"Mom, I was so tired at the end that I physically couldn't swallow my last gulp of water," I wheezed into the phone during my nightly call to my mother. I was just five minutes out of my Fly 45 class at the Back Bay Flywheel and could still feel the sweat dripping down my face. I felt amazing.
I used to roll my eyes at the people who said that they loved spin classes. It sounded boring and hard and very bourgeois. That was back when I considered twenty minutes on the elliptical while I watched "The Office" a workout. Now I'm the person that people roll their eyes at when I boast about how much I love my spin classes. No, but seriously, they're great.
I took my first spin class at my school gym, the most basic 45 minute class you could ask for. The next day I couldn't sit down. Or walk. Or do much of anything really. I gave myself two days to recover and then went to another one. Not as bad. The more I went the better I felt, the more empowered I felt, the healthier I felt. Every time my max hill increased. First eighteen, then nineteen and eventually twenty-three. About three months into my spinning endeavors, I decided that I needed to try one of those fancy studios that everyone goes crazy over.
So I went to Flywheel. My coworker had raved about her free trial class and the torq-board that they have where you can race against everyone else in the class. It sounded slightly terrifying, but I signed up anyway. I signed up to participate in the torq-board, even though I was given the option not to. I wanted to challenge myself.
As I approached the studio, I walked past it a few times. Everybody in there looked so put together in their coordinated lululemon workout outfits and suddenly I felt intimidated. I was wearing my $10 workout leggings from Marshall's and an old high school t-shirt. Can you say plebeian? Finally I summoned the courage to walk in. There was so much going on. I didn't know where to sign in or how to get a locker or anything, really. One of the employees must have noticed me looking like a scared little puppy in the doorway and guided me through the process of signing in, finding my shoes and setting up a locker. Otherwise I probably would have just walked out and never gone back.
Finally it was time for class. The dark room was set up like a stadium and there was one bike sitting on top of a stage at the front of the room. For the instructor. I'd seen stuff like that on TV. I found my bike and managed to bring it to the proper height. Before I knew it my fancy bike shoes were locked into the pedals, the lights were off and my legs were flying.
Within the first five minutes, the instructor had us pulling our torq up to 35. In my head torq was the equivalent of gears in the spin classes I had taken at school. I had only ever gone up to 23 gears. How were my legs moving? How were they going so fast? (I later realized that the bikes at Flywheel and those at my school gym were completely different.) Let me tell you, I had never sweat so much in my life. I could feel the sweat on my face drip down onto my hands and the sweat on my arms drip down onto my legs. Every few minutes my body would tense up, tell me that I couldn't do anymore, but the instructor told me otherwise
You don't say no to the instructor. There's something about them up there on the stage, lit up in the pitch black room. They look so intimidating and it seems like every instruction is directed right at you. I also think that the lighting and the microphone are designed to make them sound sexier and more fierce than they actually are (and they're already pretty sexy and fierce).
There was also the board. That goddamn torq board, why had I signed up for it? During the first race I looked up and I was in second to last place. Not great for my ego. But that made me work twice as hard during the rest of the class and I somehow ended up in third. That felt good. That's what hooked me.
"Sounds like you had a rough workout, I guess you're not going back," my mom said back into the phone after I explained in detail how exhausted I was and how I'd almost fallen down the stairs walking home.
"No mom, I have to, " I said. "I loved it."
Oh, and I forgot to mention, I fell off the bike. Twice.
(Photocredit to: http://www.chicagonow.com/eri-thon/files/2012/08/071612-Flywheel-Interiors-1.jpg)