Spinning at Home

>> Friday, May 31, 2013

I have been mentioning cross-training quite a bit in my running-related posts recently. It's because I've been doing much more of it, especially getting back into indoor cycling. And a few of you had questions, so I thought I'd address them in a post rather than replying individually.

(Skipping the Weekend Things post this week because regular stuff has been spotty.)

#1: You have a gym membership -- why did you buy your own spinning bike? 

Well, we NOW have a gym membership, but back when we bought our bike in 2010, we didn't. It was a well thought out purchase because Stephen and I both enjoy spinning, but don't always have the money + time + motivation for classes.

Plus, honestly, those spinning die-hards sort of intimidate me.

At the time, we also didn't have a treadmill either, so the idea was that if the weather is icy or below zero (or, in this case, when it's 90 degrees -- because, apparently, I hate extremes), we'd have a good workout we could complete indoors. As well, we were both trying to get in some low-impact training to balance out all the miles run on the road.

#2: What kind of bike do you have? 

We have a basic, base model by Spinner. It's been a few years, so the closest bike I could find is the Spinner Fit Indoor Cycle. It may seem like a bit of an investment at first, it costs around $600, but after three years of use, it's really held up well. And that bike I linked to comes with 4 DVDs, which I'll write more about in a minute.

I have been surprised with how solid + sturdy it is despite being a lower level on the spectrum of other spinning bikes available. However, there are also a few models that run under $200!

If you're already a cyclist, you may also be able to get yourself an indoor trainer and ride the bike you already own year-round. I don't have a road bike (mine's a hybrid), so I don't know if this was an option. I'd love to hear more from people who ride with trainers.

#3: What is your setup like? Any other gear needed? 

As you can see, I ride our spinning bike right in the living room amidst unfinished puzzles and stuffed animals. For the time being, we're storing the bike in our entryway, which will need to change when we start using that space more formally after we do a bit of renovation work. A true benefit to a spinning bike versus a treadmill is the small footprint.

As far as other gear goes:

  • I have a pair of padded bike shorts to cushion the uncomfortable-ness. I like the shorter ones because I sweat like crazy while spinning.
  • Though I'm not wearing them in these photos, my Merrell Barefoot Glove shoes work extremely well for spinning. Not quite as hard/intense as normal cycling shoes, but more support and less bounce than my Brooks Pure Flows (the workout in my running shoes wasn't very comfortable, truth be told!).
  • And a towel + water bottle are absolute essentials, too.
#4: What workouts do you do? How long/times a week?

If you want, you can just switch on music or TV and ride. Make your own mountains, etc. If you've ever been to a spinning class, you sort of know the different positions on the bike. Sitting, "jogging" or standing, and then that third sort of position of standing with your butt out and holding the low handlebars. Right? Right.

I prefer to do a DVD, which I've mentioned before, because I find when I go rogue, I quit after 15-20 minutes. Trying to push through pain while watching a Lifetime movie just doesn't happen.

// I have the Spinning Turn + Burn DVD. It's great for an intense 45-50 minute interval workout. It includes climbs of 5 different hills of varying lengths. I am drenched when it's over. And always pleasantly surprised I could actually finish it. I do this workout once a week, but am looking to increase to twice/week.

I'd like to vary the routine, so I'm eying these others:

  • Spinning Ireland Road Tour -- because it might be more fun to watch scenery than the real or imagined sexual tension I pick up in my current DVD.
  • Spinning Crank it Up -- it's by the same instructor, but I guess it's at the "next level" and got a lot of good reviews.
  • Spinervals Competition -- this one sounds intense. Description says it's difficulty 9.9 on a 1-10 scale. Might be good as a replacement for a speed workout once in a while.
  • Mindy Mylrea: Short & Sweet Cycling -- I think I'd use the bike more if I had the option for shorter workouts. This DVD has 3 20-ish minute ones to choose from.

(See the torn-up floor boards? this room is getting a face-lift!)

This question wasn't asked, but I'll just tell you my favorite part of spinning is when it's over. I tend to dread my cross-training because running -- though difficult at times -- is my happy place. When I venture out of my fitness-zone, I feel much more exertion. But that's a GOOD thing.

What spinning gives me that running doesn't is this gigantic sense of accomplishment . . . but more in a surprised way. Like I mentioned above, when I finish a workout, I'm always like "WHOA, REALLY?! I just did that and didn't stop?!?!"

So, that's a good way to feel once + a while.

Spinning is also undeniably great for my running. I know I've written it in the past, but I ran my fastest 5K even when I was spinning 2/week. It's because the motion gets your legs moving faster and the resistance is tough and makes you push through more than with just running. At least in my not-so expert opinion.

Do you spin? Anything more to add? I'd love to get more into outdoor biking, too, but we don't live in an area with tons of long bike paths or safe roads. It's quite a bit of traffic until things open up. Though I really should investigate more!

Happy weekend, everyone!

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