I like to make myself believe that I'm in shape. I walk every day to and from work which amounts to a 30 minute jaunt one way, 25 if I'm listening to quick-paced music. This walk is what I use to convince myself that a Big Mac isn't that big a deal...I'll walk it off in no time.
This week I decided to sign up for a spin class at Quad on King Street West. While I had no illusions about being a yoga newbie, I always like to think that I'm an excellent cyclist. Every summer on schedule, I decide to use a bicycle as my mode of transportation and pout until my dad unhooks his from the garage ceiling and cleans it up for me. Newly pumped and shiny, it will sit in my hallway unused because cycling around the city is dangerous and it's so much more fun to walk. But somehow I still like to think I could cycle if I really wanted to.
During my last workout I misunderstood the bonds of fitness when I tried to glimpse at the people suffering around me so they knew I was suffering in solidarity. Apparently, this just isn't done. Fine, will keep my 'We're in this together and doesn't it just suck?" faces to myself.
To start this spin journey, I needed to choose a class. Quad offers an assortment of different types of spinning. The class that employs a live DJ was my first choice but mysteriously never appeared on the online schedule. Instead I ventured into whatever class was running when I had a second free from my excuses to NOT spin.
Side Note: I don't exactly own a pair of runners but that didn't stop me. I let a friend know that I had every intention of wearing my TOMS and between exasperated sighs and rolled eyes, she told me that it's foot suicide. Whatever. She doesn't know.
What you'll need: A water bottle, comfy shoes, hair ties. A towel is provided by Quad to put over your handle bars and prevent sweat-induced slippage.
The lucky girl that I am, the class I wandered into happened to be high intensity with Marc. In addition to spinning like we're on a flat road, we'd also be climbing three hills. Fabulous. I explained to the instructor that I was new to the regime and he promised to let me take it easy. And then gently let me know that I had set up my handle bars backwards. Great start.
Here's a short snippet of my inner thoughts:
12 p.m -- Crap. A pregnant woman. Heavily pregnant too. It's going to suck when she rocks this class way harder than I will.
12:03 -- This seat is mega uncomfortable. Sitting like this hurts. Maybe if I shift...no that hurts too. What if...nope, that's not happening. Well, at least I won't be thinking about my legs.
12:08 -- Foot cramp, foot cramp, foot cramp! Damn TOMS!
12:10 -- Oh my god. It's only been 10 minutes?! I'm exhausted and huffing and puffing like Tony Soprano. Great idea to pick the bike next to the mirror. Exactly what I want to see: me, blotchy and wheezing.
12:15 -- Marc! Stop peeking at my intensity levels! Mind your business!
12:20 - We have to stand up too? Oooooh, yay a break from the Seat of Doom for my bum. Oh wow. That burning feeling in my thighs is a wee bit aggressive.
12:25 -- I better not have a hunchback after this.
12:30 -- We all get it Spin Queen to my left. You brought a protein shake and are here to win the Tour de Basement. Oh dammit! Preggo is actually standing? Up I go.
12:35 -- Wait...you said only a few more seconds of stand up pedaling. Marc! I though you loved us!
12:40 -- Peek all you want Marc the Slow Counter, this gal's intensity ain't going up.
12:45 -- I'm starting to get the hang of the stand up spinning! I hope Marc notices that I've stayed standing the WHOLE time he told us to.
End Result: My legs were the slightest bit tender but not at all as achy and numb as I though they would be. Next day aches are at a minimum too. Hooray! My backside is another story. Throbbing and tingly, my bum did NOT appreciate what took place. Interestingly enough, my wrists are also in a bit of pain from being bent on the handle bars.
Effort: Heavy. I drained my water bottle and was red from the intensity of the pace. Breathing was definitely laboured but not as bad as I anticipated. It is so important to find your own pace in this type of class and work up a rhythm that is challenging but doable. When I was concentrated on matching other people's paces, I found myself getting totally out of sync. Slowing it down and counting in my head made it so much easier to follow.
Return Trip: At the beginning of the class I was thinking 'Hells to the NO' but would consider it. The music was fun, the instructor was great and I can feel all the effort I put into the workout throughout my body. I think I might just be back for more. But will bring some seat padding. Ouch
Read the other entries in the series
First up on my fitness calendar was hot yoga. Regular yoga was out of the question since the prospect of searing heat makes my heart flutter. (No seriously...tropical temperatures are a dream). Setting out to find a yoga studio that offers the sweaty class was easy and I settled on Hot Yoga Toronto in the Annex. You have the option of taking either a verbally taught or silently lead class. Personally, I opted for the class with words...it was going to be hard enough to follow. Read the full story
This week I decided to sign up for a spin class at Quad on King Street West. While I had no illusions about being a yoga newbie, I always like to think that I'm an excellent cyclist. Every summer on schedule, I decide to use a bicycle as my mode of transportation and pout until my dad unhooks his from the garage ceiling and cleans it up for me. Newly pumped and shiny, it will sit in my hallway unused because cycling around the city is dangerous and it's so much more fun to walk. But somehow I still like to think I could cycle if I really wanted to. Read the full story
When I first heard about the Aerial Strength class offered by Brass Vixens on Queen West, I have to admit, I pictured something totally different. Read the full story
When I decided to start writing this column, pole dancing was the first and foremost workout that I wanted to try. I enjoy a good night out at a club and might have even won a dance-off or two. So, yea I like to think that I can dance. I always figured that placed in front of a pole, I'd do better than alright. Read the full story
I should point out that two years ago, I decided hula hooping was the best way to achieve abs so I bought one, set myself up outside, began to hoop and as soon as it dropped to the floor (which was almost immediately) I said "Nope, this sucks" and left the hoop outside. Luckily for me, Toronto has classes to turn me into my pretend alter-ego of a hippie hula girl. Read the full story.
I signed up for a Barreworks mixed level class and am told it's a good choice for a newbie like me. The instructor promises an hour of fun, serious core work and ballet-inspired barre stretches. Only opened since June of this year, the studio is the first of its kind in Canada. Developed from the super popular trend in the US, Barreworks promises a lean dancer's body through muscle sculpting, cardio training, core conditioning and deep stretching. Read the full story.
A few weeks into my quest for the best workout, a workout buddy mentioned a machine called The Reformer. While describing its uses, I could not get the picture of an 18th-century torture device out of my mind. This week I was excited to try out MisFit Studio after being recommended by a friend. The studio can be found in an alleyway in a stunning converted old coach house. I initially signed up for a "Kick Ass Mat" class with no expectations whatsoever. When I arrived I was taken for a tour of the studio (did I mention it's gorgeous?) and came face-to-face with The Reformer. Read the full story.
Zumba. Everyone is always talking about Zumba. Whenever I mention my workout quest to friends and family they practically unite in saying "Zumba! Have you tried Zumba yet? Why haven't you Zumba'd?!" Well, listen up you guys, I finally went out and tested Zumba. Read the full story.
If you haven't heard about Kangoo don't worry, you're in a huge group. Not one person I've told of my escapade knew what I was talking about. You've probably seen women at trade shows standing in a booth repping the new workout wearing boots that resemble ski shoes with oval springs attached to the bottom. If you haven't, go to more trade shows! Free swag! Anyway those ladies sell Kangoo Jumps boots to be used while you run, walk or generally work out. Read the full story.
Months and months ago, I attended a show in Toronto where Billy Blanks was appearing for a motivational speech as well as autograph signing. For those of you who don't follow the lifestyles of the fit and fabulous (of which I am not, nor do I follow) Billy Blanks invented the workout known as Tae Bo. A fusion of tae kwon do and boxing, the workout is done to a hip hop soundtrack for extra energetic movements. There's punching, kicking, stepping, crunching and a lot more. Since 1975, Blanks has touted the workout as the "future of fitness" and comes complete with an incredible backstory that made me tear up during his speech. So I bought the DVD. And got it autographed. Sometimes I hate me. Read the full story.
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