With the launch of ABC’s Your Move campaign, to help Australians explore their own health and fitness journey, reporter Marnie Vinall is setting out to experience some of the growing exercise trends across the country.
It’s hard to watch a TV show or movie about millennials that focuses on modern-day women without a class show at some point.
the main points:
- Spin class is an intense workout that includes stationary bikes, with a coach at the front guiding you throughout
- While some classes are standard, others include nightclub-like conditions, with bright lights and loud music.
- Spin programs were developed by South African endurance bike rider Johnny Goldberg in the 1980s
Even though I’ve taken a solo RPM class here and there, I’ve never been to a course studio to do what the kids call “spin”.
So, I called Adam Pearson—who has been an indoor cycling coach for about 20 years—to give me a rundown.
He tells me that there are many different styles of indoor cycling classes offered by the industry, including: strength training, blast training, aerobic training, traditional training models and even the more popular “party on the bike” methods of late.
However, all of these forms have cardiovascular benefits with low-impact exercise, which is great for fitness without putting too much stress on the body.
So, good for someone like me with a sore knee.
Plus, he said, it’s an incredibly effective form of exercise.
“All power systems can be used — the anaerobic power system and the aerobic power system — and they can be used in most classes, and most classes are very high intensity,” he said.
And for those like me who are less familiar with bodily systems, these are energy systems that are required, respectively, for quick bursts of energy, for example jumping, and for long periods, such as running.
He assured me that, no matter what kind of training I did, there was usually “always good music, so always good vibes”.
As a sucker for workouts tuned to dance tracks with the volume up, I chose the “Party on the Bike” option and contacted Bodhi and Ride, who offered “a revolution in traditional spin… [in] Studios are dark, hot, steamy and equipped with high-tech bikes and high-quality lighting and sound systems.”
Michaela Fellner, CEO and founder of Bodhi and Ride, kindly offered to let me take a class at her South Yarra studio.
She told me that newcomers can expect a “really intense” and “immersive” workout.
“Basically, we cram everything into 45 minutes,” she said, and she tells me that the lead time means it’s an effective way to get a full-body workout, including the upper body as well as the lower body.
“The other component of it is the aspects of society that occur before and after separation.”
Referring to my dread in trying something new and dynamic, Fellner told me that they “are well aware of the fact that it’s scary.”
“It’s a very unique experience and it can definitely be intimidating. So, we’re well aware of that,” she said, noting that the coaches were there to make you feel welcome and let you know what’s going on.
Also, they are there for motivation and encouragement.
Which is exactly what I found when I broke down with the courage to move forward.
The room was dark, as promised, with bright lights, loud music and a very enthusiastic instructor – very kindly helping me tune up my bike and get into my cleats.
She guided us through the paths, and made us move faster and harder, while also shouting words of praise.
And let me tell you, from the warm-up onwards, it was all.
There were a bunch of different tracks, including a meditation track where riders could go at their own pace and a dance where my coordination was really tested.
Have you ever had to move your arms to maintain a certain rhythm while rotating your legs apart? Yes, I wasn’t, but it was very fun to give it a crack while sweating hard under low light.
There was also a weight track, where the legs were isolated on bikes and instead the upper body was targeted with exercises using portable weights.
This included repetitive motions, such as bicep curls and shoulder presses to the beat of the music.
My apprehension subsided as I settled into the rhythm of the class and took on trying to push on and push harder.
Plus, the darkness of the room, which helped pump out the music, because I only focused on myself and the movements.
The playlist – which includes the likes of Skrillex, Denzel Curry and Disclosure – certainly helped drive, too.
After wiggling off the bike, I took myself home for a big bowl of carbs and finally understood what all the fuss was about.
It’s been 45 minutes of intense exercise, but I felt so good afterwards, covered in sweat as if I had achieved something. Also, as if you’ve attended a very short party.
What are rotation classes?
Originally developed by South African endurance racer Johnny Goldberg in the mid-1980s after he was hit by a car, spin classes were geared toward endurance athletes as an alternative to outdoor bike training.
Goldberg developed the stationary bikes himself, and moved to California to increase product and category exposure.
Over the following decades, spin classes became popular in gyms before taking on a life of their own, with some classes offering nightclub-style environments to get pulses racing.
How much does a recycling cycle cost?
Classes can range from $10 to $30 for a single session, although many places offer package deals that include more than one class.
Where can I do spin lessons?
While plenty of gyms offer gym classes as part of their membership deals, Spin Class studios are starting to pop up all over the place, providing a more dynamic experience.
Some spin classes were offered at local pubs and bars.
Search for “classroom near me” online for best results.