 35 minute mark I considered hurling. It was during the standing part when my friend (who had become my temporary enemy) kept saying “turn the knob”. My male ego wouldn’t allow me to not “turn the knob” and by the 8th “turn the knob” over a two minute stretch I began to think: “I’m so glad all I had to eat was a banana”. Thank God, I only had a banana.

Somehow I made it to the end. Other profound moments during the spin class: At around the 46 minute mark I chewed myself out for choosing an hour class over the 45 minute option. After I got off the bike I nearly ate it. I thankfully grabbed the seat of my “LeMond” and steadied myself before everyone knew for sure that I was both a complete idiot and a complete klutz.

Good times, good times. Would I do it again? Give me a few more days to think about it.

24 Replies to “My First Spin Class”

  1. Jeremy

    After 15 minutes?! That’s because you don’t get to coast in spin classes!

    “My friend, in regards to my โ€œstandingโ€? said something along the lines of you looked stupid in the beginning but towards the end you only looked semi-stupidโ€ฆ”

    This is why I stopped doing aerobics classes.. I never progressed to “semi-stupid.”

  2. I’ve been wanting to go to a spinning class but aerobically I know I would die after 5 minutes, but now that I know about the 4 to 1 ratio of women to men I’m in! The funny thing about Spin classes is that I would bet more than 50% of the people don’t even ride road or moutain bikes.

    My cousins take Spin classes 5-6 times a week and they are in super great shape. He does centuries in like 4.5 hours now with breaks.

  3. The first couple of weeks are just painful but after that it gets better! I love my spin class now and hate the thought of missing it. And there’s just a good energy too – we’re outside in the dark with loud blazing music. Lots of fun. And the best part for me – you can burn anywhere from 600-1000 calories an hour!! Glad you got out there and tried it out!

  4. i think i should take this as a compliment, the toughness of the class? thanks for the feedback, jeremy. i think i will make sure to emphasize the “go at your own level” thing a bit more just in case someone decides to faint or puke. i have my cpr/aed certification, but i hope i never have to use it!

    in regards to one of the previous comments about more than 50% of the class don’t even ride road or mountain bikes…. that’s not entirely true. there’s one class at our club where almost 80% or so of the people (90% of regulars) are road racers. its a pretty unique class. i did triathlons at one point and the biking portion was always my weakest. i think for me, riding outside adds the element of “fear” (of falling, because i too am a total klutz) that takes away from going all out.

    glad you “enjoyed” the class. :o)

  5. Where is this held at? Looks fun and energetic.
    After my ride this weekend (after 4 months of no activity) with puke, crashes, and more puke, I need to really get into shape at a quicker rate. Thanks for the BLOG guys, I am learning allot. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Dang Jer…I think you just set the standard rather high for the rest of us…YOU GOTTA STOP DOING THAT!!!!

    Now Priscilla’s going to say…”C’mon, let’s go to spin class, Jeremy did it, why can’t you?!?”

    Thanks Jeremy…thanks….

    Jk! Great Job.

  7. Cool to see that you got to try out a spin class. (Hope you stick with it!!!) I think spin classes are a huge benefit to mountain bikers. I just read an interesting article about spin instructors and how many of them do not even ride bikes at all. There are instructors that actually ride bikes that will give you a totally different workout and gear the workout towards helping benefit you out on the trail.

    Pretty good article here-

    I actually just took advantage of an awesome opportunity to buy two identical spin bikes for $300 for the pair!! They are in almost perfect condition.

    Here’s a link to the kind I got –

  8. i have seen and heard Spin is brutal, I have tried it a few times, but ever “bike” i get on makes me feel like i am on a Comfort style bike not a Road bike. and i just cant get “into” it when i am mental cruisin’ down the beach.

  9. lol RL. Actually I have been trying to get RL to spin class for a year now with no luck. We came really close though about 2mos ago when he promised to join me but then he backed out at the last minute..aye…We were sooo close!

  10. I have been in a spin class for about a year now 3x a week and i still dread the wednesday class that is led by a guy who is a cat 3 road racer! Although it is painful the satisfaction in the end is worth it every time!!

  11. Jeremy! You had me laughing at work today. Your write up made me feel like I was right there watching. I’m glad you lasted the hour without fainting or hurling. Way to represent! The article reminded me how my guts were screaming to hurl at the fully loop with RL and the gang couple of weeks ago. But, like you say…Good times, good times.

  12. The feeling of puking and fainting is something that I’m very familiar with when I ride my singlespeed. However, there’s a feeling of great satisfaction when the pain is over and you are able to see straight again.

  13. This is too funny. I too took a spin class several months ago with a coworker who at the time had been doing it for a while. I was a clock watcher the whole time and swore up and down that the lady was trying to kill us. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. this is a riot!! i’ve been doing spin for a year and half 2-3 times a week and there are days (most of them) when i feel like everything you just described ๐Ÿ™‚ did you go back???

  15. I’ve been wanting to go back, but my first time were through special circumstances. If it works out again that I can go, I’m there. Yes, I’m a glutton for punishment.

  16. I was happy to stumble upon your site. I found it immediately after googling “puke after spin class.” I am an avid hiker and love to ride mtn bikes…but tonight went to my first spin class. Ate oatmeal about 20 minutes before class, just like I would before a hike. HA. Did everything the instructor said…had a blast…was zonked…took a 30 minute break after the class, and then was dumb enough to go to a rather intense dance class as well. Needless to say….I have now thrown up 5 times and cannot wait to just sleep it off.
    Next time, I will axe the oatmeal, not climb so intensely…and save the dancing for the stars. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Thanks for your story!!!

  17. So glad I found your story. I thought I was going crazy. I had a similar experience at my first spin class; less so at the second as I paced myself better. It has little to do with real cycling — especially the standing exercises as normally you would be on a hill or taking a jump when you’re standing. I’m going to keep at it. Anything that makes me sweat that much and feel that close to barfing has got to be a good thing. I just try not to look at the fat ladies who are kicking my butt right now!

  18. Hi Jeremy,

    I just finished my first spin class, and am reading your post with laughter and familiarity. The quote that came to my mind during the class? “Oh, how I long for the sweet relief of death” I too felt faint, then panicky. It was sheer evil. I am not a bike rider, but I thought I was in decent shape. I almost started crying from the agony and I prayed harder than I have ever prayed. I used every ounce of willpower to get through. Sheer torture. Please, tell me it gets better? You know you are in trouble when you are dying to do jumps because your entire butt is on fire and you want to stand up just to get some relief. Oh, but then your legs begin to shake uncontrollably. yeah, it was hell. thanks for the laugh. I am glad I am not the only one!

  19. Hi Jeremy,

    I had to say I laughed throughtout your entire post! I could feel your pain! I’ve been researching spin class because it’s something I’ve always wanted to try just didn’t have the guts!! After reading your post not sure if I still have the guts but all in all it seems to give you one heck of a workout as well as buring lots of calories! Whew, I’m going to try it! Mental note, I won’t eat much before class ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. I just started doing spin classes, a buddy and I entered a race and I am trying to get in shape. Does this work to help get in race shape? I know I sweat like a mutha

  21. WOW Jeremy, I am full on terrified now!!! I just started going to a again after 7 years of no working out and I wanted to try a spin class cause I hear what great workouts they are, but now I think I might give myself a little time, like the rest of my life, before I decide to go down that road!!!! Thanks for the warning

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