It was miserable -- I couldn't breathe, my hands were slipping from sweat on the handle bars, and all I could stare at was the glowing green RPM number on the screen near my left knee.
"C'mon!" I thought, "What does it take to get you up to 105?"
The instructor was bouncing between singing to the upbeat tracks and spouting out inspirational nuggets, "The only thing that's stopping you from success is yourself! You can do anything if you're willing to work for it!
"Ok, dude, I'm working my butt off," (literally, hopefully) and finally, finally! I hit 105!
"Hold it, last 15 seconds. Go!" the instructor shouted.
Feeling as though I was running for my life, the 15-second sprint seemed to take forever. But then as quickly as it started, it was finished and we were sitting down, clipping along at a brisk 85 RPM, catching our breath and prepping for the next set.
My friend and I received a few free classes from a boutiquey spin and barre studio in Seattle that opened recently and I had always wanted to try a spinning class. Flywheel sports is the cousin to the ultra-hip Soulcycle studio in New York. Soulcycle set itself apart with it's dark spinning room and intense life coach-like trainers who add the yoga concept of really being in the room and combine it with bumping music and loads of empowering life lessons.
Flywheel had all of those elements, along with super cool wall-mounted water taps that let you choose the temperature and Evolution Fresh juice samples ready after class, not to mention a friendly and helpful staff that helped calm the intimidation I was feeling. The studio was busy, and easily the average body fat percentage of the class was well below the national average. The room was filled with very fit folks, most of whom were in trendy (re: expensive) workout gear.
The class was a haven for Type A personalities. With a board in front ranking the bikes in order of who was working hardest, it's an easy place to get ultra competitive. Since the lights are turned down low, you don't have to look at anyone around you and can seriously get lost in the music and the trainer's words of wisdom.
Going into the class, I had heard about the high people feel post-spinning. It's the same rush of endorphins that come along after any intense exercise, but running and spinning seem to get the best reputations for the highest high.
Twenty minutes into class I was calling BS on the high. My legs were jello, my arms were in pain, and I just wanted it to be quiet. It was after I hit that low that I started feeding into the trainer's words without even realizing it.
"No one but you is going to know how hard you work, are you going to let yourself fail?" followed by, "Change can't come unless you're willing to challenge yourself and reach out of your comfort zone, how badly do you want to improve? GO!"
Ok, I'm going! I'm going! This. Is. Awesome!, as Nicki Minaj and Justin Beiber crooned in the background.
About the time I finally let my mind go and really start having fun, class was over. Drenched in sweat and a little shaky, I gingerly walked over to my friend and we shared a moment of mutual "Wow, what was that?" followed almost immediately by "ufff da."
Will I do spinning class again? Definitely. That is of course, pending my ability to move tomorrow... it could hurt a little.