Spin Class: High Energy + High Intensity = Great Workout

I’ve jumped head first (or more accurately, bike shoes first) back into spinning this past week, taking classes at Revolve’s spin studio in Clarendon. I took a break from spinning while doing the physical therapy thing, and while I was able to ride my regular bike as long as I didn’t clip into  the pedals, it definitely feels good to be back in the spin studio for my favorite kind of cross training.

I joined the Washington Sports Club in Clarendon about a year ago primarily for their group classes. I already have free access to gyms at home and at work for the basics, but I missed spinning and was interested in trying out other classes like body pump. Unfortunately, their class times don’t fit well into my schedule anymore, so I’m considering ending my membership there after my year commitment is up.

I took advantage of a free pass to try out the relatively new Revolve Fitness studio in Clarendon last week. I’ve seen rave reviews about their studios in NYC as well as the one here. It’s not a gym, but rather is a dedicated spin studio. The class was awesome and really kicked my butt – a great way to start the week off. I bought their discounted intro package for one month of unlimited rides at $60. It gets a bit pricey, at least for me, after the first month is up, (although I have no doubts about the quality they provide) so I don’t think I’ll continue with the monthly unlimited memberships going forward, but you can also buy packs of individual rides to spread out over several months as well.

Bike Shoes

Bike Shoes

In the meantime, I plan to get as much use as possible out of my intro month. I took classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week, and already have spots reserved for weekend classes. They offer three types of classes: Real Ride, Body Ride and Barre Ride. The Real Ride is similar to what I’m used to having taken classes at other gyms, and it simulates an outdoor ride with challenging sprint intervals and hills. I took my first Body Ride class this morning, which combines light weights to work on your upper body while riding and still getting the cardio impact. We did the weights for one longer song and I loved it – very cool change of pace.

I’m not sure how I feel about the Barre Ride. You spend the first half of class riding your way to a great cardio workout then hop off the bikes for a series of barre-based exercises using the bike’s handle bars as a bar. I’ve never done this type of exercise, but will try to fit it in sometime during my intro month, and will let you know how it goes.

I love the high intensity, energetic atmosphere at spin classes. It can leave you exhausted and provides the best cardio benefits of the cross training activities that I do. I’m never bored, as can often happen on the elliptical at the gym, and both the 45-minute and one-hour classes are over in a flash.

Footprints: Monday Morning Recap

Well, I’m back running and it feels great! I’m still working on my strength and flexibility so I can get to 100 percent, but I’m doing so much better and am almost finished with my physical therapy as well. Now that I’m back training, I’m going to make “Footprints” a regular Monday feature on the blog recapping my training week, and letting you know what I’ve been up to and what roads (or treadmills) I’ve left my footprints on each week. For the next month I’ll be in a base phase building my fitness level before I start an official training plan in February to prep for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon.

Last week I tallied 17 miles and mixed in some cross training as well. Here’s the breakdown:

Monday: 4 miles at the Fairfax Four Miler. This was such a great New Year’s Eve race and a fun way to start off the night’s festivities.

Tuesday: 3 miles easy through Arlington with a finish near the Iwo Jima Memorial – I love this city!

Wednesday: I hit the gym for 45 minutes on the elliptical.

Thursday: 4 miles easy – Today’s run took me from D.C. to Arlington with a run home from work.

Friday: Today was a bit scattered. I got about a mile in on the treadmill at physical therapy, followed by 2 easy miles on the treadmill at my office gym later that afternoon and 35 minutes on the elliptical.

Saturday: 3 miles easy through Arlington

Sunday: I hit the gym again for an hour on the elliptical. Luckily I had NFL playoffs on the TVs to keep me entertained.

Feels good to be back! Credit for naming the Footprints feature goes to my creative director Ian Gallagher.



Cross Training

Without being able to run I’ve had to resort to a lot of cross training to keep in shape. I’m not great at fitting in time for other fitness activities other than core strengthening when I’m running a lot since I like running so much, and tend to subscribe to the more is better line of thinking. Seeing as this might have a little bit to do with how I got myself injured in the first place, I’m going to make an effort to add in more cross training when I do get back to a run-specific plan.

My go-to cross training activity that I absolutely love is spinning. It’s indoors so weather is never an issue, it’s quick – usually less than an hour, and it’s an awesome, intense workout. However, spinning is still off limits for me, so I’ve had to look elsewhere. I’ve spent a lot of time on the elliptical listening to tunes or catching up on Hulu on my phone to stave off the boredom. I do the same on the recumbent bike at the gym. I get a little frustrated with how much longer I have to spend on these activities to burn the same amount of calories I do running, and just don’t feel the same cardio gains I do from running, but at least it’s something active.

I love to swim, but am not a big fan of the pool situation in this area. I’m used to most gyms being able to have pools, but get that there just isn’t the space for that here. I finally got myself back to the pool up at Washington & Lee though this weekend and it felt great. I love the exhausted but feeling great feeling I get after a hard swim workout.

W&L has a nice, relatively new facility, but it’s usually a bit too crowded for my tastes. I’m not a great swimmer so I much prefer when I can just split a lane with one other person rather than circle swim, which usually doesn’t happen here. I know I’m too slow for the fast lanes so I stay out of them, but when the slow lanes are filled with older folks doing the backstroke, that doesn’t work well for me either. I just purchased a deal for a month at the Crystal City Sport & Health, which recently renovated its pool, so I’m going to check that out soon to see if it works better for me. I’d love to fit swimming back into my exercise routine on a regular basis if I can find the right pool for it.

I’ve also gotten back to biking and am remembering why I used to love riding. I didn’t ride much my first few years down here as I got very nervous in areas I had to ride through traffic and eventually just stopped getting the bike out altogether. Capital Bikeshare rekindled my love of biking – especially the convenience of using it to avoid the metro. Now I’m getting back on my road bike a bit and really enjoying it. I’ve done a couple 90-minute to 2-hour weekend rides along the Custis and W&OD trails over the last two weeks and am getting back in the swing of things. As I continue to get more comfortable on my bike, I hope to join some group rides – something I’ve never done – to keep me motivated and out there riding through the cold winter months.

Tell me how you like to cross train or if you stick with just one primary fitness activity in the comments.