Many obese women are reluctant to even set foot in a gym due to feelings of self-consciousness about their size.

Yet I have never in my life heard of a situation, let alone witnessed it, of an obese woman being ridiculed in a spin class by other participants or by anyone looking into the class from outside.

Obese women should try a spin class.

In a spin class, everyone is on an even playing field; this means a 250 pound woman can sit on a stationary bike and pedal as well as a 130 pound woman—in terms of the mechanics.

And that’s what it boils down to: sitting on the bike and making the pedals go ‘round and ‘round.

Sure, the obese woman will tire out much faster and won’t be able to keep up with the instructor’s directives, but will anyone actually notice this or even care if they do?

For example, when it’s time to stand up while pedaling, and you can’t do this, the only people who will notice are those behind you and to your side, and the instructor. And they don’t care.

In fact, you probably won’t be the only one not standing. What counts is that you’re THERE.


You may not be pedaling as fast, but nobody’s really going to notice this, and if anyone does?

They won’t care any more than YOU’D care if you noticed the man several bikes away propping his feet up on the bike to recharge, or the woman diagonally in front of you barely pedaling while she guzzles juice and then pats down her face with a towel.

So aside from pedaling slower or not using as much pedal tension as the instructor indicates for, the plus-size participant is essentially on an even playing field as everyone else.

EVERYONE is seated on a bike and pedaling.

The only issue an obese woman will have (and many thinner people also have this issue) is getting used to the hard little seats, but you can place a bike-seat cushion on them.

Spin classes are designed for high calorie burn and to take the participant out of their comfort zone.

I see so many plus-size women on regular stationary bikes in the gym’s cardio machine section, and in most cases, they are pedaling leisurely as though through a scenic park.

Absent is interval training or any intense bursts. Sometimes they are reading.

In a spin class, you won’t be able to read (it’s dimly lit, sometimes with flashing lights; there’s verbal instructions and distracting music). You won’t WANT to read.

And you’ll be motivated to leave your comfort zone of steady-paced pedaling that you probably don’t even break a sweat from, or at least, if you do sweat, you’re still not working out nearly as hard as you would if in a spin class.

Why is is that I never see obese women in spin classes?

A very heavy person can sit on a bike and pedal, and that’s the only requirement.

  • You do not need to keep up with the instructor.
  • You will not be graded!
  • There is no pass or fail, only participate!

You may enjoy the energized atmosphere. You will leave realizing that you’re capable of working out much harder than you thought.

Obesity is no excuse for avoiding a spin class.

This kind of activity will help you lose weight far more than will that steady-state, leisurely pedaling you’ve been doing in the cardio machine section for so long and getting no results.

And by the way, your fitness and weight loss plan should include strength training.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.