Up a gear: How spin at David Lloyd rekindled my love for exercise

Emily Calder writes for Celebrate:MK about how a spin class at MK’s David Lloyd Club helped to re-engage her in cross-training and exercise classes.

Although keeping fit is something I try to prioritise, spending hours on cross-trainer is not my cup of tea. I get bored far too quickly when having to motivate myself, and often leave the gym tired and wondering why the ‘post-exercise high’ that others rave about has chosen to shower everyone but me with mystical endorphins.

It was because of this that a friend suggested I try exercise classes. I have tried a few classes at my university gym before, but never found anything that quite worked for me – confusing circuit routines, or Zumba classes that failed to get my heart racing just felt like a waste of my time and money.

However, after a David Lloyd ‘Group Cycling’ session with Jane Shackell, I can safely say that I finally understand the benefits of exercise classes.

As soon as I entered the spin room, my mood was lifted. The beauty of a class is that it makes you resist your attempts to snooze alarms that morning; you have booked in advance, and you’re up and ready to honour your commitment. This is a good feeling in itself; you feel a sense of achievement as soon as you enter the gym, and the room is abuzz with people who have done exactly the same thing.

The impressive quality of the studio, including its fluorescent lights and bikes, was enough to cause some excitement – imagine going to a party, except it’s 9am, you aren’t wearing any makeup, and you’re fiddling around with a spin bike in anticipation for the next 40 minutes of your day. The instructor Jane was beaming and ready to go – very much the metaphorical ‘disco ball’ of the party – and made sure that my bike was adjusted properly before getting us all moving.

The bikes themselves were more sophisticated than spin bikes I have encountered in gyms before – there are settings to show all your statistics so that you can ensure that you are at the right RPM the whole time. Being able to see these statistics was both reassuring in that I knew I was following the class exactly as I should have been, and rewarding to see how hard I had worked!

The next 40 minutes of the class completely restructured my approach to cardio. Having spent the majority of my ‘fitness journey’ trudging along by myself in the gym, this was a hugely refreshing change that really got me out of my own head. You don’t have time to think about how many minutes you have left, all you have to do is enjoy the music, keep to the beat and move your legs as you are told to.

The experience was dark, sweaty, and gruelling, but Jane made the hard work feel empowering rather than punishing. The group environment not only kept me from the temptation to slow down, but made me feel included – everyone there was at different levels of fitness, but something about us all dedicating 40 minutes of our day to moving our bodies and working towards a goal felt inspiring. After working harder than I ever have before on an exercise bike, and not feeling bored for a second, I truly felt set up for the rest of my day and was beaming with endorphins.

Feeling someone else push you to your limits is something that I have never been able to get from exercise until now. Spinning at David Lloyd has shown me that exercise should not necessarily be hours of mindless cardio to make you feel better about all the cake you ate over the weekend. Exercise is about putting aside time to better yourself, both in the 40 minutes you spend in the spin room, and throughout your day.

You will definitely find me turning up the resistance at David Lloyd again!

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