Jan 8, 2013

Korean Spin Class: Challenge Accepted

I don't whether to file this under "Yay, Korea!" or "K-fail." It is neither and both at the same time.

Preface: Since my return from paradise (read: Bali), I've been spending my evenings eating my way through the junk food my loved ones sent me for Christmas and hate-watching season one of Girls. All the while, I had that annoying, niggly little voice in my head reminding me of the not-cheap gym membership I'm paying for.

So last night, I bit the bullet and took a spinning class.  What happened next almost defies explanation.

I have done spinning. I actually like spinning. Incidentally, this, combined with my inclination to move to increasingly colder climes despite my undying hatred for being the least bit chilly, makes me think I have issues with self-punishment that I should probably seek professional treatment for.

But I digress.

Spinning in Korea is NOT like spinning in America. In Hamburger land, spinning is about going on a simulated bike ride through lots of steep hills and valleys, accompanied by some motivational music.

 In Korea, spinning is literally doing K-Pop dance moves on a bike.

The class started like normal-- some stretching, then biking at a moderate pace to the beat of the music.  I should have known something was amiss when I realized the resistance knob was disconnected--rendering it useless.

But then, all of a sudden, everyone around me started doing something that resembled push ups on the handle bars of their bikes. Confused and embarrassed that I was, once again, the dumb Waygook who didn't know what was happening, I tried to follow along. Almost fell off. YOU try doing push ups while riding a bike.

But it didn't stop there. Pretty soon, we had progressed into full on dance moves. We had head swings, arm movements, even body rolls. That's right. We were doing body rolls. On a bike. Pedaling at full speed.

And by "we," I mean the Koreans around me. I was just trying to make sure my head stayed on the same level as everyone else so the instructor wouldn't look at me. I'd already heard her say "Yongeo...chincha?! (English... seriously?!)" when she came around to check everybody's pedals before class and couldn't explain to me to keep my back straight.

This went on for the whole 45 minutes. I can't count the number of times I almost fell off. At one point, I almost tipped my whole bike over.

As a former ballet dancer and someone who has always considered herself blessed with a moderate amount of coordination, this was a huge blow to my ego. They were doing things on a bike that I didn't even think were possible. I walked out of there dripping in sweat, shaking on legs that had just had more exercise than in the last month combined.  A normal person would be insane to ever try that again.

Challenge accepted.


  1. Yes! I just did my first spin class last night at the 관악구 municipal gym in my neighborhood. (First spin class *ever*--not just in Korea.) The upper body workout was weird and difficult--I sort of faked it through the body rolls :-/ My friend who came to the class with me informed me that I was literally steaming--there was steam coming off of me, wafting upward in the disco lights--and this while some of the Koreans around had barely broken a sweat. Weird.

    Definitely challenge accepted, though. What's life without a good K-fail every now and then to remind you of your frail Waygook humanity?

  2. Where was the spin class I'm looking for one. I think there might be one near yeongdungpo, not sure.

  3. I should have known something was amiss when I realized the resistance knob was disconnected--rendering it useless. exercisebikeparadise.com

  4. Hello there just wanna know where about is the spinning class in Seoul? I just moved here for an exchange program in one of the Korean Univ and dying to try the spinning class here. Lol. Hope to hear from you!

  5. The trendy spin craze wheels into San Diego with SparkCycle's pulsating music and dance-party vibe Rhythm and Power.