FIRST TIME IS THE HARDEST: Is The Room Spinning Or Am I?

Nov 11, 2014 0 comments
FIRST TIME IS THE HARDEST: Is The Room Spinning Or Am I?

Written by Noel Bartocci, Researcher & Copywriter at Intuitive Company & freelance writer for

It’s Not As Bad As You Think

There are few things more anxious or embarrassing than the first time you walk into any class, doubly so when it’s a fitness or performance class. You don’t know anyone, you aren’t sure if you are wearing the right thing, and if you’re like me, you may not be the most physically capable specimen that just takes to feats of athleticism like a fish to water. I mean, the best compliments I get during team sports, “you’ve got heart,” or “you always give it your all.” No offense to anyone but the same can be said for someone riding the pine and/or cheering on the team.

In the days leading up to taking my first spinning class, those I know that had done it before gave me feigned warnings of despair. Varied responses, such as high-pitched, “really,” which was accompanied by a raise the eyebrows or a hearty if slightly sarcastic, “good luck,” which I guess is better when taken at face value. But I think my favorite responses were the humorously negative ones like, “You’re going to want to die,” or “your legs won’t work for days.” Well, I made it. Even more shocking … I think liked it.

There was no stereotypical some super-fit lady, angrily yelling at you over thumping music. Missing was the public shaming to pick up the pace or speed it up. Where did I get these pre-conceived notions? Is this indicative of spinning everywhere or have movies and television been lying all this time, exaggerating the intensity to comical degrees? Perhaps it’s just the atmosphere created specifically at The Wall? I think the answer is all of the above.

The Wall Cycling Studio located on Levering and Main (next door to Row Zone) was the opposite of all the stereotypes you hear. Julie, who is also The Wall’s proud owner, led the class from a place of encouragement and empowerment. She was incredibly clear and hopeful with her expectations of everyone in the room. A 10 is not a 10 for everyone … all you’re required to do is not give up, regardless of speed or resistance. If you do that, you win. Maybe it’s just how I function (and I suspect many people do as well), but sugar gets me father than a stick. I want to WANT to do well, not fear the consequence if I don’t. That’s not to say that it was easy, merely that the drive to push was inspired into me and not shamed out of me. It was a talent that Julie exuded naturally and in abundance.

To Clamp In or Not To Clamp In

Yes, I know how a bike works, but I feel like many take for granted the level of expertise or know-how involved when spinning. My knowledge of bikes in general stopped evolving at age 10 and the extent of my knowledge of stationary bikes stops at they don’t move when you pedal. So, yes, I required a tutorial on how the darn thing worked. For those wanting to give this a try, most specifically guys out there, here is your crash course:

1.    Clamp your feet in. It’s very easy to slip off, especially when being extra active and working the pedals, consistently and at alternating speeds.
2.    Adjust your seat. Butt pain is inevitable, but you can decrease the amount of hunching, reaching, and straining if you make sure the seat is at a natural height and distance from the handles. Speaking of the handles …
3.    Don’t grip tightly. Holy moly is it easy to get into it, tense up, and squeeze the handles. I found that doing so for 15 minutes straight tense my shoulders and lower back. More than once I had to remember to loosen up and just keep in motion. Consistent speed and perpetual motion were more important than beast-ing it through a song.
4.    Push yourself, but don’t pop a blood vessel. Spinning is appropriately challenging and organically allows you level up as you go. I get the impression that an alpha mentality of competitiveness would defeat the purpose. It’s best to remember that I’m not challenging anyone other than myself … and that lady up there with the microphone is just here to root me on. There are no moments of grunting relief, so keep it steady and solid throughout. I genuinely like the idea of that.

For about 45 minutes, Julie instructed us through a series of workouts that would last the length of one song. 3-5 minutes of localized, bursts of energy that was consistent and almost choreographed. Personally, I appreciated that inherent narrative of each workout, or obstacle, if you will. She would inform us that it’s a hill or a series of hills, which would require different sets of resistance and positions on the bike. As your cadence goes along with the song, she would count down to the next change, but in keeping with the music, making it somehow easier to transition into a tougher setting on the bike. It should be mentioned that you control the resistance at every moment of the session, bringing it back to the notion that you are in control of your comfort level. The only requirement is not to quit.

I Won Saturday

Was I excited to get up at 8AM on a Saturday to take what I thought would be an incredibly difficult class? No sir. Alternatively, was I floating on clouds when Julie and others in the class were complimentary that I didn’t give up and genuinely surprised that it was my first time. You sure are right. I felt like I won that Saturday, being that person that is fueled by encouragement and the hope of improving, I bet I was annoyingly chipper to anyone that I interacted with between the end of class and my travel home. Sorry, I couldn’t help it. The Wall and everyone in there really hit all the right buttons for me.

Maybe when the snow starts to fall and running becomes less of an option, I’ll purchase a package of … look at me. I’m mentally planning my next classes. It’s just a matter of time before I’m in there again. I hope to see you at The Wall.

For more information on The Wall Cycling Studio, check out their website here.
Interested in freelancing for Email Shannon at





Recent Posts
Leave a Comment!
This thread has been closed from taking new comments.