Just keep Spin­ning.


Gay Times Magazine - - Fitness -

Classes can be quite in­tim­i­dat­ing. For me, they re­mind me of PE lessons at school, which I was aw­ful at. I was that kid who got picked last dur­ing any sport les­son. Yeah, that ol’ sob story. It wasn’t be­cause I was un­pop­u­lar; I just sucked so much at sport and ex­er­cise while I was at school. I used to have a real dread about go­ing to those lessons. I ac­tu­ally used to bunk off and hide from my teach­ers or fake notes from my mum. My teach­ers weren’t stupid, they ac­tu­ally just de­cided to ‘let that hap­pen’ un­til I got to the year when I could pick any les­son but PE. Funny that now I try weird and won­der­ful fit­ness classes for Gay Times.

Af­ter speak­ing to a lot of peo­ple, it seems the ex­er­cise in­tim­i­da­tion stays with many of us af­ter our time at school. I started think­ing while at col­lege that I needed to start get­ting in shape. As I was in­flu­enced so heav­ily by the male im­age around me in ad­ver­tis­ing, and other guys my age around me, I taught my­self how to get in some kind of shape.

I started weight train­ing on and off for the next bil­lion years and only re­cently I started at­tend­ing classes. And that PE dread? The ner­vous tummy? They’re back.

As an adult it’s very silly and dif­fer­ent. I’ve had nerves as an adult, sure, like be­ing on a first date or pre­sent­ing work in front of more than a few peo­ple, but pre-PE class nerves are a bit dif­fer­ent. You lit­er­ally think, “Oh, God, what if I die in this class.”

Re­cently, I’ve tried cir­cuits on a farm and city strong man train­ing down at The Foundry in Vaux­hall, South Lon­don. I loved them – I felt they played to some of my strengths. But then a few fe­male friends of mine turned to me one evening and ut­tered, al­most in slow-mo and with the voice of Satan cours­ing through them, “Hey Chris. Have you ever tried… spin?”


On a whim, we book into a spin class. I think to my­self, “What the hell am I do­ing? This isn’t me? I don’t go to spin classes.” And then a tiny sex­ist part of my brain awak­ens and thinks that spin classes are just for ac­tivewear lov­ing mum’s dur­ing the day. So I ob­vi­ously slap that aw­ful

thought out of my head and sign up to the class with my… ac­tivewear lov­ing fe­male friends.

The near­est spin class was in Hol­born, at a place called Boom Cy­cle. We book through their site and take ad­van­tage of their in­tro­duc­tory deal – which is £29 for three… spins?! – and I no­tice there’s a lot of male in­struc­tors on the site! We book in a se­lec­tion of classes be­tween two in­struc­tors, Jack and Haydn. They’re both beau­ti­ful, so you know, not in­tim­i­dat­ing in the slight­est.

Boom Cy­cle is one of those bou­tique stu­dio-type places. Some­where that you think might be too good for you, if you know what I mean. But upon en­ter­ing I was met by a chirpy re­cep­tion­ist and our first in­struc­tor, Jack.

Jack is ba­si­cally Mr Muscle. And beau­ti­ful. So, handy for star­ing at for 30 min­utes dur­ing my first class. I was more sur­prised by his size than any­thing. I was un­der the im­pres­sion that spin­ning was for re­ally su­per skinny guys, but here was a Men’s Health cover model strap­ping me into the bike for my first ‘ride’.

I was still ner­vous, as Jack helped me ad­just the bike for my body height be­fore help­ing the other peo­ple in the class. There was a hand­ful of us, so he gave every­one at­ten­tion be­fore he jumped on his bike. The mu­sic started, and Jack started to get every­one in the frame of mind – which is be­ing PUMPED. So spin ba­si­cally cre­ates the most pos­i­tive and healthy look­ing peo­ple ever, it seems.

And do you know what? Af­ter the first few min­utes of think­ing, “When will I die dur­ing this?” I started to re­ally like it. The way the spin bikes are de­signed is that your mo­men­tum from the first ro­ta­tion aides you in your next one, so it feels at first as if you’re not do­ing any­thing un­til you turn up some of the re­sis­tance – and your feet are mag­net­i­cally at­tached to the ped­als as you don’t take your own shoes, so you’re locked in and forced to move!

Jack’s ses­sion was 30 min­utes and was a roller­coaster of a high­in­ten­sity train­ing work­out – and it went so quickly. I didn’t re­ally have time to no­tice how much my thighs were burn­ing, or how my weak core couldn’t al­low me to keep up with Jack’s pace – yes, he throws some chore­og­ra­phy into the mix, but star­ing at his bi­ceps and thighs re­ally gets you through it. I will put my hands up and say, I’ve never pro­duced so much sweat from a work­out.

Speak­ing to Jack af­ter­wards, he men­tioned the en­dor­phin rush from spin is dif­fer­ent to one from weight light­ing. “You feel great,” he said. I don’t know if I had en­tered the cult, but I did feel great! I felt so amaz­ing af­ter my ses­sion. I’m not a car­dio per­son, but I wasn’t out of breath, yet I was cov­ered in sweat and I felt so in­cred­i­ble. My legs felt the size of tree trunks and Jack men­tioned also that he finds spin: “A great ad­di­tion to weight train­ing, and spin does not make a guy ‘lose gains’.

“Spin can help main­tain muscle gains and isn’t just for skinny guys. Men of any size – if you want to shift weight and add muscle, you can do it here.”

I loved how pos­i­tive I felt af­ter my ses­sion, and with a free shake af­ter, it’s safe to say that I’m a con­vert. It’s a good ad­di­tion for car­dio haters to sched­ule in a class along­side an ex­ist­ing rou­tine.

“Spin isn’t just for skinny guys. Men of any size – if you want to shift weight and add muscle, you can do it at spin.”

Thank you to Boom Cy­cle, who have a new stu­dio open­ing up in Bat­tersea Power Sta­tion, but also have stu­dios in Hol­born, Shored­itch and Ham­mer­smith, boom­cy­cle.co.uk, boom_­cy­cle

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