The Vanguard Tries: Spin Class at the Rec Center

Article and photo by: Amelia Rose Zimlich | Editor in Chief |

Saturday morning is made for many things: sleeping in, going out to brunch, unwinding from the previous week. Last Saturday morning was made for something different: spin class at the Rec Center.

In the wintertime, I typically like to go the “sleep-in-and-stay-at-home-where-its-warm” route whenever possible. However, in the name of fitness (and hard-hitting journalism), I left comfort and coziness behind and ventured out in 37-degree weather to take on the 10 a.m. class.

Music was already blaring from the spin studio when I arrived. There were only a few bikes left, so I took one in the back. As I set up my bike, the spin instructor, Steve Schultze, thanked the class for braving the cold to come to the session. Feeling understood and encouraged, I hopped on my bike.

After a quick stretch and warmup, we launched into the first real exercise of the class: chorus sprints. They’re exactly what they sound like: every chorus of “Levitating” by Dua Lipa saw the class peddling as fast as they could. Chorus sprints are deceptively easy. By the second chorus, my heart rate was elevated, and I was wondering why Dua didn’t add a couple more lines in each the verse.

Then the class got out of the saddle (the seat of the bike) for an entire song. There was something amusing about everyone bobbing up and down to “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson as we caught our breath from the chorus sprints. In no time at all, we were back at it, alternating between 40 seconds of resistance and 20 seconds on a flat road throughout “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” by Jay-Z.

After more chorus sprints and exercises out of the saddle, we reached the halfway mark. By this point, my legs were burning and I was out of breath. However, I was happy to realize that I wasn’t dying halfway in. I call that a win.

“Always push yourself,” said Schultze from the front of the room. “That’s what you’re here for!”

With this encouragement, we began alternating between coming out of the saddle and going back down for counts of eight, then four. Rising out of the saddle is another deceptive move. It’s just standing up on a bike. Easy enough, right? Try doing it to the beat of the music after you’ve already been peddling for 25 minutes. Trust me, it’s not that simple.

After this, we launched into a heavy climb. I added resistance to my bike, hoping it was reflective of being 30% harder than a flat road, the advised starting point. As we added more resistance during each chorus, I reminded myself that this was all worth it. You know, for the sake of fitness and journalism.

The last song served as the “boss level” for the class, according to Schultze. That’s a fun phrase that actually means “I’m going to kick your booty for the last four minutes and 15 seconds of class.” As “Take Care in Your Dreaming” by The Avalanches played, we upped our resistance after each verse and chorus until nearly everyone looked – and felt – as though they were peddling through mud.

And then we were done. “It Was A Good Call Day” by ZDoggMD blared from the speakers as I quickly dialed down the resistance, feeling worn out, but accomplished. The class collectively peddled with the sheer bliss that only a flat road can give. We dismounted the bikes as gracefully as possible and stretched.

After a quick wipe down of the bikes, the class filed out. I left the Rec Center feeling like I had challenged myself and was better for it. As it turns out, spin class was the best use of my Saturday morning.

If you’ve never been to a spin class before, the Rec Center is hosting a beginner spin class on Feb. 6 at 5:30 p.m. They also have spin classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights as well as Saturday morning. If spin class isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other classes to choose from. Take a look at the Rec’s class schedule to find the best fit for you!