Guest Blogger: Micah Elggren

Micah is a single guy working and attending school in Washington, D.C.  Micah enjoys checking things off lists and starting basically any sentence with “Now that Barack Obama is president…” (e.g. “Now that Barack Obama is president, what should we have for dinner?”).  Experience more of Micah here.

Last Tuesday was a first in spin class.  Normally when I arrive before class there’s already a small crowd of undergraduate girls gathering—not for me, for the class.  After a few high fives, I grab a bike and our cycling session begins.  Well, today I showed up to an empty room.  I snagged a bike and pedaled alone for a bit, wondering if class had been canceled.  Eventually the instructor showed up.  And then this one dude who comes randomly (maybe once or twice a month).  That was it.

My Tuesday spin class has been taught by a guy since August—it’s the first time I’ve ever had a male spin instructor.  Other days of the week, the class is me and a bunch of females (including the instructor), except for said dude who shows up every now and then.  Group fitness just isn’t a “guy thing” at my gym.  Fine by me.

But today it was the three of us: dude, dude, dude.  There were some marked differences in the class that I can only associate with the relative amount of testosterone in the room:

1.    No shirts.

Perhaps most notably, class opened with the instructor stating, “There’s no chicks around, let’s ride with our shirts off.”  I don’t exactly know why/how it happened.  But moments later, there I was.  On my bike.  Without a shirt.

For some reason I think I’d be much more enthused about taking my shirt off with girls around rather than taking it off in a class of just guys.  But, hey.  I’d imagine the act of bearing our chests somehow allowed us to jockey for the “most manly in class” prize.  Unfortunately, my scrawny torso still exposes my ribcage with certain movements, such as breathing.

2.    No yelling from the crowd.

Hardly any feedback came from the class (me and other dude).  When the instructor asked, “How you feeling?” there was no “WAHOOOOOOO!” or “OH YEAH!” squealed from his audience.  I would shrug my shoulders and say, “I’m pretty good.”  Or give a thumbs up.

Aside from that, we basically rode in silence.  The instructor didn’t really even give guidance.  We just watched and followed.  This reminded me of the weekend my roommates and I decided we’d see how well we could get by with grunting and pointing rather than using words.  You’d be surprised how effective this is for guys.  Or maybe you wouldn’t.

3.  Competition.

When the instructor increased the resistance on his bike, other dude and I would immediately reach down and turn the resistance up on our own bikes, glancing at each other out of the corner of our eyes to see whether the other had stopped turning.

Truth be told, I’ve gotten pretty good at the “fake turn-up” and so other dude probably benefited more from the added element of competition.  But I lasted longer and sweated less, so there.

4.  No cool-down.  No stretching.

Maybe guys don’t need to do that or something.  Maybe we don’t need it for the same reason we don’t need couches and scented candles in public restrooms. I don’t know. I just know that real men don’t stretch.

5.  Butt slaps.

I’m guessing it would be inappropriate for our male instructor to go around after class slapping the butts of female students to congratulate them on a job well done.  Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen.  But apparently the guy-on-guy butt slap is a-o-kay.  I’ve noticed they do it in football and other “manly” sports quite regularly.

I think the last time I got a slap on the butt from another guy was when I played tee-ball in the fourth grade.  It was weird then too.

So there you have it.  Man spin class and all that comes with it: more skin, no talking, and physical contact.  Truth be told, I felt a bit objectified. I want the girls back.