In the last two years I haven’t done a particularly good job keeping myself in shape. For over a year I helped increase the bottom line of McFit (by having a subscription but never actually going) and while I tried to ride my bike as much as I could, it still was not something to be really proud of.

The result was a gradual demise of my body, which did not manifest itself as much physically as mentally — I really hated not feeling fit. Don’t get me wrong, I never really had (and probably won’t ever have) any ambitions for a six-pack, but the idea that I can’t probably touch the ground when bending over and that doing 50 push-ups would probably send me to the ER did not exactly make me feel great.

Couple of weeks back a friend of mine, Erd, enrolled into a spinning studio here in Berlin called BECYCLE (shameless referral link), and since spinning is something quite close to my heart ❤️ (I used to spin a lot while I was still in Prague), I sensed an opportunity to return my body to it’s old glory 💪. Or something like that.

The first lesson

Two weeks ago, on a Thursday, I signed up for a #TBT class with Eliana, which was a regular, 45 minute ‘80s- and ’90s-themed ride with weights. When I got to BECYCLE I realized that spinning studios and equipment have gone a long way since I’ve seen them the last time. SPD shoes come as a standard and each bike has a little computer that displays actual and average power, revs, virtual speed and distance, and other useful KPIs. It can also connect to your phone via Bluetooth so that you can track everything through apps like Strava.

On top of that, the room itself is equipped with an advanced lighting setup, giving the instructor a full arsenal of different patterns and modes, from completely dark, to a mesmerizing mixture of colored LEDs.

From the start it was clear that going back to spinning is not going to be a walk in the park. All those kilometers on my bike seemed useless during those 45 minutes of intense anaerobic exercise. And even though all the gadgets and the soundtrack really tried hard to distract me, boy, the pain was real 😫. But not sure whether it was the endorphins or whether they put something in the water, at the end I was happy and ready for more.

The challenge

To really get you hooked BECYCLE offer a one-time only 6 week package, giving you unlimited access to all the classes you might want to attend within that timeframe. On top of that, if you manage to go there at least 22 times (3–4 classes/week), they give you back 50% of the price as credit. What more can I say, challenge accepted!

1/22: Tuesday, BE60 with AJ 😅

To kick the whole challenge off I went for a 60 minute ride with AJ on a Tuesday evening, together with Erd and Sandra. The pace and structure of the class really fit me, and even though I had a bit of a crisis at the end, I really enjoyed the ride. Also, the minimalistic soundtrack really helped get in the zone.

2/22: Thursday, BE45 with Bradyn 😫

The regular, 45 minute ride with weights segment, to a thunderous dubstep soundtrack. I could still feel my legs from Tuesday, so the overall high pace was quite a challenge. My legs are not really used to high revs so about halfway through the last song (during a 120rpm sprint) my left calf cramped up, forcing me to stop, stretch, and just coast for the rest of the class.

3/22: Saturday, BE45 with Joey 😴

I’m not a particularly morning person so going for the 10:30am class on Saturday is a challenge on it’s own. That said, the class was not that intense, especially since I opted for higher resistance/lower rpm approach to avoid cramping up again.

4/22: Sunday, Yoga Flow with Ricardia 💯

The first non-spin class, and also my first yoga class ever. To diversify my workouts I’ve decided to slot in a couple of yoga and HIIT classes, giving attention to other parts of my body as well.

I think this was a really good first yoga experience, as this class was slower and focused primarily on breathing and general posture. Despite that, I came back home quite tired, but also really relaxed and calm. It’s really nice to just let go, close your eyes, and focus on whatever is going on with your body at the moment.

So, week 1 is over. I’m planning to do at least 4 classes/week for the next 2 weeks to give myself a bit of buffer for the second half of the challenge. Depending on how I feel I might also change the ratio of spin vs. non-spin classes to 50:50.

What surprised me the most is how I reacted to this new regimen — I became way more conscious about the way I eat and drink, forcing myself to cut down on sweets and sodas, and trying to avoid casual drinking. I’ll definitely try to keep this up at least for the duration of the challenge, but maybe I’ll just get so used to it that I’ll stick to it even after.

In general, I’m really happy with my first week, and can’t wait to kick of week 2 on Tuesday, after a short rest on Monday. Stay tuned for more!

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