How I almost died (or my first spin class)

Matt Busekroos

“I’m sure this doesn’t happen to Britney Spears,” spin instructor Hannah Rinehart joked as she struggled with her headset microphone.

Rinehart set the relaxed tone for her first spin session, which almost killed me one spin at a time.

Since I had never taken a spin class before, I had no idea what to expect when I walked into the 2 p.m. Friday session at York Hill’s Rocky Top Student Center.

Rinehart, an occupational therapy graduate student, took spinning classes when she traveled to Ireland her sophomore year at Quinnipiac.

“I have always been a bicyclist, but there is something different about spinning and I totally caught the spinning bug,” Rinehart said. “My love for the class turned into, ‘Well I could teach this.’ That is when Tami Reilly (through the very generous fitness center) offered to help pay for the training and certification of training.”

As a first timer, it’s important to show up about 10 minutes early to configure the best settings for yourself on the bike. It’s necessary to find the proper heights for the seat and handle bars. Since I am nearly incompetent when it comes to using gym equipment, Rinehart assisted me to find the optimal setting.

Her upbeat and motivating music selection helped me fight the good fight. I never once stopped pedaling. She played everything from Robyn to Cee-Lo to *NSYNC. Rinehart also checked in with the class after every song to make sure everyone felt OK.

I would consider myself someone who is in shape, but the class exercised new muscles and tightened my core abdominal area and gluteous maximus. My inner and outer thighs have also never felt firmer. Despite the feeling of daggers constantly stabbing me in the ass, I trekked on.

During each switch in position, the instructor mentioned to the class the different muscles worked and how they affect the body. Spinning is an efficient and effective cardio workout, according to Rinehart.

“Adding spinning to a workout regime will act as an energizing cross-training method,” she said. “I am a runner, and combining spinning into my weekly training works out my muscles in a different way, making me stronger.”

Pedaling as fast as I could, I thought my legs were going to detach from the rest of my body halfway through the session. But Rinehart constantly mentioned the ride is “yours.” She instructed the class to spin at their own pace.

“The bikes are so easily specialized for the needs of each rider (from the setup of the bike to the speed of the bike),” Rinehart said. “What’s different about spinning versus most group exercise is that you can have the experience of riding with different levels of riders without having to go at their level.”

Junior Mimi Kotowski was another first-timer spinner, and recommended it without reservation.

“It’s challenge by choice,” she said. “If you don’t like it, you don’t have to go back. You never know, you may have the best time of your life.”

It’s best to bring a towel and at least one water bottle, if not two, to the class. The sweat poured down my face and body. I left the class drenched. I never felt self-conscious. Even though I probably made facial expressions where I looked like I was giving birth to a cow, I strove to finish the class with dignity.

When the session finished, Rinehart led the class in a series of stretches, which helped relieve the muscles worked.

I left the 45-minute class feeling fulfilled and relieved. I work out often, but I’ve never felt as good about myself as I did when I left last Friday’s session.

Photo credit: Marcus Harun