Going by the CrossFit mantra of constantly varied exercise, yesterday I found myself at a globo gym trying out a 45-minute spin class. I have always wanted to try an interval cycling class; partly as a test of fitness but being a former dancer I was attracted to working out in the dark room with loud music.
So I thought I would share my experience of this fitness class because it may have been awhile since you have entered into the realms of mainstream exercise.
I decided upon a lunchtime class forgetting that 12pm equals globo gym rush hour: as business people fight amongst each other to get an express workout, before dashing back to work. After fighting off some elbows and angry eyes I secured a bike and spent the next ten minutes trying to adjust the handlebars and seat height, wasting valuable warm-up time. My battle with the bike and the overcrowded room is definitely something I don’t miss about globo gyms.
After finally getting myself set up I was able to join the class and my legs were off and spinning away. The warm up required a constant stride with low resistance and slight increases little by little.
The beginning of the workout didn’t consist of anything too strenuous and I wanted to make sure I got as much as I could out of the workout, so in a bold yet amateur move I stepped it up. Immediately I could feel my hamstrings working and best of all my entire butt CHEEKS began to strain- I thought to myself I must have been doing something right.
As the class progressed and the intensity increased we went through a series of intervals of high intensity, high resistance and back down again. It was not long after we started that I began to regret my initial pace as the lactic acid began to fill my legs with an all too familiar pain.
Although I have been doing CrossFit for awhile now the workout was challenging and I found myself reaching for the towel a number of times to prevent the stinging sweat from dripping into my eyes. It was only until the end of the class that I realised only a handful of participants were in the same state as me: sweating, panting and suffering.
Despite my initial pain, the 45 minutes passed as if it were 10 and I wondered if it felt the same for those people who didn’t seem quite as fatigued as myself. It got me thinking whether those unaffected people had just done too many spin classes that their body became used to the movement or if their resistance was just set too low. This is where I couldn’t help but compare the class to CrossFit.
From my experience the best thing about CrossFit is the group atmosphere. And although I was technically in the same class with a sea of others it just did not evoke the same kind feeling as CrossFitting at a box. Whether it be the midday rush, the dark room or just the fact it was a globo gym, I found the spin class to be more of an individual task that required a lot more self-motivation. Now I know some people enjoy this kind of challenge and it is a testament to their discipline but I felt like this environment could easily cause people to be too forgiving and lower the intensity of their workout, especially knowing that the class runs for a full 45 minutes.
This is not to say there were not a few elements that I did enjoy. On the contrary, I loved the dance tracks and despite the fact many CrossFit classes play music this selection of songs was more my cup of tea. I enjoyed it so much I found myself peddling to the fast beat and at times it felt like I was dancing at a club and not working out at all, which never happens to me during a CrossFit workout.
As much as I liked the setting of the spin class, I have to admit experimenting with something different gave me a newfound appreciation for those short, intense but gruelling CrossFit workouts. The timed WODs, the varied exercises and most of all the community means CrossFit is something I think I’ll be sticking with for the time being.