Upon telling my roommate I was going to take an aqua spinning class, she commented, “How bougie!” The idea of sweating on a stationary bike for 45 minutes seems ridiculous enough, but to submerge the bike under water? Even Gwyneth Paltrow might laugh. Still, the idea appealed to me. I take spinning class three times a week at my local Y, in the basement that also doubles as a kindergarten classroom and is next to a weight room full of veiny Polish body builders. The pictures for the newly opened Aqua Studio in Tribeca featured sleek amenities, shiny new bikes, and water shoes (for rental). It put my poor Y to shame.
The entire process, which lasted roughly an hour, was a completely new experience for me. What follows is a minute-by-minute dispatch for those curious about this so-called “bougie” fitness trend.
6: 40: Arrive early for my 7 am class. Rent a pair of water shoes that are a cross between jelly sandals from the ‘90’s and those creepy Comme des Garçons toe shoes.
6:45: Fill out information form and list my mother as my emergency contact. I’ve heard stories of people getting their foot chopped off by the bike’s wheels. This is serious business.
6:50: Go downstairs to locker room which is spa-like in its perfection. Put on my most athletic-looking bathing suit, which is plain black but still features three bows. Try to disguise them as knots.
7:00: Head to the pool, where I find out I am the only person in the class. Apparently the 8 am class is more popular. Steel myself for the deluge of attention by sucking in my stomach.
7:05: Meet my instructor, who is enthusiastic and a likely candidate for the cover of Self magazine. First song: “Bad Girls” by M.I.A. Get on the bike. Feel like I’m in a trailer for a screwball comedy.
7:10: In addition to biking, we do arm exercises that mimic swimming. Do a lot of unwarranted splashing and instructor politely ignores each time I get her in the face.
7:20: One-on-one attention not so bad after all. Get a lot of compliments that way and feel like I’m in preschool again.
7:25: Start doing aquatic sit ups to “Candy” by Mandy Moore and seriously listen to the lyrics for the first time in years: “Body’s in withdrawal / Every time you take it away / Can’t you hear me calling / Begging you to come out to play.” Wow, this song is about tweakin’.
7:28: Definitely less sweaty and strenuous than normal spinning class. Almost feels more like water therapy. Should consider playing some Enya.
7:30: Most embarrassing part of the class. Told to let go of handlebars and place my body behind the seat, while still pedaling. To stay afloat, I have to do heavy swim strokes with my arms. Fail completely and instructor has to catch me to prevent me from drowning.
7:35: Sprints seem more fun when doing it under water. You move in slow motion, like you’re on the jello level of Mario World 2.
7:40: To work my core, the instructor keeps telling me to picture my belly button pushing through to my spine. This is some surreal Dalí shit.
7:45: Cool down stretches. Ask the instructor about weekend classes, which I heard were packed. She said not so much lately, since all the students are in the Hamptons.
Go back to the locker room to shower in the luxury stalls. Can’t differentiate
between the complimentary products and may have accidentally used mouthwash as body wash.
7:55: Dry my hair at the modern boudoir, a word I never use except to describe rooms grand enough for Marie Antoinette.
8:00: Bid farewell to my squishy water shoes. They served me well.