Friday, December 4, 2015

Spin w/ Gunnar - 4th December (Jon)

On the fourth day of Christmas, Form Huset gave to me.... a spinning class with Gunnar Söderström...

5ºC, pouring rain blowing in the wind and dark. These are not the conditions that motivate most people to go the gym at 6:30 AM. In fact, most people would probably have looked out the window this morning and thought to themselves: "Not today". But not the followers of Gunnar Söderström, undoubtedly Form's most popular spinning instructor. Gunnar is a sort of legend in Knivsta and his classes are always full (regardless of the weather) and today was no exception. (OK, there was one free stationary bike in the room, but who's counting?)

Personally, I'd never been to one of Gunnar's classes, so today was a first for me. The room was completely packed with a equal mix of men and women around my age. It was pretty clear from the start that these people were regulars. Everyone was there well in advance, prepping their bikes and warming up for the class.

Gunnar started the class by telling everyone that they would get out what they put in, and that the main goals of the class were to: 1) maintain a good form (relaxed shoulders, good posture) and 2) pedal with the beat of the music. This latter point is an integral part of these spinning classes. While many instructors stick to high-paced dance or pop music, Gunnar opts for more non-traditional tracks like Dire Straits "Sultans of Swing", Roger Miller's "King of the Road" and Otis Reading's "Stand by Me" (along with lots of other Swedish songs which I cannot place). These beats mean that there is more emphasis on high gearing (slow cadence, high load) than some other spinning classes, but there is actually also a good mix of high and slow cadence as well as lots of different positions on the bike--including the traditional spinning postures 1 through 3 but even a lot of "standing tall" which not only thoroughly tests your legs but also your balance.

The class is really fun because of the number of regulars who attend. It feels almost choreographed in fact, as transitions are marked by a combination of whistling, hand gestures and a motivating chant of "japp, japp, japp!". There is a ton of energy in the room, and it's a contagious feeling that radiates not only from the instructor but also from the participants. In fact, at the end of today's class, just as the final song ended, I got an unsolicited clap on the shoulder from the gentleman to my left, congratulating me on a job well done. What a great way to start and otherwise cold and dreary day!

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