A non-cyclist’s guide to spinning, part 2

In my last post, I went over some spinning terminology and outlined a few of the reasons I keep going back to spin class, even though the workout is punishing and leaves me with tighter hamstrings than a three-set tennis match.

Today’s spinning “benefits” might be thought of as negatives, depending on your point of view. Going over them can help you decide whether spinning’s really for you.

Spinning fashion is boring

Compared to tennis fashion, most sports lag in terms of fashion interest, and spinning is no different. One test of fashion-worthiness: you wouldn’t want to run errands after class in your spin clothes, even if you didn’t get all sweaty — no one’s derrière looks good in those padded shorts. A cute tennis skirt with matching top and jacket, however? I’ve actually been asked if I got dressed in tennis clothes just to shop at the fancy grocery store in town (the answer was “no,” by the way — although I do like tennis outfits better than some of my other clothes).



Plus, who wants to own more than a couple of pairs of those bike shorts anyway? It’s no wonder they come mostly in black, leaving possibilities for interesting color combinations limited. The best we can do is to wear a good top and maybe some lively socks. But it’s all going to get soaked in sweat, so what’s the point? Maybe spinning’s non-emphasis on fashion is actually a benefit, after all.

Spinning is social. Well, sort of.

There’s a regular crowd that attends our Tuesday/Thursday class. People have their usual bikes, even. The same gals are always in front of me — they never miss a day. One of our class member’s friends saves her a bike so she can arrive late. Another one sings to the music — and she has a good voice. People visit a bit as they’re changing their shoes and setting up their bikes. But once the lights go down and the music goes up, no talking is allowed. If you’re talking, you’re considered to be slacking off. Which leads me to my next point.


Spinning is intense

I’ve said this before, just in different ways, but I admit the intensity is probably why people such as myself are drawn to spinning. When you get off the bike, you know you’ve worked out. Our instructor, whom I’ll call Bruce (think Bruce Willis), heightens the seriousness by projecting a stern façade. He doesn’t allow talking, nor comments about the music. It’s not unusual for him to bark out a string of instructions like, “Add a touch, out of the saddle, hands all the way out, weight back,” then remind us to “relax.” Ok, if you say so.



If spinning is intense, it stands to reason that intense people are drawn to spinning. Too bad there isn’t more opportunity for socializing — we’d probably have a few things in common.


Spinning lets me shut off my brain

Some people have told me they hate indoor cycling because it’s boring — you don’t go anywhere, can’t talk with anyone, and might not even like the music on a given day. For me, however, the sameness of spinning is a good thing: there’s no cause to worry about game strategy, getting my footwork right, or what my tennis partner thinks of me.

SpinningGuidePt2_apple volume down

When I’m working hard on the bike, I’m not concerned with what others are thinking. I’m not even evaluating myself — I’m just working hard. Turning down the volume on my Voice of Judgment feels great — almost as good as those exercise endorphins. Learning to switch off my brain, at least the VoJ part of it, is a lesson I hope to take back to the courts with me.

What are you waiting for? Yippie ki yay!


  1. Nice post. I totally agree with you. It’s definitely a great way to stay in shape when you can’t go outside on a bike.

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