Spinning Around

I’m back on track with my workout regiment for the new year.  After gaining mass over the holidays, I started a new block of training sessions with my new friend/tormentor, L.J.  There’s no better way to start your morning than working out to the point of nausea, with a trained professional on hand.

I understand that working out at the crack of dawn isn’t for everyone.  In fact, L.J. said the gym’s prime hours seem to be from 6:00 to 8:00 PM, which boggles my mind.  After a long day of work, I would have no desire to exercise.  I’m not doing manual labor all day long, but it’s exhausting in its own way.

But then one morning, my friend Alex suggested I join him at an evening spin class.  I told Alex that I’d never done spinning before, but he assured me I could handle it.  Reasoning that if he can spin in the evening after power-lifting in the morning, I decided I could suck it up and give it a shot.  Plus, he’s got short, stumpy legs.  So, really, what did I, with my solid stems, have to worry about?

The other most famous legs in show business

The first warning sign was the fact that the spin classes are held in a tiny basement room of my gym.  When I sat down on one of the bikes, I realized I was already close to hitting the ceiling.  There appeared to be no ventilation and there was minimal lighting.  It seemed like the kind of place a Lance Armstrong would hang out, if he was a serial killer.

Things were looking up when I started to take note of my fellow spinners.  It was an overwhelmingly female group, and two of the three other men in the room were in noticeably worse shape than I was.  Some of them showed up without water bottles.  Either they were overconfident or this was a more casual class.

My latter hypothesis was quickly dashed when the instructor arrived.  He was an early 30’s wall of a man, approaching body builder proportions.  He had a booming voice and the shaved head-goatee combo that says “black man in charge”.  As we started warming up, I braced myself for the worst.

Spin, fool!

And then I got another surprise.  As the music started and the lights dimmed down, it turned out that our ride leader wasn’t an intransigent drill sergeant.  He was a party girl.  The music he had selected for our workout was a compilation of club remixes of every famous torch song sung by a female R&B artist of the past forty years.  The playlist went from Gloria Gaynor to Beyoncé and back again.  And this guy knew the words to every single song.

You'd better work!

Quickly, I found myself faced with a new and unanticipated problem: I could not stop laughing.  I mean, we’re talking full-blown “Chuckles Bites the Dust” funeral laughter.  And even though he was having a ball, turning this exercise class into his own private karaoke show, I knew our instructor wouldn’t appreciate my giggling.  So, I squared my jaw and kept on peddling.

"A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants."

One of the many things I didn’t know about spinning was that there are positions.  Early on in the hour, the instructor started shouting out numbers and combinations, and I just had to wait to see what the people around me were doing before catching up.  After a while, our team leader noticed that I was lagging behind.  I got a few concentrated stares thrown my way, none of which I could meet, for fear of laughing again.  I’d just lower my head and pump my legs faster until he would change his focus and go back to matching pitch with Mariah.

When the hour was finally done, I wasn’t really any worse for wear.  There have been mornings where I looked and felt a lot worse than I did after spinning.  I’m glad I gave it a shot, but I don’t think it’s something I’ll do regularly.  It was too loud, and I don’t really enjoy working out with a lot of people that close to me (another perk of working out in the morning).

Oh, and the real kicker?  After inviting/challenging me to take the class, Alex never showed up!  In fact, I haven’t seen him in almost a week.

I think I got hazed.

~ T


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