Some people love spin classes. They live for the adrenaline rush that comes with the amped-up music, sweating and competitive feel of the class.
Maybe it’s because I’m lazy. I mean, the whole idea of changing the tension on the bike to make it harder to pedal? Who would want to do that? Or maybe it’s because I don’t ever ride bikes in general (Truth: I don’t actually know how to ride a bike. Blame my mother).
Whatever it is, I’ve been to a spinning class and I wasn’t really planning on going back anytime soon.
But when I heard about the Cycle Studio in Alexandria, Va., I was a little intrigued. This was a place that was dedicated to spin AND yoga. Let’s just say they had me at yoga. In fact, they have combo cycle yoga classes, where you do 45 minutes on the bikes and 30 minutes on the mat.
Still, I wasn’t sold. I’m just not too keen on spending all that time on a bike that doesn’t even go anywhere, not that I would know what it was like to be on a bike that goes somewhere ... but I digress.
Fast forward: I’m at Cycle Studio. I find my little bike in the corner. Instructor Sima Tamaddon explains that this is not your typical spin bike. This apparatus is called the CycleOps and one of the biggest differences between this bike and others is that the wheel is in the back and (don’t ask me why) this makes pedaling more difficult. And when I say difficult, I mean torturous.
I’ve taken spin classes before and they’re fine. I can get through them no problem. This class at Cycle Studio -- death. I had the tension on zero as I was pedaling, waiting for the class to start, I was already tired! So imagine what happens when the class actually begins.
Here I am, trying to pace myself, going slow (you know, that whole tortoise/hare thing). But I look around and everyone is flying. She tells us to turn up the tension. I follow instructions and holy cow, I can barely pedal. I look around and no one even flinches. They’re still flying. Sima tells us to turn it up even more. I ignore this and everyone is still pedaling away.
But wait, it gets worse. It’s time to “stand up” and pedal. I can barely move. Sima says I need to push my booty back and engage my core. Yeah, that doesn’t help and I promptly give up.
Forty-five minutes later, I’m dripping with sweat and exhausted. Exhausted in the sense that I want to throw up and pass out. But I can’t because it’s time for yoga. As tired and pukey as I was, at least I could do this part. I am a yoga instructor, after all. Time to brush my shoulder off and get my yoga on.
So being the Namaste snob that I am, Sima’s yoga was pretty legit. We did a nice 30-minute flow, complete with standing poses that help build strength, as well as enough stretching to release our tight muscles. It was a nice touch to end the deadly spin portion of the class.
Problem was, as I finished up, all I could think about was how wimpy I was during the cycling. I mean, I thought I was in good shape. So as I beat myself up in my head, I started chatting with others in the class. Turns out, they agreed, this was harder than the average spin class, and it wasn’t until they took the class a few times and figured out how to use the bike that they had a better time doing it.
Maybe I’m not such a fitness loser after all!
But enough about me. The lowdown on Cycle Yoga: if you love spin, you will love this class. If you love yoga, you may or may not love this class. If you like getting a kick-ass, full body workout in a 75 minutes, I think you’ll fall head over heels in love with this class.
Lauren Dunn is the medical producer for News4.