In the New York Post on Saturday, a front page story:
August 25, 2007 — Stuart Sugarman loved to cheer himself on and grunt in spin class — but now the hedge-fund manager is paying dearly for his vociferous workout.
He was allegedly beaten by a gymmate who snapped at the loud antics — and hurled Sugarman and his stationary bike into the wall of an Upper East Side gym.
The victim, 48, had a concussion and back injuries that required surgery. He grunted a lot, admittedly. He war-whooped. He hollered, “Great song!” and “You go, girl,” and he probably was the noisiest guy in the spin class.
A few things to say about this.
I’ve been going to Spinning Classes at various New York Sports Clubs for two years. It is a great way to lose weight. But it’s somewhat crazy. You strap yourself onto a stationary bike, crowded among 12-24 fellow spinners. An instructor with a mike turns off the lights and proceeds to lead the class–sometimes screaming insults at you, sometimes suggesting you check your form, styles vary radically–while you all listen to very loud music. This is not gentle pedaling. The instructors order you to increase tension on the bikes to simulate riding uphill, then make you stand in “position 2” or “position 3.” Sweat pours off everyone. There may or may not be fans or air conditioning. You MUST bring water to survive.
Why would someone sign up for this? Well, in my case it’s to lose weight and because I like intense aerobic workouts. And also, to be completely honest, because if I’m having a rough time I can “cheat” on the tension of the bike and no one cares. I also like loud music, a carryover from a misspent youth of rocking out to Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin.
But some of the people who spin take it REALLY seriously. Two women almost came to blows over a bike–one of them put a towel on the seat to hold it but hadn’t returned by the time class started, so another took the towel off. I would never have the guts to do that in New York City. And she did pay for it. What a catfight.
More often the people can be just irritating. Like the women who refuse to slow down and stretch at the end. (What, hamstring stretches are for wimps?) I’ve heard some grunters. And some whoops. Nothing too excruciating. But then I took these classes on the west side, not the east side. A world of difference, according to one of the instructors. East side classes are more stressed-out.
As Stuart Sugerman discovered.