Guys, look around you. It’s entirely possible that literally every woman in your office is heading to spin class after work tonight.
There’s a reason spinning is “so hot right now” — it’s one of the best cardio workouts out there, features a hard-to-replicate community vibe, and is undeniably addictive. No lie, sixty minutes on the elliptical just won’t cut it after a good class with a great instructor.
Of course, as all your co-workers know, the female/male ratio in their classes is probably seriously lopsided. 25:1? That’s my best guess — Jake Gyllenhaal, a reported devotee of NYC’s Union Square SoulCycle, can’t fill every seat, after all. Of course, that’s maybe not true for every class: “We see a lot of men in and out of our studios,” says Cyc founder Stephen Nitkin, whose classes, like many others, incorporate lots of hand weights for a full-body workout.
I don’t get why there aren’t more guys in the class, though my best guess is that it has something to do with the hippie-dippie (some might say cult-ish?) vibe of the most popular studios: talk to a devotee, and chances are good it will be the most boring conversation you have all week. Just remember:
Talking about spin: bad. Going to spin: good.
This is a legitimately bad-arse cardio workout — and if you’re going to meet girls (along with getting the average 600-calorie-per-class burn), it’s going to get you fitter, faster, than just about anything else.
Interested? Here’s what you need to know before hitting your first class:
WHAT IT IS
Think of your parents’ old exercise bikes — on speed (pun — sorry.) You’ll clip into the pedals — most bike shoes are loaned out with the cost of the class, though if you get really into it, you can buy your own — while an instructor guides you through intervals of varying intensity.
“We pedal fast with low resistance, which is amazing for endurance,” says Nitkin. “Then we burn fat through training in intervals with high resistance.”
Your joints, meanwhile, will thank you for this weight-dropping workout that doesn’t involve pounding your knees and ankles into the ground. And you get to do this all in — let’s call it a warm and tender vibe. There’s usually stadium seating and low lighting, which means you can suffer (or give yourself a break) in relative privacy. Nobody knows — or cares — what anybody else is doing. Consider it the saving grace of the spin studio.
0:25? I’ve been to studios where a guy hasn’t been spotted in weeks. Let’s put it this way — I’ve never seen a class come close to parity. There are noticeably more guys in classes closer to Wall Street or other banking districts — my theory is that the intensity translates.
Which means that except for a handful of ZIP codes in lower Manhattan, the reality is that at least for the time being, you are likely to be seriously outnumbered…by super-fit ladies serious about working out. There are worse things?
“You never know who you’ll meet,” Nitkin says. “Recently our creative director officiated a wedding between two riders.”
Low. The most complicated move is “tapbacks,” which — truth be told — I still don’t totally get. It’s sort of like a squat, over the bike seat..and looks about as elegant as I’m describing it. The rest of the time, you’re expected to try to pedal to the beat, but that’s about as complicated as it gets.
Just follow the crowd, and remember: At the end of the day, everyone’s pretty focused on their own ride. Only you really know how hard you’re pedaling, or how you’ve adjusted the tension. It’s not like yoga, where everybody’s sort of looking around for someone to judge. This, you get to do on your own.
Plan on a shower, for sure. Burning up to 800 calories in a small, jam-packed studio can be messy.
HOW HARD IS IT, REALLY?
It’s hard. But again, it’s only as hard as you make it, and it’s easy to find instructors who offer something super hardcore or relatively chilled out. All good instructors will have their own styles. The biggest challenge might come at the beginning of the class — when you’ll hand over around $US30 for the session. (Just keep telling yourself that it’s worth it.)
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