Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Flywheel Charlotte

45 Minutes of Flywheel
3rd Place

Since I'm running lower mileage, I thought it would be a good time to try something new.  Largely encouraged by the three free Flywheel "rides" that Smarty Pants promoted, I swiftly created an account for myself and Garrett and signed us up for a class taught by Steve Justice, a former All American Wake Forest football player.  This is slightly embarrassing that it took me almost six months to finally check out Flywheel.  Steve's wife, a former Wake Forest soccer player, had approached me about Flywheel back in the summer and, while I had heard so many great reviews about the place, I never found the time to check it out for myself.

Anyways, on Tuesday at 6AM, I finally got a chance to see what this frenzy for Flywheel was all about. Flywheel is a studio dedicated solely to stadium spinning classes in a high-energy, super-cardio kind of way.  I've done several spinning classes before, at the YMCA, at the SIU Rec Center, but this is different.  First of all, you get to reserve your bike online, so I was able to reserve a seat right next to Garrett.  Once you get to the studio, all the steps you're supposed to take to check in are easy to figure out, even for a newbie like me.  I logged onto a computer to check myself in, grabbed my pair of (clean) shoes from a cubbie with my bike number on it, and made my way over to some lockers located just outside of the "spin room."  Garrett and I shared a locker (how cute), because they were that big, and headed into the stadium.

Garrett and I adjusted our seats and started a light warmup as we waited for Steve to bring on the pain.  Right on time, Steve walked in, gave us some instructions, and the lights went out, with a spotlight just on him.  The music started bouncing, our bodies started bouncing, and our heads bobbing, all in rhythm with the beat.  And I was sweating in less than a minute, but then again I sweat when it's 0 degrees outside.

Like any spinning class, you can make it as easy or as difficult as you'd like it.  However, at Flywheel, I think it's more difficult to cheat because the instructor provides torq and rpm ranges to ride to, which provides a great way to maintain the effort level.  So, if you do want to cheat, you'll inevitably feel a lot more guilty and feel less inclined to lower that tension on the bike.  Oh, and to add onto that, they have some convenient screens above head that allow you to see where you place in the rankings against everyone else in the class.  Don't worry, if you don't want to sign up to be on the "torq board," you don't have to.  But, you can use a secret screen name so no one knows who you are.  Mine is conveniently "meowmeow."  Of course, I wanted to win, but I only came in third place, just missing first by about 10 points.  Despite getting third, I was still breathing like a banshee the entire class.  Did I mention that I'm a marathon runner?

The biggest surprise of the class was when we grabbed two bars from the bottom of the bike and started lifting them over our head.  Honestly, this was the hardest part of the workout for me since my arms apparently have the strength of a 10 year old girl. I thought we would be done after doing some arm lifts, but I was so wrong--the workout continued for the entire duration of 45 minutes, and then we did an additional five minutes of cool down.  I definitely got what I (didn't) pay for (since this was a free class).

Needless to say, Flywheel gets two thumbs up from me.  They do a good job of differentiating themselves from a standard spin class offered at any other gym.  They are staffed with friendly instructors and keep things clean (the shoes are washed!).  To top it all off, you leave feeling like you just completed 20x400m all out on the track.  This is great cross training method for us runners and also a great way to burn some calories.

If you haven't already, go ahead and sign up for Flywheel.  The first ride is free, and then they have packages or individual rides you can buy.  Like I said, through December, you can get two free classes on top of the other free class (that equals three for my mathematically challenged readers) by clicking on this link and following the instructions.


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