Spinning through the winter
By Kate Manthei
As Northern Michiganders, we’re blessed with miles of open road to bike, not to mention the 23-mile Little Traverse Wheelway that snuggles up to Lake Michigan between Charlevoix and Harbor Springs. But what about the other nine months of the year where mud, bugs, rain and snow prevent us from getting on that bike?
The answer is, of course, a spin class.
A quick Google search pops up 10 different “spinning classes near me” options, spanning from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs, so there’s no doubt you can find a spin class convenient to your location. A spin class is an excellent indoor cardio option for nearly any level of fitness level and here’s why.
• This is the best of both worlds — a class to keep you pushing your limits and an individual bike to keep the difficulty tailored to your ability.
• An instructor leads each class and will make sure the bike is adjusted properly and the rider is comfortable.
• Spinning, while tough on the leg muscles, is low impact so it’s great for creaky joints. Be sure to tell the instructor of any conditions that might affect your ability to fully participate, and they will help you know what to attempt and what to skip.
• The instructor leads spinners through class at the optimum difficulty level. To get the full workout, do as the instructor says, but if you’re not at that level, go as hard as you’re comfortable with — and then soak in the beat of the music and go just a little bit harder.
• In some spinning classes, the lights are off. Yes, you read that right. The lights are very dim, and a disco ball and colored laser lights keep beat with the energetic music. This might not be for everyone, but many spinners find the anonymity comforting.
• Be ready to sweat. Spinning is a high energy workout option, so bring your water bottle and wear breathable, form fitting bottoms. Loose bottoms can potentially get caught in the equipment. Since this isn’t the Tour de France, you won’t need padded bike shorts, but expect to feel some discomfort that will ease after the first couple of classes.
Nicole Nichols, a fitness instructor and online blogger, gives these tips for beginners: “If you’re new, show up early! Let the instructor know you’re new, and ask him or her to help you set up your bike properly. The main thing I emphasize to my students is to monitor your intensity level and work at your own pace.”
For a relatively quick workout that burns serious calories and has the added benefit of prepping you to enjoy the few usable months of the Little Traverse Wheelway like a pro, check out a spin class near you.
Written By By Kate Mantei