Through the door, I could see flashes of bright lights and hear thumping music. Did Team Greatist make a wrong turn and end up in “Da Club” on a Wednesday afternoon? Nope, we were waiting for Jonathan Angelilli’s class at Flywheel, an indoor cycling studio with a cult following that started here in NYC. Our social media director Becky is Greatist’s resident Flywheel pro, and she told us to expect sweaty shirts, burning quads, and some serious energy from participants and instructor alike. With plenty of excitement (but also a bit of trepidation), a small group of us headed to Flywheel’s Flatiron studio to check out the spin class for ourselves.
After picking up some specialized spinning shoes (they clip onto the bike pedals) we headed into the amphitheater-shaped studio and got set up. Jonathan — aka Johnny Fitness — lowered the lights, turned up the tunes, and told us to start spinning. Everyone was super enthusiastic, screaming cheers and frequently throwing fist pumps into the air.
Jonathan led the class through intense intervals called “pushes.” For each segment, he told us how high to set the resistance (aka torque) and how many rotations per minute, or RPM, we should hit while navigating between “first position” (seated on the bike), “second position” (hovering above the seat), and “third position” (hovering above the seat with hands further forward on the handlebars). While some of those numbers (100 RMP, anybody?) were a bit scary at first, we did our best to get our legs pumping as fast as possible.
After about five minutes, we were breathing heavily and drenched in sweat — no wonder Becky recommended bringing an extra shirt for after class! Despite (or maybe because of) the tough “pushes” that simulated climbing up a mountain at top speed, the energy in the amphitheater was rockin’. Towards the end of class, we slowed our legs to work on upper body strength by doing a series of simple but challenging shoulder, bicep, and tricep exercises with weighted bars conveniently stored on the sides of each bike. After the weights, we turned our energy back to our legs and finished up with a few low-resistance, high-RPM bursts and a nice stretch.
Climbing off the bike felt amazing, but I could see how the energy and the burn could easily become addicting. I’ll have to see how I feel tomorrow morning before deciding if I’m ready to join the Flywheel revolution.
Are you a spin-a-holic? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet the author @SophBreene.