spinning my wheels (and how you can get slimmer thighs instantly!)


Last Saturday, I somehow found myself at a spinning class. It was one of those Fridays the day before, when I, being the party animal that I am, ended up in bed before 10pm. That, of course, meant that I was up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 5am. Bless the 7 hour sleep cycle – like clock work.

I couldn’t really fathom doing weights with sun already up (I only do weights when it’s dark out – go figure), so 7.30am spinning class it was.

In the change room, I start chatting with another woman, heading to the spin studio. She is what I call a semi pro spinner – doing spinning religiously at least three times a week, always at the same days of the week and the same time slots.

She asks if I spin as well. I smile and I explain that the last time I did spinning was oh, about a year ago. In fact, once a year seems to be about the right frequency that I can handle spinning at. Kind of like Iyengar yoga.

For every woman out there who’s ever said or thought anything negative about the size of her thighs, I have an awesome tip today. [Tip of the day #1!]

Biking shorts! First of all, I am actually kind of amazed at the fact that I even own a pair of biking shorts. But this piece of clothing can do wonders for your thigh self-esteem. How, you ask?

Well, all you have to do is put a pair on. And then… take them off. Does wonders, I tell ya!

You see, biking shorts are universally unflattering. It’s’ gotta be the ugliest piece of fitness clothing that I own. They cut the leg in exactly the wrong spot, making your thighs appear twice as large. They sit high up on your waist, creating a muffin top where there isn’t one. Oh, and don’t forget the titillating feeling of wearing a maxi pad between your legs. Flashback to the 90s.

So slip those babies on. Glance in the mirror.

Then take them off. And glance in the mirror again. Presto! Slimmer thighs.

As I walk into the studio, every bike, but one is taken, so I throw my towel over. This is definitely an established group – people know each other. Someone asks someone else about their kids. Dinner stories from last night are shared.

A woman on a bike next to me is eyeing me suspiciously. Any sort of arm definition makes you stick out in this room like a sore thumb. I start feeling slightly self-conscious – similar to how I feel attending a track workout or a ballet class (if that ever happened).

You can pinpoint two groups of regulars – roadies and spinsters (yes, I’m using that word).

Roadies would clearly much rather be on the road, but have to make do for the next couple of months, as the roads are covered in ice. Yet, they are in a full get up. Biking shorts, biking shirts, biking shoes, biking bottles. In fact, I’m a little surprised they are not wearing helmets.

Spinsters are regular gym goers, who made spinning classes part of their routine. Some of them have never been on a bike. They do spinning for spinning’s sake, and, of course, cardiovascular benefits’ sake. Men are sporting old cotton t-shirts and track pants, while women are sporting Lululemon from head to toe, and bright running shoes.

So, those two groups, and me. [Check out this awesome blog post for more types of indoor cyclists.]

As I start adjusting the seat, the Suspicious Woman looks over, and starts giving instructions. “You just have to undo that bolt there”. I sigh imperceptibly.

“Yeah, like that!”

“And now, turn and pull.”

I’m fighting irritation and an overwhelming urge to point out that, while I may not look it, yes, I have done this before. Coffee, anyone?

Finally, the bike is adjusted, and I get on and start pedalling, but I am not off the hook yet. “So… have you registered for this class?”, the Suspicious Woman inquires. My insecurity gets the better of me, as I snap: “Do I really look THAT out of place here?”. “Oh, no no!”, she looks startled. I do not hear from her for the rest of the class.

“Well played, Solo”, I think to myself. “Next time, we’ll just bite her on the arm or something”.

The instructor is few minutes late. She finally runs in, throws her bag down, turns on the music, and turns off the lights. Someone has to explain the whole lights off thing. Is that a thing? We start spinning faster.

Finally, the instructor gets on her bike, and off we go. I have no idea what is happening for the next 50 minutes. Which is probably why it seems like this class is much much longer.

Turn the wheel to the right!

Half a turn!

[Image source]

Up for 10!


Up for 10!


Up for 7!

“7?”, I think to myself. “Why 7?”

About twenty minutes in, my Suunto turns off in protest. Even less perception of time. I think this class will never end.


Up for 2!

Ok, I’m confused.

Stay down. We are here for 30. Quarter of a turn to the right.
Faster. Faster.

And up!

“For 10”, I think.

Up for 20! Am I imagining this or did the instructor just flash me an evil smile?

Stay here. Stay here.

And now forward.

And back.


And back.

I have no freaking clue what’s going on. The funny thing is that I am 100% sure that there is a pattern to the seemingly random numbers and positions that the instructor is calling out. It’s just that I cannot figure out what that pattern is for the life of me.

Although Wikipedia suggests that while most instructors will lead what is called an interval ride, where students will sprint, run, climb, and jump all in the same ride, there will not be definable pattern to the exercises.

Great. That sounds like my favourite thing ever – a workout with no structure. No rhyme or reason. Relax into the chaos. 



“For 10?”, I think hopefully.

For 7.

The instructor seems to enjoy this.

“Of course, why would it be for 10? That would be way too fucking predictable.”

How are you feeling? hollers the instructor.

The class whoops and yeehaws. The Semi Pro Spinner is dripping with sweat. In fact, she’s been racing Semi Pro Spinner #2, who is sitting right across from her. During the speed intervals, these two lock eyes, and try to outspin each other.


People are so interesting.

I’m bored. With no understanding of what’s coming or how much time is left, I can’t exert myself appropriately.

And now push!

“Push for how long?” I wonder, annoyed. A 10-second all out push is very different from a 60-second all out push. So…. which push is it?

A guy two bikes away from me is chewing gum.

Tip of the day #2 – Would you like to improve your results in the gym? Get rid of your fucking gum.

Tip of the day #3– if you are doing intervals and are still able to chew gum, you are not working hard enough.

Another intense interval.

Then, all of a sudden, music is off, and people start getting off the bikes.

In the change room, the Semi Pro Spinner is smiling blissfully. “So how was it?”, she asks.

“I think I’m good for another year”, I grumble.

YOUR TURN: Have you ever tried a spinning class? How did it go? Are you a semi pro spinner? A spinster? A roadie?

Spinfully yours,

Posted February 16, 2014

16 responses to “spinning my wheels (and how you can get slimmer thighs instantly!)”

  1. sabrina says:

    And you didnt mention how the seat makes you sore for 3 days!!!! Awful feeling…

  2. Pamazon says:

    I’ve been to a handful of spin classes – and I’m fairly certain I like them!
    Although I’m a “roadie” I do appreciate being able to mix up the cardio without risking life and limb in traffic.
    I go to spin class just often enough to surprise people when I show up again.
    Maybe we can get together for your next anniversary ride – I’ll save you a bike.

  3. Carri O says:

    Lol@Sabrina, I’m three days past my first spin class, and I think I can sit on a wooden chair again.

    As for the class, I agree about the organized chaos… I’ve only felt more lost and confused in a step class.

  4. Stephanie Woodland says:

    This is so funny! I have never been to a spinning class, probably because a) I like actual biking, and b) gyms are modern day female slavery.
    You are such a conundrum, Katya! You look like one of those ‘yelling-at-people-so-called-encouragement-to-scare-the-fat-off-them’ aka Jillian Michaels, but talk like me (chubby, happy, healthy). Didn’t you know that buff girls are suppose to tell all of us non-buff girls how amazing it is to be buff, and disgusting it is not to be? Geez you suck at being fit 😉

  5. Stacey says:

    I just started to add spin once a week to my winter routine….this article is spot on! Love it!!

  6. Laurie Pooch says:

    Just did my first spinning class last night and I totally relate to everything you said! The lady next to me was telling me where to go to get bike shorts just like hers (ummm, no not going to do that) — a girl that would spin for awhile and then get off and disappear for awhile?? Maybe the seat was getting to her, because, seriously, I had a funny walk when I left!

  7. […] y’all know how I feel about spinning, but this workout right here – well, that’s enough to make even me question my beliefs. […]

  8. Shayne says:

    I have always enjoyed spinning classes, particularly because a lot of the position and the movement emulates what happens in the tack on a horse. All that “up/down” is like posting at the trot – something most people don’t understand either and can’t get the rhythm. “Holding up” is like jumping a fence, so it strengthens the lower body and the core at the same time.

    The spinning people are odd… although equestrians are odd too. I would do it more often but the woman I bought my riding boots from told me my calves would get bigger – and that worried me. Boots are expensive! 🙂

  9. Roz says:

    I’ve only done one spinning class, and didn’t really like it, though I love riding my bike outdoors. I live in Texas, so it’s not that often that I can’t ride outside, and when I can’t, I feel grumpy and deprived; maybe that’s part of why I don’t like spin class. If I have to ride inside, I either want to keep it short and intense, or make it just a warm up for strength exercises. It’s too boring to drag it out. And I don’t like the dance music they play, either. If they played some old school Ramones or something maybe it would be a little better.

  10. Amanda Fisher says:

    I tried spinning once and felt violated!

  11. […] shopping for a swimming suit. On a fat day, every swimsuit looks about as flattering as a pair of bike shorts. The ruffles designed to mask imperfections seem to mock you on purpose. You are not just a hippo. […]

  12. […] you could EARN extra points via physical activity! Take a spinning class, then have brownies for dinner. Now, that’s a whole new SPIN on BROWNIE POINTS! [I crack myself […]

  13. […] 1. spinning my wheels (and how you can get slimmer thighs instantly) My candid account of taking a spinning class, and the horror that is biking shorts. […]

  14. Darcie says:

    You hit the nail on its head. I can count the number of spin classes I’ve done on both hands. Every time, no matter who the instructor is or the music or training plan or whatnot, I get ADD and bored after 38-40 minutes and glance continuously at the clock like an antsy schoolchild in last period.

  15. […] an activity outside of your regular routine can be fun too – spin class, Zumba or indoor climbing. Perhaps, there is a lesson on traditional Indian […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Something is wrong.
Instagram token error.
Load More


SOLO on Facebook