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Spinning out and going the distance
By Kasia Sarnecki
Peddling up hill on a stationary bike sound like fun? That's what "spinning" is a new form of aerobics taught here at Western.
Last Sunday at noon, while most of Western was still recovering from a Saturday night of bar hopping, one brave Gazette writer and 18 aerobic fiends were at the University Community Centre's gym, "spinning."
The fitness class, which takes place on cycles that don't move, has become a new exercise fad that has without surprise quickly gained popularity at Western.
"It is a realistic workout. It includes a combination of repetition and endurance, but best of all, it requires no coordination," said Sonia Hota, one of two Campus Recreation instructors who head the class.
I arrived at the class with the notion it wouldn't be too difficult. I had the impression I'd ride a bike, ask a few questions and go home back to bed. That was before I got on the bike.
The class was full to say the least. Luckily, a spot opened just before the class began and I was able to take part. The next hour was one neither I nor my sore muscles would forget for a few days to come.
Instructor Gail Senyshen says that the classes provide an authentic work out, though there is still an intimidation factor to consider before one gets on the bike and starts spinning.
"At the beginning, you kind of wonder if you're going to be able to make it through the entire class or not," said second-year sociology student, Jana Barnes.
"But then you get caught up in the momentum of the class and you almost forget how much you're sweating almost," she said.
The class began slowly. Cycling along, on a "sunny day," according to the instructors. We were on a nice flat path.
"I can do this," I thought.
Suddenly, there was a hill. Not just any hill, but a mammoth, totally vertical hill. Unfortunately I didn't see it coming.
Both instructors were encouraging, shouting supporting words and turning the music louder as if to drown out our sorry whimpers. It was almost as if the music is louder we won't feel the pain?
Unlikely. Muscles, that I didn't even know I had, were now hurting.
"The class is a great cardiovascular workout, but also great for the lower body," Hota said. This is one of the reasons spinning aerobics has caught so much attention. With the warmer weather coming and everyone wanting to look good, spinning is a great way to get in shape.
One common factor about aerobic classes is their predominantly female participation.
However, according to Hota, there is generally at least one male in the class.
Spinning classes only began at Western in January, but have caught the attention of many people. "The classes are always pretty jammed," Senyshen said.
Halfway through the class Hota took charge. The class then began doing standing lifts on the bikes, going down winding roads, turning left, turning right and then jogging.
Spinning is definitely not as easy as it looks.
My favourite part of the class was going downhill. The tension on the bike is at its lowest and you can let yourself go with the momentum of the bike.
Hota, after a moment's thought, said the best part of the class is how much fun it is. "It doesn't really feel like working out," she explained.
The class ended and strangely enough, it didn't feel like an hour had passed. Thanks to The Gazette, I think I may have found a way to work out that is actually fun. I would recommend this class to anyone wanting to start working out, get in shape or just have a good time.