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Training for Baby: Spin, cycle, pain

Posted March 22, 2011 8:29 p.m. EDT

Not long after I joined O2 Fitness, I decided it would be a group idea to try out a group exercise class.

It was October. I was 20 pounds heavier than now and itching to burn off some of that post-wedding weight. I noticed that O2 offers stationary bike classes - kind of like spin, except you can actually sit down during the class. (I’ve heard some horror stories about spin classes that don’t even have bike seats. Ouch!)

I thought: How hard can it be to ride a bike? I can ride a bike! This class will be fun!

What ensued was one of the most frightening 60 minutes of my life.

First, bike seats are uncomfortable. I had no idea how much those seats really hurt your bum!

The music started. It was a Katy Perry song with lots of energy. The other women in the class started pedaling to catch up to the beat. Their legs were flying and I was struggling to keep up.

It was a small class that day, which made it worse because my inexperience was even more obvious to the instructor and everyone else.

Suddenly the instructor said, “Give me a big turn.”

I spent a few minutes wondering how she wanted me to turn my stationary bike, before realizing she wanted me to turn up the resistance on the bike.

Then she said, “OK, time to climb.”

Everyone started standing up on the bikes and pedaling.

I looked at the instructor and said, “Oh hell no!”

After a few minutes of observing the other bikers, I decided that I needed to throw caution to the wind and at least try it.

I went slow and didn’t fall off the bike. Winning!

Within the first 10 minutes of the class, I had this intense fear fall over me. It was similar to the feeling I had when I rode my first roller coaster. Halfway up the incline before the big drop, I realized that I didn’t really want to be there and had no way out.

This was my first cycling class at a new gym. I didn’t want to look weak and the instructor happened to be the person who signed me up for the gym. In a larger class, I could have at least snuck out, but I didn’t want to look obvious. I felt like I had to finish this race, even if I was dead last or just dead.

This was an hour-long class and we tackled “courses” that included many mountains (so I was standing up and pedaling quite a bit) and various resistances. I really wanted to raise my hand and ask who decided on this course. I would have been happy to just ride along a nice flat terrain with no climbs! I’m from New Orleans, we don’t have mountains!

At the end of the class, I climbed off my bike and struggled to walk to my car. I was a puddle of sweat who could barely sit down for hours.

I vowed to return to that class and defeat it. It took several months before I could fit it into my schedule again. Two weeks ago, I went back.

Nearly 20 pounds slimmer with much less body fat, I felt I was ready. Not only did I keep up, I didn’t experience that sense of fear.

’ve started going once a week to the class and I think it is an excellent way to shake up my cardio routine.

Have you tried cycling or spin? Are there any classes or activities you are afraid to try?

Kathy is a web producer, entertainment expert and concert photographer for She has written a manuscript about her life as an entertainment reporter and pop culture. Learn more about Kathy on her website. On Wednesdays here on Go Ask Mom, she's chronicling her efforts to lose weight before she and her husband start a family.