'The Journal' tries a workout class at the ARC

Are spin classes as good as everyone says?

Spin classes are a great way to get in a cardio workout.

I’ll be the first one to admit it: I really don’t enjoy working out.

There’s nothing I hate more than counting reps in my head. What’s even worse is doing an exercise with my eyes glued to my phone’s stopwatch, counting down the seconds until the pain is over.

When I go to the gym alone, I find myself cutting corners or ending my session way earlier than I intended. I never leave feeling satisfied, or that I did any effective exercises.

If my experience sounds similar to your own—or you at least find it slightly relatable—I have the perfect remedy: workout classes at the ARC.

You don’t have to count any reps in your head, because someone else is doing it for you. You don’t have to pick out the perfect workout playlist because the music is already chosen. Most importantly, the voice of self-doubt in your head will be drowned out by the screaming voice of someone encouraging you to push harder.

The Journal tried it, loved it, and now we’re promoting it. Here’s a run-down of my experience at an indoor cycle class at the ARC.

You should come to the class with sneakers, a water bottle, and expect a challenging cardio workout that can be adjusted to any level of difficulty. You’ll leave the class with a sense of accomplishment and a disgusting amount of sweat.

Spin classes are perfect if you want to get in a good cardio workout but don’t feel like mindlessly running on the treadmill for an hour. They’re free for anyone with an active Group Fitness pass, but cost five dollars per class for anyone without an active ARC membership.

When you walk into the spin studio, you’ll find about 20 bikes distributed throughout the room. Participants are allowed to stretch and pedal before the class begins.

The bike’s screen displays your distance travelled in kilometers, your pedal stroke revolutions per minute (RPMS), and other health information. Below the handlebars, a small red lever allows you to control the intensity of the resistance, which can make pedaling easier or more difficult.

The class I attended involved a variety of spin exercises, including climbing hills, sprints, and team riding.

The music was definitely the highlight of the class, as the soundtrack included many 2000s classics by Pitbull and Shakira. The great thing about the spin bikes is being able to make it as easy or as difficult as you want—you can always reduce the resistance.

Cardio exercise has been linked to brain and joint health, but even knowing the benefits isn’t always enough to motivate me to take time to go to a workout.

Fortunately, Cynthia Gibney, a spin class instructor at the ARC, has been teaching fitness since 1993 and has two pieces of advice for people looking to get into fitness.

Number one: consistency and building a habit.

“Routine. Pick your three days, what you love, and do it. You just have to do it,” Gibney said in an interview with The Journal.

Finding a time throughout the semester that works and making it a part of your weekly routine helps to form a habit.

Number two: accountability.

“Get a buddy,” Gibney said. “I think when someone calls you and is like ‘Hey! I’m going, do you want to come?’ Even if you're sitting on the couch eating popcorn it’s like ‘Oh yeah, I can't let that person down!’”

What I love about workout classes is all you have to do is show up, try your hardest while you're there, and then it’s over. You don’t have to plan out a workout routine by choosing exercises from a YouTube video. All the hard work is done for you.

If you’re struggling to find time to go to the gym, or really don’t enjoy working out at all, I suggest giving the workout classes at the ARC a try.

There’s no doubt a smoothie from Common Ground tastes good when you’re out of breath from climbing the stairs, but I promise completing a workout class first will make you feel like you really deserve it.

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