Fat Girl Goes Spinning

Yep, you read the title right- this fat (but fit) girl went spinning today. Taking a spin class has been on my 101 in 1001 list, and I’ve really wanted to mark it off. So this morning, I went to my first spin class.

Sweaty spin face

I have to admit, I was scared. I have heard about how it’s hardcore and tough, and everyone who ever comes out of a spin class is covered in sweat. I still have trouble with doubting myself and my body’s abilities, but I went for it anyway.

I showed up a little early, and I was lucky that there were still a couple of bikes left – I didn’t get the memo that you need to get there early to reserve the bike. Thankfully, I got a bike in the back corner, where I wouldn’t feel too intimidated. I asked the instructor to help make sure the bike adjustments were okay for me.

There are 3 adustments you can make to the spin bike:

  1. Seat height: you want this to be high-hip level
  2. Handle bar: you want this to be pretty equal to the seat, or if you’re a beginner like me, slightly higher
  3. Seat-to-handle distance: The seat can move forward or backwards- you want it to be where the knees don’t go over your toes when you pedal, and you want to be able to reach the handles without strain.

After I got the adjustments made, class started. About 2 minutes in, I knew I was in trouble.

But not because it was too hard for me! It was because my *ahem* nether-regions *ahem* were in PAIN! Holy hell, it was bad!

You know when you hurt yourself and joke “Oy! That’s going to leave a mark!”

Uh, yeah.

I have marks. Down there *points down.* Not just a single mark. Multiple marks.

I went to the grocery store after the class and I was walking like I had just gotten back from a two week donkey riding excursion.

I realize this may be crossing the line of TMI, but I’m considering this as a public service announcement.

Things I liked about spinning:

  • The class was dark. You could just concentrate on what you were doing, and if you had to change your pace, you could without worrying what others would think
  • The music was pumping. I love working out to good music, and it was loud and had great beats. Tempo varied so you would switch from sprints (fast speed and lower resistance) and hills (slower speed and higher resistance)
  • It was challenging. Nothing better than getting a body-drenched sweat, and this achieved that for-sure
  • Calories: I wore my BodyMedia FIT and for the hour I was in the class, I burned around 500 calories!

From my BodyMedia FIT- about 500 calories burned in the class!

Things I didn’t like about spinning:

  • Feeling like I was taking a ride on a 2×4 steel beam
  • The marks.
  • The post-workout donkey walk

Here’s a video I made explaining the spin class, in case you were too lazy to read what I just wrote :) I am looking ROUGH, so just disregard that. I’m working on catching up on sleep.

Do any of you take spin classes? If so, how long does it take for the pain to go away so it feels “normal?” Also, how long will it take for my marks (and inflammation!?) to go away?! There is another spin class on Friday mornings I want to try that is 40 minutes spinning and 20 minutes yoga, but I seriously feel like my *ahem* nether-regions won’t ever recover!

  • http://twitter.com/BigGirlBlue BigGirlBlue

    I got tired just reading about it!

  • http://twitter.com/CathyCox2010 Cathy Cox

    Just 2-3 classes and you should be alllll set with “the marks” and the pain! It goes away fast, LOL – BTDT! Welcome ;)

  • Brittany

    That’s awesome! So proud of you, Emmie! I won a Body Media Fit and fill be getting mine in a few weeks! SOOOOO excited!

  • http://sillynothings.com Lesley

    If you can, try to get some bike shorts. They are obnoxiously padded, but wonderful on the nether regions. I can’t imagine doing a spinning class without them. Also, a lot of cyclists rub “butter” right into the chamois padding of the shorts. I’ve never used anything besides bodyglide, but I know cyclists that swear by the “butter.

    BTW, I have bike shorts with the crazy padding that actually are built into “regular” looking shorts. Little more comfortable for me.

    • http://www.authenticallyemmie.com skinnyemmie

      Lesley- I am SO GLAD you mentioned this, because I saw some of these the other day and I thought “what the heck?!?!” but now I TOTALLY get why you need them! Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/its_gail Gail Gedan Spencer

    Precisely why I haven’t tried a spin class yet. But I have heard that people can bring their own comfy seat covers to class.

  • Jackie

    I heard you can buy cushion seat covers at Walmart and take them with you. Hope your hoo-haw heals quickly!

    • http://www.authenticallyemmie.com skinnyemmie

      OMG. did you for real just say “hoo-haw?” DYING! :)

  • http://www.twenty-six-to-life.com Kate

    I love spinning! But yeah, it can be a real pain in the, uh, tooshie. It doesn’t take too long to get over though. I think by the second or third class it does become more manageable and I’ve heard great things about the padded seats and shorts.

  • http://twitter.com/LisaEirene Lisa Eirene

    I REALLY want to take a spin class! I’ve wanted to take one for a year now but whenever I try to do it at my gym it’s full. The classes fill up fast and it’s pretty frustrating that they don’t offer more times so people can go. I bet it’s an awesome workout. I loved when my boyfriend and I were training for the Reach the Beach ride. We rode our bikes every weekend for two months. Now THAT’S a killer bike ride. Question–did people wear padded bike shorts in the Spin class?

  • http://bikinix33.wordpress.com/ Angelika

    “I went to the grocery store after the class and I was walking like I had just gotten back from a two week donkey riding excursion.” – Ha – I just LOL’d.

    If you really want to keep going to spinning I would HIGHLY recommending a gel seat…it help’s tremendously. I think mine was $15 at Target.

  • Kendra

    I LOVED spinning when I was in college. I’m so glad that you tried it. I’ll admit, the first few classes are rough, which is what keeps me from getting back into it again (that and the fact that I’m not so sure my lady bits would forgive me for getting on that bike anywhere in the same decade as giving birth) I always tell people they have to go at least 3 times before giving up on it. That’s about how long it takes for it to stop hurting.

  • Anonymous

    Oh I remember that first few spinning classes and the pain… there. It does get better though. It is so great that you have marked another item off your list!

  • LyndawithaY

    I just joined spinning classes as well and I am surprised that I like it! My “lady parts” were a little achy after but I loved the music and the fact that while it was a group class, you could do your own independent thing. Also, even though the achy parts hurt, the calorie burn is so worth it to me. I WILL do it again.

  • http://www.mayorofthebux.com Danielle

    you are brave! sounds like a great time.

  • Chicken_little_30

    Wow I have always wanted to try it but I didn’t think I would be able to do it, it seems super hard and long to do something like that I used to ride a exercise bike and didn’t care for it in fact down below I found would burn after I would doing it for twenty min so my grandma made a thing to put on the bike it helped some but not awhole alot. I am hoping that it works for you and that one day I to can try spinning.

  • Fat Bridesmaid

    I love spinning. LOVE IT. The saddle-soreness goes away after a few classes. I haven’t done it in awhile but I miss it a lot.

  • BAH

    I agree with the padded bike shorts and the gel seat I bought made a huge difference when I did some spinning. The gel seat is also wider than average spin bike seat which helped immensely with the pain in the nether regions. Good for you for spinning and a great calorie burn. Have a great weekend!! :-)

  • http://www.kendrathroughthelookingglass.com Kendra

    You should ask Rachel about spinning, she used to (or maybe still does) teach spinning and has her own spin bike. She’d probably be happy to answer any questions about it. Her site is http://www.rachelwilkerson.com

  • Margaretedith

    Your goodies will be ok with spin class by the 3rd or 4th time. I hate to think what’s happening that you get used to it, though… callouses? Fancy lady musculature?

    • http://www.authenticallyemmie.com skinnyemmie

      OMG, I don’t even WANT to know what is happening while I get used to it. And
      I love that you called it “your goodies” – awesome :)

  • http://zenlizzie.com/ zenlizzie

    I LOVE a good spin class. I think it takes just a couple classes to get the sore girl-parts to lessen. When I was going even just once a week, it wasn’t hurting, but definitely the more after you do it, the less it hurts. They make special booty pad shorts and special seats, but I haven’t ever used those.

    Side note, spinning is the ONLY work out I’ve ever got an endurance-type “high” from.

  • http://zenlizzie.com/ zenlizzie

    I LOVE a good spin class. I think it takes just a couple classes to get the sore girl-parts to lessen. When I was going even just once a week, it wasn’t hurting, but definitely the more after you do it, the less it hurts. They make special booty pad shorts and special seats, but I haven’t ever used those.

    Side note, spinning is the ONLY work out I’ve ever got an endurance-type “high” from.

  • http://abetterlesserme.blogspot.com/ D…

    That is seriously commendable!!! I have made my peace with spin classes and just accepted they will never be part of my life.

  • http://www.anonymousfatgirl.com Afg

    I really need to get to a spin class. I don’t think they are offered near me (I live in the boonies!) but I’ve heard such wonderful things about them. WTG – for putting yourself outside your comfort zone and trying something new.

  • Maddy Stimpson

    I just read your email to me- so sweet! and so right, I completely agree with what you said, thanks so much!- my mum is a spinner, three or more times a week! i couldnt do it, but good for you!

  • http://twitter.com/thewomaninsidem Kimberly

    I found your site through Twitter and I just have to say thank you for posting TMI because I want to take a spin class but have been too afraid. This gives me a good idea of what I will be facing.

  • http://www.melodicsphinx.blogspot.com Vl White

    You have a great sweaty spin face :-)

    I wanted to do a spin class too, but I’m at work the night it’s on. Boo hiss.

  • http://twitter.com/Downsized76 Tina Valeri

    I totally know what you’re going through. My girl-parts were NUMB after the first class. What the other readers have posted is true: your body will adjust after a couple classes.

    The fact that you sound bruised, suggests you may not be sitting on the bike right or you may not be using your strength (legs and core strength) to ease yourself into your seat after standing portions of the class. Try sitting a little further back on your bike seat. Your “sit bones” should be taking the brunt of the pressure and making the most contact with the seat–not your ladybits! And when you go from standing to seated positions, gradually lower yourself on your seat using the strength in your core and your quads. As you get used to doing this, padded bike shorts or bike seat will help :)

    Spinning is one of my favorite forms of exercise for many of the reasons you posted: great music, dark room lets you focus on your ride (not everyone else’s) and it is a fantastic workout. I hope you give it a few more tries before you decide whether you want to quit or continue.

    Also, you may have burned more calories in spin class. The Bodybugg and BMF are notorious for underestimating burns during biking because your arm is mostly stable so the accelerometer doesn’t accurately understand how quickly your body (your legs!) are moving :)

  • http://heathercwatson.com Heather


    Spinning can be a scary enterprise. I used to really enjoy it and am now more than a little scared to go back, for the very reasons you cite.

    Target has really good gel-padded bike seats in their exercise section.

  • Joie1003

    I took a spinning class a couple of times. Took. Not am taking. Because I also felt like I had gone for that same donkey excursion. I was in SO MUCH PAIN! My butt bones, ones I didn’t know I had, were screaming at me! GAH!

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  • nadis

    I took my first spinning class today!!
    I’d heard about the… ahem, post-workout donkey-like bruising… but you know what, we spent most of the time peddaling with our butts off the seat. About three quarters of the time if not more! Which meant my legs took a beating, but my butt is actually fine. Sore muscles but no bruises :D

  • iamkiki

    How did you get your BodyMedia Fit device to recognize Spin? Mine won’t. Help! send me a note? BTW you are doing great!

    • http://www.authenticallyemmie.com/ Emily Sandford

      I just wore the BodyMedia Fit on my arm like normal and it seemed to register. I know for things like the Fitbit that goes by steps and has no sensors, I can clip it to my shoe for more accuracy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1623971608 Spears Beckham

    I am too scared to go to a spin class for fear I’ll fall over from exhaustion and the teacher won’t notice because it’s dark! Ha Ha (kind of). Anyway, I am REALLY impressed and a little more inspired to try it. Keep up the good work!

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  • Christy Adair

    Thanks for this blog post! I am wanting to try my first spin class this week. I don’t want to buy special shorts or seats in case I don’t like it! Do you think I could just fold up a towel and sit on it?!?

    • http://www.authenticallyemmie.com/ Emily Sandford

      Yes, it certainly would help!

  • char

    I went to my first spin class yesterday. It was 30 mins of spin and 30 mins of weights and cardio. My butt is a little sore, not too bad. I was able to go to power yoga last night. I plan on going back to spin on Thursday. I read that it takes 3 times to get used to the seat, hope that is true.

  • BJ

    I actually own 2 spin bikes so I spin all the time and I am what you would call chunky. The trick is the saddle. I have a custom saddle. So no riding a steel beam feeling.