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Indy Gets Fit
Indy Gets Fit
We're doing it this year, and we mean it! As The Independent rolls out its new Health & Fitness guides over the next few months, we're not just going to be writing about fitness, we're going to be getting fit, and sharing our experiences in this blog. Feel free to respond, jeer, praise, or share your own tips in our comment section.

Set Cycle To “Spin”

January 31, 2013 | 02:58 PM

I want her to adopt me. I want Romaine Gordon to start a pilot "Adopt a Fatty" program at B-East and choose me to be the guinea pig/ poster child.

With tremendous trepidation, I took her spin class Sunday morning. It was difficult. It was painful, and (cue Piper Laurie from Carrie voice) I liked it!

With the specter of falling off the bike, barfing, wheezing, keeling over and making a fool out of myself looming, I decided to stay in Saturday night, so I'd be good and rested. It probably would have been a good idea to do some light exercise, maybe some stretching to get ready . . . I ate a ton of mashed potatoes and watched six or seven episodes of Sex & The City instead.

Sunday morning I met Joanna at B-East right on time. She, plus two attendants, plus Romaine, plus the guy in the bike next to me, all gathered around to set me up on the Real Ryder. They told me how to sit on the bike, where to put my hands on the handlebars, how to change tension, how to move from a seated to a standing position while pedaling, how to roll the bike from side to side. They helped me clip my feet into the pedals, brought me water, gave me a towel.

The last time that many people paid that much attention to me was when the surgical team prepped me for a C-section 26 years ago. I thought, "This is what it'll be like not long from now, when I'm in the home, and it takes a team to dress me for church." (the presumption being I'll rediscover church when I am sent to the home)

I thought these things all the more, when I was in saddle minutes later, and forgot every single instruction….

Except one.

Joe Gaviola from Montauk is apparently an avid spinner. "Pace yourself," he warned, his face grave.

Almost everybody said that to me, a lot.

The saddle hurt IMMEDIATELY. They put a special gel seat on. I have more than ample personal padding…but it still felt like hot irons to the coxyx.

Romaine showed me how to sit forward and focus the energy in my core to ease the pain… Of course, I don't actually HAVE a core, so I could only keep that up for a while.

I decided the reason why you see people in spin class standing up and pedaling isn't because they're tough, or showing off. They're trying to avoid the Marquis de Saddle.

I tried standing up, but if your core isn't engaged … there's a whole "I'm gonna fall off this thing" feel.

The music played and I pedaled for a bit. Just as I began to feel the burn and the fear and the anguish, Romaine said, "Now that you're warmed up . . ." I didn't hear the rest because I think I may have sobbed a little.

Romaine reminds me a little of that trainer Jillian from "The Biggest Loser." . .

except she's nice. Seriously encouraging. Throughout the 45 minutes she never let up, urging riders to push, but at the same time letting us know that whatever pace was acceptable to us was just fine.

There were people riding really hard, pedaling furiously the entire time. There were people choosing a moderate, though difficult, pace. And there was me, slow as molasses, ignoring every instruction, especially the ones that involved adding tension by turning a knob on the frame of the bike. Turning the knob involves taking your hands off the handlebars. I decided that was for the more advanced spinners.

Just as I thought my thighs would actually burst into flames, Romaine came around with a basket filled with rubber balls. We'd use those for an upper body workout. Most people continued to pump their legs throughout the routine; I chose to rest . . . as much as you can while trying to stay balanced on the bike.

That was the surprising part. I'd always wondered what the big deal about spinning was… just riding a bike with a bunch of people – can't you do that at home?

Nope. There's a whole lot to maintaining your seat on the bikes, changing arm positions, pedaling, hanging on, boosting tension, keeping your stomach pulled in and engaged -- a slew of things to think about

Gaviola explained that guys love the Real Ryders because they're engineered to work the core. Your abs are key to staying balanced.

When it was all over, Joanna and the guy on the next bike, had to help unclip me from the pedals. I got that "stroke victim in physical therapy" feeling again. I wished I'd worn slip on shoes. I dropped my glove and considered just leaving it there.

Class participants and staff were very friendly, asking me how I felt. When I marveled at the variety of aspects you have to keep track of, Gaviola said, "It's like sex. At first you don't know all the positions, but once you get them down; it's fun."

I'm no idiot. I made plans to head out to Gurney's for a blissful soak in the Roman Bath Sunday afternoon after the class. Things got scary for a bit, in the spa dressing room, when I had trouble undressing myself. Panic set in, when it dawned on me that I'd have to ask an attendant to come help me with my bra. … but I reached down, deep inside and found that last ounce of strength, went for the gusto, and got that bitch unclasped.

Most of Sunday I hopped around like Grandpa McCoy. I was still sore on Monday, less sore on Tuesday.

I'm going back tomorrow.

That guy in bike 32 was cute.

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