This is the first post in my series of ‘First Time Fitness’ blogs. Every month I am going to try something new to shake up my fitness routine. If you have been following me on Instagram for a while you will have seen me posting my RPM experiences. This blog takes a deeper look at those experiences and the impact they have had on my aerobic fitness.
What is RPM?
You maybe familiar with the term Spin class but not necessarily RPM. RPM is one of the classes from the Les Mills collection. From what I understand (I have only done RPM classes) they are essentially the same thing – a cycling based aerobic workout that lasts between 30 minutes and an hour. They both include hill climbs, sprints and intervals and the class is performed to a backdrop of music. The key difference, as I understand it, is that the Les Mills classes have the same music and structure. So it doesn’t matter whether you are doing RPM in Oxford or Leeds, it will be the same class.
So what about my experiences? Well below is a short summary of each of the classes I attended and my verdict on Les Mills RPM.
As I arrived at my first ever Les Mills RPM class, my feelings could be best described as nervous excitement. I considered myself to have a decent base level of fitness, however I had no idea what lay ahead of me except a lot of peddling!
Within minutes of the class starting the nervousness disappeared and a smile spread across my face. The instructor Richard welcomed everyone to RPM and then over the next 45 minutes took us through a mixture of intervals, hill climbs and sprints.
The class was an intense workout but it flew by. As I walked out I was drenched in sweat (see picture below) but endorphins were flowing around my body.
After the euphoria of my first Les Mills RPM class, the second one bought me back down to earth. Reflecting on why I found the second class so much tougher I think it was a combination of two things; not eating enough food prior to the class and being too ambitious with the levels I selected for the hill climbs. I was left drained and found it very difficult to stretch afterwards as my legs were like spaghetti. The picture I posted on Instagram shows just how knackered I was.
Although the class was much tougher I still really enjoyed it and the main reason for that was the great atmosphere. The high-energy music and enthusiastic instructor played a part but it was my fellow RPMers that were the key. As I fought to tackle the third climb of an imaginary hill I got a huge boost from seeing a sea of determined, sweat covered faces all fighting to get to the top of that hill with me. It motivated me to kick on, dig deep and finish strongly.
Week three was when Les Mills RPM officially became FUN! Having completed two classes and not found it too difficult to walk over the ensuing days I arrived at my third class ready and raring to go. I started off at a higher base level than the previous two weeks and managed to keep in time with the music much better. I even found myself shouting ‘YES’ when the instructor Richard asked if we could push harder.
As with previous classes I ended the session drenched in sweat but unlike the preceding week I walked out of the class with a big smile on my face.
My fourth Les Mills RPM session was easily the most enjoyable. It also contained a surprise or two. The first was that the class was to be an hour long rather than 45 minutes. The news was delivered whilst I was sat on the bike warming up and with my feet already strapped in there was no escape. I was going to have to go for 60 minutes and I did just that!
Secondly I discovered that I had now the stamina to keep going for an hour! The extra sets and tracks made the session feel fresh rather than challenging. Although it was longer than expected I found the energy and enthusiasm to smash through and finish it with a flourish. Having completed the final set I looked down at the bike computer and couldn’t believe I had come so close to breaking the 1,000 calorie barrier.
The every_third_day verdict
Whilst I am still a very long way from getting to the level where I can ride 100 miles in under 6 hours (my fitness goal for 2016), Les Mills RPM has definitely improved my aerobic fitness level. The classes have also played a part in me trimming my weight and body fat down.
The classes are great fun and this is due in no small part to the enthusiastic instructor and your fellow RPMers. The ability to change the resistance on the bike to suit you means that first timers will get as much out of it as regulars.
For anyone looking to improve their aerobic fitness, burn body fat or just mix up their training this class is definitely worth trying.
First Time Fitness ratings:
- Fun – 4/5
- Cardio fitness – 5/5
- Difficulty – This all depends on the individual, you can make it as hard or as easy as you like.
- Water bottle – this is essential, you will need to take on water during the class
- Padded shorts – the bike seats are not designed for comfort, so if you don’t want a sore backside the following day I would recommend getting some*
Thank you for reading my blog on Les Mills RPM, I hope you enjoyed it.
*Padded shorts are not essential for your first couple of classes but if you want to make Les Mills RPM a regular part of your training then they are a very good investment.