Sports: Spin yourself fit
May 28, 2008
RAF MILDENHALL — Staff Sgt. Travis Register is an avid mountain biker.
But since he’s been stationed in England where the terrain — and oftentimes the weather — is less than ideal for his favorite sport, spinning class has become an apt substitute.
"There aren’t any mountains, and the weather is so bad sometimes that I come in here to stay in shape," Register, with the 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron, said during a recent spinning class at the Northside gym. "The classes are pretty intense."
For Sandra Fletcher, the appeal of spinning is the motivation it provides.
"It’s better than when you go out on your own because you work harder in spin class," said Fletcher, a civilian employee at Mildenhall. "It pushes me further than I would ever push myself."
And that’s the beauty of spinning class, said Andrew Tettigrew, an instructor at Mildenhall.
Classes can accommodate everyone from beginners, such as Fletcher, to advanced cyclists, like Register.
"Its an interval class so basically I am trying to bring the heart rate up and then back down," he said. It provides beginners a bit of recovery time while expert riders can keep cruising, if not intensify the workout, he said.
Because individual riders control the resistance of their bikes, "you can really push yourself further or reduce the resistance when you’ve had enough," Tettigrew said. "It’s not like other aerobics classes where you have to keep up with the instructor."
A trademark of California-based SPIN Fitness, Inc., "spinning" classes can only be taught by certified "spin" instructors like Tettigrew. (Otherwise they’re just indoor cycling classes, for the record, he said.)
Although the classes themselves can be grueling, another difficult aspect is getting in sync with the music.
"If you can’t get into the rhythm of music you’re really going to struggle," he said.
In fact, connecting with the music is key to getting the full benefits indoor cycling can offer.
"It can take between six and eight weeks to get into it," he said. "But when you do everything comes together. … The music helps control your breathing. …You concentrate on the beat and push through it. The people who come to my class really like that about it. It’s very music driven."
Spinning and indoor cycling classes are offered at RAFs Mildenhall and Lakenheath throughout the week.