Spinning, through my eyes

Spin classes offered at Payne Whitney Gymnasium are more intense than this casual stroll to nowhere.

Sweat is (already) covering my palms and forehead with a light sheen. In the basement of Payne Whitney, I had decided to try a spin class for WEEKEND. As the editors said at the beginning, I have “nothing to lose but my dignity.”

So what is spinning? It’s a high- intensity cardio workout on stationary exercise bicycles. You do a bunch of extremely hard exercises on a special “spin bike” and hope to God you can resist the urge to chop your legs off the next day in a desperate attempt to rid your body of sore muscles. In real life, spinning is not quite amputation inducing. I promise. After Krav Maga (super badass Israeli martial arts), spinning at Yale is the way to go. “Everything is on a stationary bike!,” says Avtalya Feldman ’14. Indeed it is.

Back to the room. There are more people here than I’d thought, and it comforts me to know that not everyone in the room looks like a European model right off the runway with a seriously sexy behind. Okay; roll neck and crick fingers. I can do it.

Step 1: Mounting the Bike. Phew. At 5 feet nothing, my feet aren’t dangling and I can push the pedal. With tentative swirls of my legs, Titanium starts blasting in the background. Ooooh, this could be fun.

Step 2: Actually spin. Starting slow, there’s a warm up and then the class really starts. Pump legs, pump legs, coasting. As for music, there’s a combination of – as student Anjali Ambani ’14 says – “chill stuff for when we’re coasting with lots of upbeat music, everything from ‘Send Me on My Way’ to ‘David Guetta.’”

Step 3: Get into the zone. I’m totally in that yogi Zen mode now. I’m vaguely aware that my legs hurt, but Guetta’s telling me that I’m sexy and I should know it, and dammit I’m going to have toned legs after this class!

Step 4: Don’t stop believing; don’t stop spinning. The resistance level on my bike goes up along with the rest of the class, sprint (bike quickly), coast, hike (increase resistance of the bike) and stand up while biking (future job as a stuntwoman?). As Ambani said, “The class does pass quickly because the music’s so good, and the fans are pointing at you.”

Before I know it, time’s up and the music stops. And I was just getting started (convincing, exasperated sigh).

As Feldman says, “Spinning is a very personal workout. You have to decide how much you’re going to push yourself.”

Next semester, when there are more spin classes available, I’m going to walk all the way to Payne Whitney, and I’m going to spin. And so should you.

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