I really like to diversify my cardio, and have been recently looking into the “Spinning” type of classes that seem to run almost all day in a lot of clubs. Any personal experience that you guys have would be helpful in helping me make my decision. Also, where would you place Spinning on the “T-Man/T-Vixen” scale? (Being an avid reader of “Testosterone”, I am always a little suspicious if most trainers recommend something; and most recommend Spinning.)
I give Spinning and other such Tae-bo, trendy type of stuff a hard time, but honestly, use whatever is mildly entertaining and tolerable when performing that boring, monotonous hell that is cardio. After all, your heart doesn’t know the difference between jumping jacks in your living room and riding a $2000 bike at the “health club” (cough cough).
Personally, I box and do sprints. Why? It’s the least boring thing I can think of and both have some real world application. (Fighting, running from cops etc.)
Well, they’re the least boring things except for sex. But, I mean, who can go for over 20 minutes!!! Sheesh!
Depending on the instructor, spinning classes can be hell to make it through, particularly if you have a low anaerobic work capacity. If so, you’ll stay maxed at 80-plus %hr for most of the class for several sessions until your “spin” improves and you learn how to modulate your intensity while still adhering to the instructor’s drills. Most spin classes are probably too intense for a bodybuilder just looking to stay lean - there’s definitely potential for catabolism in these classes. And I say this as a pro BMXer/expert DHer, not an untrained bodybuilder. Of course, maybe I attended classes put on by sadists and other instructor’s classes may be more manageable.
I got my best results from doing hill sprints. Basically, you walk/slow jog around the neighbourhood until you hit a decent hill, and then ATTACK it (keeping good sprinters form all the way up).If you’ve planned your course well enough, you should get your wind back before ATTACKING the next hill. The benefits are marvellous…including fitness, leg strength and speed, and maximum RIPTITUDE (proper nutrition is a must of course). Do this 2 or 3 times a week for 30 minutes a time, and you should be laughing. Don’t eat before you go out. though…or you’ll be seing it again.
Okay, as a former (and some time in the future again) competetive cyclist, I can say that cycling is a great form of aerobic exercise. Low impact (especially on a stationary trainer type), and can be as intense as you want it to be. However, for most people, riding a stationary is BBBOOOOOORRRRRRRIIINNNGGG!!! Even as some one who loves cycling, I find the only way I can get through a 45 minute session is to track heartrate and do intervals. Basically a spinning class does that for you (without the heartrate feedback). It would be like doing a 40 minute criterium race with a 10 minute warm up and a 10 minutes cool down. My only problem with the spinning class would be the equipment – flat pedals with straps, and tractor seats.
Spinning is a good workout, but I didn’t enjoy it…way too boring. The instrutor was really intense, but I couldn’t keep focused for an hour in a dark room. Instead I do stairs and do my best to read the subtitles on the news on the tv across the room. (Hey, it keeps my mind occupied)
Chris - 20 minutes? that’s a quicky!! grin
Hey Michele, I was just about to bust Chris’ hump but you beat me to it. Yeah, now that I’m back to “normal” T and energy levels, 20 minutes certainly is a quicky. LOL
In regards to spinning ... I agree with JeffD in that if it's really high intensity stuff it can be catabolic. Do you have a bike? Man, if you can do some downhill runs and then walk your bike back up the hill after each run, it's a great and fun workout. Just wear a helmet!
Just kidding about that 20 minute thing. Honest!
If you want to get the best of spinning without having to do the spinning class here is what you do. Try to get in the spinning room when there isn’t a class (your gym might not let you do this). What you can do is get your Ironman watch on 30 sec. intervals and do 30 seconds sprint and 30 seconds going easy. When you are going for the sprint you will crank up the resistance on the bike and when you take it easy you will back off the resistance. Do 4 sprint at the beginning twice the first week and then do 5 the third time the first week and build up from there. At the end of 8 weeks you lose considerable bodyfat and you will be in great cardio shape. Good luck!
Spinning = An aerobics-style class, without the jumping around. You sit on a stationary bike, and the instructor tells you how fast to go.
I also used intervals on a stationary bike, finding that the searing pain in my lungs took my mind off the sheer boredom of my surroundings.(Fruity music / bored housewives on machines) Half an hour worked well, depending on your effort level.
I have never done spinning…but HAVE to relate a funny story about it. I was in my old foo foo gym…back about 6 months ago…and a cutie who ran the spinning class approached me at the water fountain. She said I should try her spinning class one day. (this gym did their spinning in a dark room also) I told her I would love to…but I was afraid of the dark. Well ditzoid BELIEVED ME! So I ran with it…told her I would consider it…if she allowed me to put a night light in the wall near my bike. Well dumb ditzoid said that she would have to ask the club manager…so I asked her if she would…and I followed her…AND SHE ASKED!!! The look on the managers face (who realized I was fucking around) was priceless!!
So…DEFINITELY intense…probably a little too catabolic for MOST of our goals (unless you benefit from pushing anerobic thresholds)…can be VERY boring…but one thing I don’t understand; what’s the deal with Spinning in dark rooms that you guys keep talking about? (If there is a simple answer, I FULLY admit my ignorance!)
I have no idea why they have Spinning in dark rooms. Ours has black and dark purple painted walls and a few small wall sconces (sp?) with weak light bulbs. One light is directly under the clock, which I found distracting because all I did was watch teh clock and pray for it to be over. There are also mirrors on all the walls, which confuses me since there is hardly enough light to see.