Monthly Archives: November 2009

Spinning 2.0

As I was huffing and puffing this morning through my weekly spinning class, I had a “guffaw” moment as our goddess of an instructor announced: “This section of the class is made up of three stages…warm-up, sitting and standing.”

“That’s amazing!!” my thoughts dripping with inner sarcasm.

“Why?” you may ask.

Let me first debunk the myth of spinning (spoiler alert). Here’s the news: Spinning is, well, brainless. Your average Joe/Jane tends to be quite intimidated, probably as a result of watching too many movies in which the heroes are quite literally brought to their knees after spinning classes from hell, making for great  comedy moments.

But the joke is that there’s nothing to it: There are a total of two positions in spinning: Sitting and standing (hence my guffaw moment). There are two grip positions: #2 and #3, where #2 is where your hands are parallel to your body on the handlebars and #3 where your hands are perpendicular and further down the handlebars. (One upon a time, in the early 2000s, there used to be #1, where your hands were squished up together in front of you, but that’s fallen out of fashion, and no instructor would be caught dead calling for position #1 today).

Then there’s the resistance. A little knob twists clockwise and anti-clockwise, increasing and decreasing pedaling difficulty. You’re told to be at 70 percent effort, 80 percent and sometimes 85 percent, which you base on your own level of breathlessness – at 70 you can breathe, at 80 you are gasping for breath, at 85 you’d rather be home watching TV with a bag of potato chips on your lap. For some reason, unknown to me, 90-100 percent and under 70 percent are never options – go figure.

So as I was silently chuckling to myself, my mind carried on wandering. This is mainly because as you have learned above, spinning doesn’t require too much skill or brain activity, in fact, men flock to spinning classes because no coordination is required. As I listened to the ripped, zero percent body fat instructor filling the air with innocuous banter, and irrelevant commentary that included nonsense like, “as one foot goes down the other goes up” (Really?!! It’s a stationary bike, what else can your feet possibly be doing?), and “first the left foot then the right foot” (what others are there?!! Is there any other order?!!) I had a non-sarcastic thought…

In today’s Web 2.0 social media era, what do we need spinning instructors for? Think about it. All you really need is the music, which can be pre-selected by participating spinners on a voting basis. This way us 35-50 segment members don’t have to suffer through the horrors of hip hop thumping through our heads as we sweat, and in the spirit of social media, we can democratically choose our music. Then you just need a laptop screen that shows instructions, based on the permutations of sitting/standing; #2/#3; 70%/80%/85%. Gym overheads reduced; and spinners saved from the brainless nonsense instructors feel they have to blurt out incessantly.

There must be a computer geek out there who can punch in the numbers and spit out some code to eliminate the spinning instructors out there who anyway, just make us sick with their ridiculously lean and perfect bodies and who look like they’ve never enjoyed a good meal in their lives. Instead, as I spin, I’d like to imagine that instead of the perfect 10, the actual brains behind my spinning class is an overweight bloke named Neil who’s only ever set foot in a gym to research spinning so he could develop the program. That while Neil was programming Spinning 2.0, he was happily munching on donuts, Snickers bars and knocking back full fat vanilla lattes. That I never have to face another smug spinning instructor again whose muscles ripple and whose last jeans size increase was between the age of 15 and 16.

Bring on Spinning 2.0, its Facebook fan page, its YouTube uploads and its happy spinners.

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