For those of you who don’t know, I am a recent spin convert.
I discovered spinning about 10 months ago when I joined my local New York Sports Club. I had heard for years that spinning is a great workout. My cousin got in amazing shape for her wedding by going to Soul Cycle in NYC, and I remember reading years (and years) ago that Kate Winslet prepared for her famous nude scene in Titanic by using a stationary bike. I was told that the classes can actually be fun (exercise, fun?), so I decided to give it a try. 10 months later and I am completely hooked.
A spinning workout is hard and fast. There are moments in class when you can’t think about anything else but how to get through the next pedal stroke. I have never sweat so hard in my entire life as I have during a spin class, and that includes doing the Physique 57 workout. As a matter of fact, I’ve had instructors ask me if I was doing okay in the middle of class before because I was sweating like a hooker in church. I prep by drinking a full bottle of water before class, then usually drink 2 bottles in the class itself. The classes are 45 minutes, unlike all the other 60 minute classes offered at the gym, and believe me, there’s a reason why.
Depending on the instructor, the classes vary from interval training routines to endurance rides. While endurance rides maintain a steady level of resistance, slowly adding to it throughout the class, interval training alternates short, high intensity segments with slower recovery phases: think of climbing a long, steady hill versus climbing short, steep hills and with downhill segments in between.
I personally am a fan of the interval training because of its many health benefits, and because I find the variety in the workout to be more fun and engaging. But they are a tricky beast: you think they are easier because you have time to recover in between intervals, when in reality, your body is working overtime.
The best interval spin classes – or even the best spin classes in general – are those with the best music.
Get an instructor with a penchant for oldies and country music, and that 45-minute class could seem like a 2 hour ride through wet sand. On the flip side, if you get a great instructor who provides a variety of rock, hip/hop, and techno, you’ll barely notice the burning pain in your legs. A good instructor also knows how to choreograph the different positions used in class with the timing of their music. There is no better feeling than struggling through a high-resistance seated hill climb only to be rewarded with a downhill sprint as the song transitions into its chorus.
I have two favorite teachers at NYSC. They always play the best music and push us as hard as we can go. As a result, their classes are always packed. I’ve actually found myself using Soundhound during class to get the names of certain songs because I like them so much!
Here are my 11 of my favorite spin songs, in no particular order:
1) Barenaked Ladies: “Brian Wilson (Live)”
This doesn’t seem like a typical workout song until about a minute in when the band just explodes in full Barenaked Ladies force. You can’t listen to this and not pedal your heart out.
2) Counting Crows: “The Rain King”
Perfect for warm-up or for recovery in between intervals. There is something so motivating about this song — combined with the released endorphins, it makes you feel like you can do anything and be anything.
3) Foo Fighters: “Rope”
This is a song to get serious to. The Foo Fighters make you want to pulverize the pavement and push your own personal boundaries. I love standing sprints set to the chorus of this song.
4) Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell: “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”
Not the first some that comes to mind for exercising, but there is something so inspirational and uplighting about this song — it just makes you want to soar on your bike.
5) Jay-Z: “Empire State of Mind”
This anthem to New York can energize even the most sluggish rider. There’s nothing like seeing a room full of white Westchester woman singing along to the chorus during class.
6) Pitbull: “Give Me Everything”
The perfect song for intervals because of the great lead-in to the chorus. The bass beat also perfectly matches a fast-pace pedal stroke.
7) Lady Gaga: “Marry the Night”
Nothing like Lady Gaga to make you want to out-spin everyone in the class. I love pedaling on a flat road during the verses, then taking the resistance way up and sprinting during the chorus.
8) Pearl Jam: “The Fixer”
This is the type of song where you look around the spin studio and see everyone singing along with Eddie Vedder, sweating like pigs and shaking their heads in agreement with the lyrics.
9) Rihanna: “Hard”
This is a song that can guide you through a 4-minute hill climb on high resistance. There is something uniform about spinning to any hip-hop song, and this is no exception — it’s steady, but with a sense of building intensity. Go hard or go home!
10) Taio Cruz: “Dynamite”
Taio Cruz can get anyone up on the dance floor, and the same goes for a spin class. This song can re-energize a class like no other. When they play this song, I am always thankful it’s loud enough to drown out my pant-singing.
11) Neil Young: “Rockin’ in the Free World” Neil Young’s politically charged rock anthem motivates you to stick it to the naysayers and forget any self-doubt you might be harboring.
Other good choices:
Beatles, “Back in the USSR”
Bob Marley “Could You Be Loved”
If you’ve never attending a spin class, give it a try! You may decide that it’s not your thing, but I think everyone should try it at least once. If nothing else, you’ll burn at least 360 calories in 45 minutes. And if you’re in the Westchester area and belong to New York Sports Club in Hawthorne, give the 9:30 am Thursday, 5:30 pm Friday, and 10:00 am Sunday classes a try — it’s a great workout to amazing music!
If you are a spinner, do you have any favorite songs?
If you are looking for new music to spin to, check out the blog Spinning Music, which has lots of playlists broken down by intervals and intensity levels.
Categories: Spin Playlists