CASA GRANDE -- I did my best to keep pace. I wasn’t going anywhere, but I felt myself falling behind.
Krissa Myers offered me words of encouragement. She’s a cycling spin-class instructor who is all about accentuating the positive.
“You just do your best and forget the rest,” she said.
It helped that I had a knockout view. From where I pedaled, I could see down Peart Road all the way to Casa Grande Mountain, thanks to a wall-to-wall window. A few minutes after I took note of it, Myers brought the mountain to everybody’s attention.
“You guys see CG Mountain … right here, in front of you?” she said. “We’re going to climb that hill right now. You can do this!”
Uh oh. I wasn’t counting on that. Now the spinning got serious. We had to ratchet up the resistance and pedal from a stance. And climb that mountain. And climb some more.
I couldn’t wait to go downhill.
I learned the hard way. No coasting in this class. Everything was up. Up the hill. Upbeat music. And an upbeat spin instructor. In short, spin cycling isn’t for the downcast. Or those looking for an hour of quiet reflection.
That’s what libraries are for.
The Casa Grande Community Recreation Center on North Peart Road is for the body, though it’s not just a matter of brawn over brain. The center’s focus is fitness. And that’s achieved with all manner of classes. From spin cycling to chair yoga.
The center opened last May. I decided to check out the fitness offerings; I was sure they had something for my demographic. Old. I called up the rec center class schedule online. Senior Fit seemed like a good fit. But all I could see was 6:45 a.m. Thursday.
I asked myself: What retired senior gets up that early?
Nikolina Sabo filled me in. She’s the center’s recreation coordinator. I spoke to her in her office. She pointed out Senior Fit is also offered at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It’s very popular. The 6:45 morning classes were added for the early birds.
OK, I didn’t catch that right away. That the center offered midmorning Senior Fit. No surprise there. I’m a senior. I miss a lot of things.
I had a lot to choose from, in any case. The center has more than a dozen different adult fitness classes, Monday through Saturday. All with certified instructors, Sabo said. They have to be certified in the class they lead.
A Zumba teacher might not be certified for Zumba toning. The center has certified instructors for each. Zumba is a rigorous dance workout. Zumba toning is dance with light weights known as Zumba sticks. But Zumba’s not my thing. Chair yoga? It’s great for seniors slowed by time. But I’m not much for yoga, chair or mat.
I gave some thought to something along the lines of weight training. Myers leads one called Group Power. The center describes it as a session that “will blast your muscles with a high-rep weight training workout.”
I consulted all my muscles. They weren’t onboard. Besides, my orthopedic surgeon told me not to lift anything heavy. This was right after his aide removed the cast on my wrist.
It’s good advice. I tell my wife I can’t take out the garbage. Doctor’s orders.
“It’s not that heavy,” she says.
“I’ll consult my muscles.”
Actually, that conversation never took place. Not even a doctor’s orders gets me out of garbage duty.
At the rec center, though, I decided to lead with my feet. Sabo reserved a bike for me with Myers’ 10:30 Friday class. Spin cycling requires a reservation a day in advance. Stationary bikes are limited. Fourteen are available and you can’t bring your own.
Early-morning and late-afternoon classes fill up. I joined about a half-dozen others for the midmorning class.
Nellie Huizar was on my left. She’s a regular. I asked what it was like.
“It’s really hard,” she said.
All the same, she loves the class and gives Myers the credit. “She’s good. She’s always telling us to do our own personal best.”
Well, that did put me at a disadvantage. But I soldiered on.
Sometimes we climbed the mountain. Sometimes we pedaled fast. It was all done to loud, fast-paced thumping music. You won’t hear “Moon River” in this class.
Above the music was Myers, leading us through our paces. Cheering us on.
“We’ve been blessed with this day,” she said. “And we’re going to make the most of this day. Why? We’ve got one day before it’s over!”
Then: “We’re going to go for it! Is this easy? No, it’s not. Is it worth it to your body? Yes it is!”
Here’s the secret to successful spinning. You have to stay with it. Otherwise, they’ll send you down to Senior Fit.
A one-day $5 pass gets you into any class, if there’s room. Seniors pay $4. For more information, go online at www.casagrandeaz.gov/recreation or call 520-421-8677.
Reach contributing writer Bill Coates at firstname.lastname@example.org.