A lot of times in fitness, we create words. These words generally mean something else. Take the word “calorie” for instance. A while back, maybe a year ago, I was talking to this teeny bopper aerobics instructor who felt compelled to tell me about a boot camp she ran, along with a stretch class and a spin class she taught. She was trying to explain to me that a hamburger I was going to eat would kill me. She started talking about total calories in and total calories out, and just how many calories that hamburger had. She told me just how many aerobics classes I would have to take just to burn off that one hamburger. She must not have noticed I’m a very lean person. She was too busy waxing poetic about what she knew of fitness. So when she paused for a moment to take a breath, I stepped in as only I could, and threw a Vinnie-ism at her. I asked, “What is a calorie?” With a confused look on her face she said “Uhhhhh.” I think a lot of people who talk calories don’t understand what it means. Here’s a simple definition…it’s a measurement of heat. It’s the amount of energy it takes to raise a drop of water one degree. I never cared to mention this to her. Even giving her that answer, she still wouldn’t understand what it means. We use that measurement in discussion of food and exercise. It’s become part of the fitness lexicon. Another one of my favorites is “aerobic.” A doctor named Kenneth Cooper. He took the Greek word aerobic, which basically means with oxygen. He coined the phrase “aerobic exercise.” It means any exercise that goes past our anaerobic ability and causes our Krebs cycle to use oxygen as a fuel. Again, most people don’t know exactly what it means. Yet it is part of our fitness lexicon. I told you that to tell you this. So-called fitness experts are always looking to coin a new phrase. It’s difficult to do. It generally happens by accident, in my opinion. Such as with the phrase I’m about to tell you about. There was once an ultracyclist back in the late 80s named Johnny Goldberg. I’ve heard a few stories about the next few sentences I’m about to tell you. Johnny would generally run out of daylight while training. I’ve also heard his wife was pregnant and he wanted to be home with her, but still needed to train. So he built a bicycle of sorts in his kitchen. It had a direct drive wheel. He called it a spinner. The makeshift spinner worked so well, he hooked up with Schwinn. The company built the Johnny G. Spinner. Take the next part with a grain of salt. I only have one side of it. I dated a girl years ago in L.A. who was one of the original queens of aerobic dance classes. It was literally this woman and Jane Fonda who started the craze. Her name is Karen Voight. According to Karen, she brought Johnny into her studio to teach the very first spin classes in this country. The rest is history. Classes have been going on all over the world for the better part of 20 years. You know what? Spinning is a good idea. For one, you can work harder and not worry about pounding your knees, ankles and hips so hard just to get your heart rate up. I don’t think it’s going away any time soon. I think as a society we have a better chance of seeing a Kardashian fuck a white guy who doesn’t wear a jersey to work than seeing spinning go away any time soon. I’ve been to a few spinning classes. I’ve considered teaching one. But with my schedule, time doesn’t permit. I purchased my own spinner back in 1999. I use it religiously. I’ve been on it from an hour a day to as long as eight hours a day. The thing is covered in rust. But it works like new. The pads have been replaced more times than I can count. I still have the original heavy duty chain that came with it. I have it in the corner of a room. My friends call it the corner of pain. When I’m training hard for competitions, I may ride outdoors all day long, come in and continue riding at night on my trusted spinner. The price can be a deterrent for some. A good one runs from$800 to $2,000. Take it from me, you’ll have it forever. If you’re in the market and can’t spend that much, I’ve picked them up at gyms closing down for as little as $200 and brand new. Best bet would be to find one on eBay. It can be just as good as a brand new one. As for brands, I would stick to Schwinn, Johnny G (no longer associated with Schwinn) and CycleOps. You may notice the CycleOps are a little more expensive but the seat and handle bar adjustments are infinite. They also tend to be quieter.
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