“I don’t like spinning.” For the last three years, that has been my response to people who rave about their spin obsession. Back in 2008, I belonged to a fancy gym and took cycling classes all the time -- but I didn’t enjoy it. The music was good, the instructors motivating, but I found myself watching the clock looking forward to class being over. And I never saw any results.
Eventually, an injury took me off the bike. Once I recovered, I discovered combined strengthening and cardio classes like Refine Method and Core Fusion Cardio, and I felt no need to go back to doing straight cardio as my workout.
So when I tried indoor cycling at Flywheel Sports, I expected to go one time just for this review. But since that day, I have been back two more times. It is now safe to say I actually enjoy an indoor cycling class.
What makes Flywheel different from other cycling studios or gym classes?
Seating: Stadium seating ensures everyone gets a great view of the instructor and the mirrors at the front of the room. There is also sufficient spacing between bikes, unlike other studios that squish them all on top of each other.
TorqBoard: Every bike comes with a little monitor that displays your resistance, your cadence and your power; i.e., how hard you are actually working. Every now and then, the instructor might turn on the TorqBoard at the front of the room where you can see your ranking in real time compared to those around you. You can also opt out of appearing on the TorqBoard. I liked seeing my name up there because wanting to “beat” the person ahead of me made me work much harder. That is its intended effect.
Studio Vibe: Clip-in shoe rentals and water are both free. Amazing.
Instructors: The three I had were very different from each other, but all made me want to push myself and get the most out of my workout. They were friendly and helpful with adjusting my bike, an experience I don’t always have at other studios. During the class, they motivated the class without singling anyone out. We were all encouraged to do our best. And they all incorporated a clear interval training method that is known to provide better results.
Strength Component: Towards the end of class, we slowed our pedaling and spent one song performing a variety of upper body exercises using weighted bars. Two- and four-pound bars are available, and they start to feel heavy very quickly. This added element provides an excellent upper-body workout that many cycling enthusiasts tend to neglect. My only recommendation is that heavier weights be available from the start. In all three classes, I held the combined weights for a six-pound workout, and I imagine some people would want even more.
Music: Flywheel is famous for its instructors taking music requests ahead of time. The music in all my classes was fantastic. They also hold theme classes, such as an '80s ride and last week’s Springsteen ride in honor of Clarence Clemons.
The Flywheel Sports website claims that “Flywheel has literally reinvented the wheel.” And if they were able to convert me, I’d have to say they are right. The combination of interval training, motivating music, TorqBoard competition and the weights section will offer cyclists the results they want. And the option of FlyBarre classes in the same space at certain locations offers a well-rounded workout routine that other studios don’t offer.
Now, I say, “I like spinning. But only at Flywheel.”
Dori Manela is a writer, content manager and social media consultant. Raised in Queens, Dori now lives in Manhattan, taking as many exercise classes in NYC as possible in search of the perfect workout. She started Dori's Shiny Blog in November 2007. As her passion for fitness grew, DSB turned into a health & fitness blog. With the help of her favorite social networking site Twitter, Dori has connected with other bloggers, boutique fitness studios, companies and readers to share her love of working out.