Spinning takes on many meanings. When you get to my age, sometimes the whole room starts spinning. That is the bad kind—the vertigo kind. The kind of spinning you need to take Antivert for, and then you are knocked out for hours, and not in a good way. Vertigo spinning is best helped by sitting up in bed and looking straight ahead, because if you turn your head ever so slightly, the room starts to spin again and you might throw up. That is never good.
When we were little, we would throw our hands straight out to the sides and spin around and around. Not a care in the world, we just wanted to see how fast we could make the room spin (though, even that plan backfired when my friend got so dizzy that she fell on her face and needed root canal and new front teeth, but at that age, that was really, really funny!) How did I ever think that was fun?? I get dizzy even thinking about those carefree times. All that spinning is bad, but there is a good spinning.
Good spinning is in a big, well air-conditioned room filled with stationary bikes that have the potential to go really, really fast, or make you feel like you are climbing the steepest of hills. One spin instructor likes to show videos of Mt. Everest, so we can feel like that is the actual mountain we are climbing. (I have fallen backward off of that mountain several times, but no one knows—another beauty of spinning!) The room is dark. The music is loud, and I also sit on the bike in the back corner so that no one has to be subjected to seeing me from behind. If you can’t fit into lululemon exercise clothes, your back has to be to the wall. (That is my own rule; I don’t think my gym actually has that rule and if they did, there would probably be some sort of discrimination going on and then I would be asked to leave the gym. It just wouldn’t be pretty.)
I love spinning. I love the music, the way it makes my heart feel, the fact that whatever else is going on in my life it doesn’t matter because I am riding a bike to totally awesome ’80s music and no one can yell at me. Or ask me to do their laundry because they are out of the “good” socks. Or tell me that we are out of milk. I love spinning because it makes me sweat like a real athlete (or a real, chubby athlete—not that there is anything wrong with that.) If there are other spinners in the room I don’t like, it doesn’t matter because I cannot see them. It’s a win-win every single time.
I am being a good role model to my boys because they see how happy I am to exercise, but then I come home and they see how happy I am eating because, after all, I just spun off ten zillion calories, so how bad could a pint of ice cream really be? (Bad, I know, very bad.) But no matter what I eat when I come home, when I am spinning I am happy. And If I am happy, my boys will be happy. Unless, of course, they hide my ice cream, and then nobody is happy.
By Banji Latkin Ganchrow