Portland Spin Class With Decent Music. Is That Too Much to Ask?
Group indoor cycling a.k.a. “spin class” or “spinning class” is a great way to get fit (or stay fit), prepare for the cycling season or just blow off some steam. There are several elements that make up a good spin class. These include a knowledgeable instructor, well-maintained bikes, a good sound system, climate control and fans to keep the air moving. Another important component is music, which helps set the desired pedaling tempo.
Good music is the one thing that can turn a mediocre spin class into a truly great spin class. It can create a mood, energize and inspire. The right tunes can even help distract participants from the physical suffering that is inherent in this form of exercise and help them get to their happy places much more quickly. Unfortunately, it seems like most spin instructors don’t understand or care about this little tidbit. In my experience, the overwhelming majority of spin instructors play absolute crap. In fact, at my gym the very best spin instructor (from physical training perspective) plays the worst music — stuff that can turn a 55 minute workout into a 5 hour workout. One tragic class of his started out with three selections by Five for Fighting including this P.O.S song. I can’t think of any situation where I would ever want to listen to Five for Fighting, but it certainly isn’t while I’m trying to get psyched to exercise.
I realize that the instructors aren’t the only ones responsible for the bad music played in class. Most gyms these days are run by big corporations. They try to appeal to the masses and certainly don’t want to run the risk of offending anyone’s delicate sensibilities. Moreover, I know that there are a lot of people without any real appreciation for decent music. This is why boy bands, 80s music, Brittney Spears — and especially Five for Fighting — are able to exist in the first place.
Perfect Spin Class
For me, the perfect spin class soundtrack would consist primarily of a mixture of hard rock, punk, heavy metal, techno, trance and angry rap with a smattering of psychedelic jam music, bluegrass, gospel and classics (and possibly even classical) thrown in to help keep things interesting and diverse. I know this works for spinning because it is something that Shannon Corey of Lake Oswego Fitness Designs experimented with a few years ago.
In addition to playing great music (she’ll play pretty much anything her clients want), her spin classes were an hour-and-a-half long and included 30 minutes of strength and core training. These classes were awesome. While she isn’t currently doing spin classes it is something she would offer again in the future if the interest was there. Ultimately she is looking for a group of 20 people that will commit to twice a week for 6-8 weeks.
So, if you like the music you hear at an average 24 Hour Fitness or Bally’s spin class, consider yourself fortunate (and boring). If you have more discerning tastes and would like to be part of something truly awesome later, drop me a line. Together, we can get Shannon to bring her brand of spin class back before the 2010 cycling season gets going.
Update 9/11/09 — Shannon put this class back on her calendar. Check out the Shannon Corey Fitness Website for all the gory details.