Tuesday, November 5, 2013

8:32 PM
Fall Back
When you look up from your computer at the end of a day's work and stare out into smoky darkness you can feel many things: (1) proud of the accomplishments big and small that a full day's work brings; (2) hardcore for working so late like all those other people who are always talking about working so busy, so hard, so late, so what; or (3) totally depressed that daylight savings has robbed you of the chance to do a post-work run.

I chose (3). And then I chose not to dwell on it (see Bonus Features), but rather to take the opportunity to try a new class at my gym that miraculously was being offered on a day (Monday) and at a time (6:30 PM) that I had some chance of being able to make. The class was called something like "Rhythm Ride" and was billed as spinning with weight training. It sounded pretty good to me - I love spinning and getting a little upper body and core work out in simultaneously intrigued me although I wondered about the mechanics of it.

So in good faith and thanks to reasonably light traffic I made it to the gym in time for the class. With some reservation I selected a pair of 4-lb dumbbells (the largest offered) and settled onto my bike. The first 35 minutes or so were pretty standard, even a tad boring, for a spin class. Then the promised upper body workout portion of the class was introduced, first in the form of pushups and dips on the handle bars while still pedaling (dogs humping comes to mind), and then in the form of small, pulsing arm movements attended by the weights. The latter portion was actually quite difficult (doing 100 reps at maximum extension gets hard, even with 4-lb weights), but as I watched my uneven and awkward pedal strokes, all I could think about was a bunch of imaginary, spandex-clad road cyclists cringing in agony over my poor form and bastardized cycling work out.

Suffice it to say that if I were to design a spin class to provide a challenging, full body work out it would rather include pedaling intervals on the bike, and strengthening and core work off the bike. The combination just didn't work for me and I will be looking elsewhere to get my sweat on during the dark days of winter. Glad I tried it though, if only for the mental image of several small-brimmed-cycling-hat-wearing men with skinny, spandexed legs frowning and shaking their heads at me.

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