(flywheelsports.com. Studios across the country.)
A while back I went to a generic spin class at my gym. Here’s the rundown of that class:
-Go to gym.
-Get on bike. Slide shoes into little cages at the top of pedals.
-Wonder if bike seat is supposed to hurt so bad. Begin to pedal.
-Stare at instructor’s unavoidable cleavage as she leans over the handles.
-Turn little knob to increase resistance. Did I turn it enough? Maybe. Who knows.
-Seriously, this instructor needs a more effective bra.
-Pretty sure my butt is horribly bruised now. Sexy fail.
Basically, spin class at my gym was boring and painful. Not painful in that “feel the burn” way either— just flat out painful. My butt was, in fact, horribly bruised, and remained that way for a week.
So when a Flywheel opened up in Atlanta, I wasn’t especially interested at first— I figured that spin class just wasn’t my thing. But…they offer the first class free. And the website made it sound interesting— the room has stadium-style bikes, and they turn off all the lights, and they play loud music…
Who am I to turn down a rave masquerading as a fitness class?
So I went. They give you fancy bike shoes there— the sort that clip onto the bike itself. They’ve also got towels, and a place to refill your water— though if you forgot to bring a water bottle they’ll charge you $1. You’re assigned a specific bike (you can select which one you want when you register for your class), and there are assistants on hand to help you adjust the height/seat/handlebars/misc. PLUS…they have padded seat cushions in a basket up front.
My butt is very grateful for the padded seat cushions.
Class starts and they turn the lights down super low, save for a single spotlight on the instructor up front. In my case, the instructor up front was pregnant, and unafraid to yell “YOU AREN’T GOING TO LET A PREGNANT WOMAN GO FASTER THAN YOU, ARE YOU?”
(The answer was “Yes, I am” because that pregnant woman was RIPPED.)
The instructor calls out various speeds and torques (resistance) and cranks up the music. The bikes have digital displays, so you know if you’re actually at the right torque/speed, which I loved. Every so often they’ll have a race, where the instructor turns on a display that shows where everyone in the class is in terms of speed/power. The display uses your Flywheel username/nickname, not your bike number, so no one knows who you really are. Maybe it’s just me, but I workout a thousand times harder when there’s a level of competition involved. I’ve never pedaled as fast as I did when I saw I was in last place.
Toward the end of class you pull out some weighted bars that are attached to the bike and do some light arm exercises with them. It’s pretty basic— nothing fancy— but it’s both a nice break for your leg muscles.
Classes last 45 minutes, and my heart rate monitor reports I burn an average of 500-600 calories per class. After class, you can log onto the Flywheel website and see how fast you went, how many miles you rode, etc. That’s assuming you have the energy to get on a computer, of course. After Flywheel I usually only have the energy to flop into my car and think of creative pregnancy-themed insults.
What’s good about Flywheel?
-I love that bikes are assigned. You can choose one far away from the instructor/speakers. You can choose one close to the instructor and her steely pregnant gaze.
-I really, really love the digital displays on the bikes. I felt like I was in some sort of weird steampunk fitness movie at the other gym, turning knobs to increase resistance.
-The music is fun (and choreographed to each workout).
- It’s only 45 minutes. 500-600 is a lot of calories for 45 minutes.
-I love being able to log on afterward and look at my progress.
What’s bad about Flywheel?
-It’s the most expensive class I go to— which means when times are lean, it’s the first one to go.
-It irritates the hell out of me that they don’t give you free bottled water. Classes are so expensive already…I wish Flywheel would loosen their purse strings a little.
-The Atlanta studio is a little odd. It seems SUPER nice, but the shower/bathroom setup is weird. There are no mirrors in the shower rooms, so you have to take a shower, put your hair in a towel, then dash across the hall to a bathroom. It feels a little like middle school gym class, which, let’s face it, no one wants to re-live.
All in all, I really love Flywheel and highly recommend it if your pockets are deep enough (mine aren’t always). If you decide to go to the Atlanta studio, please USE THIS LINK— they have a referral system and I would definitely appreciate a free class or two!