I am not looking forward to this.
I don’t like spinning; it’s hard, it makes me feel sick and ten minutes feels like a lifetime. As a fan of weight training (where you do a bit of work then a bit longer of no work) and guitar-based indie music, nothing about “high cadence training and heavy climbs” set to “hypnotic beats” sounds in any way appealing.
That said, if I want to kick my fitness up a notch, I’d rather do it quickly and if nothing else, spinning is an incredible cardio workout.
I arrive early so that I can grab a bike at the back where I can sweat in private, though as it turns out the room stays dark enough that you can’t really see anyone anyway, even later when my face turns what I’m sure is bright purple.
The instructor, Ryan, helps us set up our bikes properly, then suggests everyone cover their screens up – today’s class is about how it feels, rather than using the technology to decide how hard we should be working. This is new; I’m used to spin classes where I can feel ready to collapse and the light on the bike is still telling me to push harder. It’s one of my pet hates about spinning – just how unfit it makes me feel.
As it turns out, this is where Euphoria is different. Ryan certainly pushes us, reminding us to check in with ourselves to see if we can nudge the resistance just a little higher (“if it seems easy – you know how to fix it”) or to remind us to pick up the pace – but it really is about the feeling of the class. We’re told how hard we should be working, and we’re given the beat to (ideally) cycle to; other than that, you just take the class at your level. No specific number of turns on the resistance that I feel guilty if I can’t match; no leaderboards to show who’s working hardest. This class isn’t a competition; it’s something Ryan specifically (and somewhat optimistically, in my case) asks us to find joy in.
There’s also none of the stuff that can make spin classes more complicated. I know some people love the push ups and the jumping up and down and moving side to side, but for me, it’s all I can do to combine cycling to the beat with breathing. In here, we stand up and we sit down and that’s as complex as it gets. For one song, you don’t even have to keep up with the music. It’s glorious.
Visualisation is a major part of the class. We’re told to channel our anger to get us through the first part of a tough hill climb, before turning all that energy into something positive to push us to the top. We fly downhill. We focus on our own personal fitness goal – the one that pushed us into the room – to power through the last few minutes, the ones that feel like you’re cycling through treacle. Somehow, this helps the time tick along faster than your average spin class.
And those “hypnotic beats” I was so dubious about? AMAZING. The music for the hill climbs in particular was epic – I felt like I was heading into battle in Game of Thrones. It didn’t make it easier, but it did make me feel like a warrior, which is a decent alternative. It’s easy to pick out the beat of each track, and it really does put you in some sort of trance – I’m not sure your mind could wander if it wanted to, so it’s a great class after a day that you’d rather not think about.
I will never be a spinning “fan”; not because of spinning itself, but because I will always naturally choose easier options than tough cardio. However, this class really surprised me. It’s definitely hard work, but the visualisation and the relative simplicity of the class made it different to other spinning classes, and I actually walked out thinking I’d probably do it again. Dare I say it? I almost liked it.
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