Exercising can be fun when you find the right environment and type of activity. This month, OHLALA’s editor headed to Dessange Paris Bahrain, for a thrilling spin class.
Who doesn’t like to exercise in a fun environment? Dessange’s Health Club offers precisely that – from lively classes to electrifying spin lessons. And, not only do the classes put you in the right vibe, the gym area has big windows that let the natural light enter, perfect for a morning walk on the treadmill or having a go with the weights. The fact that a trainer is always present to help with the equipment is a big plus for me.
My visit to Dessange this time was to join the popular spin class. I first heard about Dessange’s spin classes when I arrived here more than 10 years ago. One of my work colleagues from that time was addicted to them and would go at least three times a week with a bunch of other ladies. And that popularity is still evident even after so many years. As soon as I entered the bike room, one of my workout buddies for the day said that this was her favourite class. And Dessange offers more than 15 of them! I felt that fun and sweat were in my near future.
Maja, the Health Club Manager, welcomed me and set up the bike according to my height. As she said, we are all different, so the bikes need to be fully adjustable for best performance. I confess, I didn’t know that; I guess it proves that it was going to be my first spin class. The seat has to be at your hip height, and the bicycle handlebars’ distance from the saddle is the length of your forearm. The bikes are brand new from the well-known Stages Cycling; they are compact and modern.
Spinning is full of benefits. It strengthens your heart by pumping more blood with each heartbeat which increases your cardiovascular fitness levels. It is kind to your joints and gentle on your knees due to its low impact; it puts less pressure on your knees and feet than other traditional cardio alternatives. It promotes lean muscle definition for your legs and core, relieves stress and produces happy hormones. As we all know, exercise releases endorphins which interact with receptors in your brain and trigger positive feelings in your body. You also become part of a team, working with others not only subconsciously makes you work harder but it creates a sense of camaraderie. And according to some studies, spinning is one of the highest caloric burns of any workout you can do. I guess I didn’t need any other excuse to jump on the bike and get started!
As I arrived slightly early, Maja suggested a walk on the treadmill to warm up. I headed to the gym across from the round spinning room. I am no exercise expert, but I could see a wide variety of brand-new machines for all sorts of workouts with a vibrant atmosphere. I found a few ladies using the various equipment available.
I stepped on the available treadmill and set up for a 10-minute walk. The music was just at the right level (I dread those dark gyms with loud music blasting), and the view of life happening outside put me in the right mood. A little bird was cleaning its feathers and captured my attention for a big part of my walk, and time flew by.
I returned to the spin room and noticed that many ladies had joined the class. They have 17 bikes and, that day, we were 12 – pretty cool. Maja had told me that I could do the entire 45 minutes at my own pace. She also taught me how to adjust the resistance as she would ask us to change it in the course of the class. And added to find what would work for me; as it was my first time, I shouldn’t overdo it.
The music was on; it was time to start! You might think that pedalling a bike is all about leg work. However, this is not true when you participate in a spin class. There is plenty of arms and core activity. It never crossed my mind when I saw it in movies and on TV shows (the latest one being Wellmania) how much coordination and balance you must have to perform this kind of exercise. I can say that all the push-ups on the handlebars and frequent hand changing in the different parts got me. Spinning the pedals was not so much of a problem. I enjoy running, I have been on the road lately, so my legs were fine, but my core and arms are not strong, and the upper body movements were a bit tricky. But I was having so much fun! For each song played, you have a set of actions to follow, and the vibrancy of the class makes you feel that you can do it!
After the class ended, I spoke to Maja about my coordination problem and she said that you get used to it with time. It is just a matter of finding your rhythm with the bike. Well, maybe after a few tries, I can find a way of teaching my brain to coordinate the bottom and upper parts.
And guess what? While talking to Maja, another spinning buddy came to us and said that this was her favourite class so far. She apparently joined the health club recently and has been trying the options available (pure strength, fit dance, booty blast, abs blast, Pilates, bootcamp and so on). I honestly can’t disagree with her. I still have many of them to try, but I now understand why spin class at Dessange has been so popular for so long.
If you are looking to improve your health this summer, Dessange offers spin classes at the following times: Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6pm, Mondays at 4pm and a morning slot on Thursdays at 9am.