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Back on the Bike at Ride or Die Spin

March 1 was the grand re-opening of Ride Or Die Spin studio in Charlotte, NC and I was fortunate enough to be part of the first class. It was also my first time on a spin bike in about three months. Thankfully, I lived through the ride despite my fears that I would not.

I didn’t get my obligatory photo in front of the sign this time around, but I’ll be back. I was just so happy to finally be back on my favorite bike in the back row by the door. My workouts are usually meditative and despite whatever instructions the instructor may give, I’m in my own world back there. But what has kept me from going to spin elsewhere?

 Ride or Die Spin on Instagram

I suppose the greater focus concerning this post is mental blocks regarding working out. Ride or Die recently came under new ownership, but there was a period of several months when classes would be canceled due to low attendance. I’m not sure why the previous owner couldn’t make it work, but that’s part of the risk of running any business. All I know is that it saddened me whenever classes were canceled because that particular bike in the back by the door became my home.

It just feels uncomfortable for me elsewhere. I wrote an entire post all about gym intimidation and how to get over it. Trying new spin studios is where I still have yet to overcome that intimidation. I’ve visited others. The classes were fine. Really, most of them are pretty much the same and I guess that’s where the problem lies for me.

In most fitness settings, I’m the only one like me. It’s cool being one of a kind, but it can also be lonely because at first glance it looks like I have nothing in common with anyone else. Nor do many people go out of their way to say “Hello” back to me when I speak. I’m black, I’m plus-sized, and most people don’t expect me to be able to make it through the entire workout without them offering to modify things for me. Of course, I also don’t always tell people that I’m a trainer myself.

Thick thighs save lives on the bike.

I started attending classes at Ride or Die because I knew one of the instructors there. I continued going because I grew fond of the activity and the other instructors and became attached to that bike. The last couple of times I attempted to go to a spin class somewhere else, there was always some obstacle that prevented me from going. Something or someone would ruin my plans. But that also made it more difficult for me to go anywhere else because I simply missed the home of that bike.

Have you ever felt like that? I can’t be the only weird one. What blocks do you have that keep you from engaging in certain activities?

As for the grand re-opening ride itself, it was intense, I got my heart-rate up, talked trash about the instructor under my breath (because a good instructor will absolutely have me pissed off during a workout, but I love them afterward). The energy was great, and I can’t wait to go back! I feel like the new owner is going to be awesome.

Survival tips for spin newbies

Before I close this out let me share a few reminders that I got after getting back on the bike that may be new information to someone who has never been to a spin class but is considering one:
  •        Take your time. I’ve kept in pretty good shape overall. Since I lead my own fitness group, I’m pretty good with cardio and strength, in general. However, vigorous pedaling on a bike with increased resistance in a hot room is not the same as doing a bunch of squats and it is a far cry from yoga. It didn’t take long for my thighs to scream at me, “Oh hell no!”
  •          The seats hurt. Eventually, you get used to it, but those first few sessions will also have your ladybits talking trash to you.
  •          Stay hydrated. That’s a must during any sort of physical activity, but there’s no way you should ever forget to keep water handy while you’re in a spin class.
  •          “Clipping in” takes practice. If you attend a spin class on a regular basis, then you know that you wear special shoes to help you stay safe on the bike. Basically, the shoes clip to the pedals to keep your feet stable. It took more classes than I’d like to admit to before I could finally clip into the bike without taking forever.
  •          Enjoy the ride. I haven’t been to a class at any studio yet where it wasn’t dark in the room and the music wasn’t loud. Those two elements help me to stay focused on myself and my bike. Not worrying about what I look like or what anyone else looks like helps to keep me focused. I don’t suggest everybody sit in the back as I do (I’d hate to have to fight anyone over my bike). Just do what will help you to get through class and it may help you to at least not be in front during your first few classes.
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  1. Your analysis of 'don't want to go anywhere new' made me laugh. We are such creatures of habit. I find myself heading for the same library table or church pew or treadmill. I've always loved watching folks in the spin classes -- they seem so 'committed'. But now that I'm older, I'd worry about my knees handling that strain. I've used a stationary bike on a number of gym visits. How different is it?

    1. An actual spin class can be very different from just casually riding a stationary bike. In all of the classes I have attended, the pedaling is much faster and more intense. You'll also do exercises where you have to "jump" up and down from your seat. The instructor will have you increase and decrease the resistance on the bike at different intervals and they'll have you doing a bunch of other exercises while on the bike. It can be challenging and I was scared to death during my first ride, but I came to love it!

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