I’ve been brewing this blog series for a year! When I first moved to LA from Brooklyn I didn’t have a gym membership (EVERYBODY, the new radically inclusive gym in Northeast LA, wasn’t open yet) and I was in the middle of a big transition. Exercise is crucial to my mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well being. I didn’t know what to do in the absence of my previous exercise favs at the Bed Stuy YMCA so I decided to dabble in various modes of free or cheap fitness that LA had to offer.
I have since become an aerobics instructor at EVERYBODY and dabbling is still important. I learn from different fitness genres ways to strengthen my teaching and movement techniques to share with my students in class and readers (that’s you!) all over the world!
What it is:
You’ve probably heard of Spin before. From what I understand, Spin is being lead through a workout on a stationary bike, switching resistance and positions to get a full body workout. There are a lot of bells and whistles in Spin classes that make it more engaging/distracting from working out. This is really what group exercise is all about, learning how to make movement motivating, enjoyable and effective.
Like golf, people who love Spin REALLY LOVE IT. I have passed classes at other gyms before and heard the high energy music and yelling encouragement of an instructor but was not lured. I enjoy a recumbent bike and use that as my supplement to my go-to cardio on an elliptical. I have always been wary of stationary bikes. Years ago I heard a personal trainer giving advice to a fat woman on a TV show that recumbent bikes are better for supporting your knees. Multiple Spin instructors and friends tell me that Spin is actually not hard on your knees.
Since the bikes for Spin are always lined up against the wall in the MOVE room at EVERYBODY (so many caps in the branding) I kept thinking I
should could* give it a shot.
What it Was Like:
My first class was with McKay from EVERYBODY. McKay and I have a special bond and I genuinely think it was fate that had their class right before mine on Thursdays. I’ve so enjoyed hanging out with them and having McKay take my class so I trusted them to walk me through my first Spin class.
Like hiring a lawyer, what you need and want in a group fitness instructor is skill at the modality/area of practice and a genuine feeling of trust and (maybe if you’re lucky) enjoyment of that person. There’s no point in hiring a lawyer you don’t trust and no point in going to a group fitness instructor you don’t trust and enjoy. Because I already liked McKay and would totally spend an hour or more with them, I figured their class would be great.
I arrive and they met me at a bike, personally walked me through setting it up to my specifications. We are both “G” height (where the seat meets your hip) and by using my forearm to measure, we put the seat at a 4.
I’m a G4 not a G6.
They also gave me some tips for first timers. They teach class in sections, three positions and three intensities, and showed me how to change intensity on my bike. They told me the saddle would probably be difficult and uncomfortable the first few classes and I could get up and shake my booty to relieve the pain. They reminded me to go at my own pace and gave variations on positions to use when on the bike during certain exercises.
The experience of Spin class was interesting. It is solid cardio, got my heart rate going and I was covered in sweat by 10 minutes in. I generally wear a regular push up bra to exercise because I find them more comfortable but this was the first modality where I think a sports bra to keep them strapped down was essential. Something about pumping velocity on my legs was making the girls almost hit me in the face.
We did various push-ups on the handlebars while spinning and some stretches, some getting out of the saddle and climbing mountains. I really liked that the harder intervals were over very fast, something other students in the class echoed was especially gentle of McKay and different from other instructors.
I adored McKay’s playlist, from Lizzo to Le Tigre to Britney and Beyonce, some of the songs overlapped with songs I’ve used in my class. I loved McKay’s motivation and spirit, they are just such a joyful sweetheart that it made me want to keep going.
I wouldn’t say that I LOVED Spin or it was the best thing ever, but I enjoyed the experience because of McKay. I also kind of get why people like Soulcycle so much and I’m curious to try that modality out and see what makes it special and spiritual. People in the class asked if I was coming back the next day, and these are folks who go to Spin a lot. I know I’ll regularly attend McKay’s Tuesday class but I don’t see myself being a multiple Spin classes per week person.
Class was 37 minutes of deep cardio with 5 minutes of stretching. The stretching was my favorite part, we used the bikes to balance for deep stretching.
$14 a la carte and gets less expensive as you buy class packages or get an unlimited menbership at EVERYBODY.
Special Equipment You Need or Might Like to Have:
McKay gave me a saddle cover/butt pad to help ease the pain of the saddle. I have my eye on this butt pad if I get really into Spin because it looks very cushy and it’s purple. You just bring it with you and put it on your saddle.
The next day, my butt hurt a lot, not unlike how it feels after a long bout of sex following a dry spell. You know how good that feels for your butt to hurt and then to be reminded of something hot every time you change positions? It was like that except more like, “Oof, Spin.” McKay said that was the best compliment about their class they ever got.
In addition, I suggest bringing water and a towel, everyone else had a sweat towel and I was for sure missing that.
None! EVERYBODY trains staff members about body diversity and McKay talked about our “personal fitness goals” but never talked about losing weight or body size and that is 100% correct for being inclusive.
I really loved the individual attention at the beginning and the permission giving to take it at my own pace. I also like the honesty about what might be challenging, like the butt hurting and showing me how to shake my booty to release it.
McKay is also sweet and enthusiastic and teaches with their personality, which makes it feel more like a hang out and less like uncomfortable sweating.
Would I do it Again?
Yes, I will totally Spin again.
McKay is exclusive to EVERYBODY right now. You can take McKay’s class at 6PM Tuesdays, 6:30PM Wednesdays and Thursdays. McKay is always there a half hour early to get folks comfortable and is available for individual interval training on the EVERYBODY bikes outside of class. Follow McKay on Instagram! Or email them directly at McKay.Nield at gmail. Pronouns: They/them or he/his.
Taking a class in the same room I teach in was actually great because I could experience the ever-changing sound and light equipment from a student perspective. There’s definitely something UP with the wireless headset microphone because I had a hard time hearing more than every other word McKay was saying. I’m now deeply on a hunt to figure out how to improve my sound on a wireless headset and/or start bugging Sam the EVERYBODY owner to get us a better headset. I say a lot of really meaningful stuff during my classes (McKay does, too) and I want people to be able to hear every word!
*I always try to replace my shoulds with coulds, I find it more gentle and supportive for me as I work to eliminate negative self talk.