By Jess in Minneapolis
Remember when I was in Chicago for my friend’s 30th birthday? Well, I was still injured and unable to run at that time (not anymore though. I’m running again, woo-hoo!). The injury meant that I was unable to participate in all the Santa Hustle 5k fun that the rest of the girls did Saturday morning. I still wanted to get in some sort of a workout, so I signed up to take my first ever Flywheel spin class! I had read about Flywheel on a couple different blogs (particularly 50by25’s blog- she is a big fan), so I was happy to discover that there was a studio really close to our hotel.
I never posted a review of that class, so here it is!
A week before we went to Chicago, I called the studio to ask about signing up for my first class. They informed me that the online registration opened that day (Sunday) at 5 pm for signup for the following Saturday classes. She told me that I had to sign up right away, as the classes will fill within five minutes. Yowsa! I quickly set up a profile online, and set up an alarm on my phone to ensure I was near my laptop to register right at 5 pm. I registered for Dustin to join me as well, but when he found out that the class was at 7:30 am, he decided he was no longer interested…not on vacation! Fortunately, my friend Mason was willing to try it out, so he took the guest pass instead.
So, online registration was a little stressful just because you have to act fast! I can’t imagine if I were a regular at Flywheel, as it might be hard to plan that far ahead every week. However, the actual online registration was very easy, and I was able to pick out two bikes and reserve our spots pretty quickly.
Saturday morning, Mason and I were up early to make the 1/4 mile walk from our hotel (The Hotel Palomar) to the Gold Coast Flywheel studio.
The studio was very cool. They had some funky and fun spin clothes for sale, and a colorful board with the week’s schedule of classes. The person who checked us in explained how it all worked. We had little cubbies with numbers that matched our bike numbers, and in the cubbies were bike shoes in our size (We had entered our shoe size online when we registered).
Checking in really couldn’t be easier. You always have the choice of going to the front desk and checking in there, but there were also four computer kiosks along the wall that allow you to check yourself in, which was nice.
It was nice not to have to pack extra spin shoes in my suitcase, and the shoes they give to you are pretty nice!
Mason and I put our things in one of the plentiful free lockers…
…and made our way into the spin room to find our spots. An employee came around and helped us adjust our bikes, as well as offer padded seats to put on the bikes.
The staff was really helpful and went out of their way to ensure I had my bike set up correctly. There were free towels available as well, so we both grabbed a few of those to have handy during the class.
The Class / Instructor
The instructor arrived in all her toned and fit glory. Her name was Candi, and she was seriously awesome. She didn’t “bark” at you, or yell, but she was firm and gave really good cues, while motivating us to push ourselves. She also explained each workout really well, and keep us on the beat. The music was really loud- it kind of felt like you were in a dance club, but it made it a lot more fun. Some people were wearing ear plugs, but I liked the loud beats. It kept me motivated!
One thing that was really unique about Flywheel is that there is a little computer attached to the bike that shows you “torq” (resistance), speed, and “power” (some calculation of torq and speed). Each person has their own computer right on their bike.
The computer is awesome because instead of just having the instructor tell you to turn the resistance knob “a few turns to the right” or “a quarter turn to the left,” they can tell you exactly what level of power you should be at. This was extremely helpful and helped me get a lot more out of the class. I have taken a lot of spin classes over the years (my favorite was always the spin classes at the Firm!) At other classes, you are always sort of guessing at how hard you should be pushing yourself. Having this computer right there made it so much easier, and I felt like I pushed myself even harder because I knew what the expectation was.
There are also “Torqboards” at the front of the room that display the class ranking for total power. You have the option ahead of time to select whether you want your score to be published on the board. The board is divided into males and females, so you’re only compared against your own gender. The Torqboard isn’t visible for the whole class, rather, the instructors turn it on every song or two. This way, you can see how you’re doing and push yourself to beat the person just ahead of you, but you aren’t spending your class staring up at the screen and missing out on the fun.
Another unique thing about Flywheel was that they incorporate a little upper body strength training, with weighted poles. We did bicep curls, tricep work, and shoulder presses. This part of the class was less than five minutes long, but it was a nice way to get more of a full body workout.
I really enjoyed this class. I would say it was honestly one of the best spin classes I have ever taken!
But..there were two “cons” about my Flywheel experience. #1- the price is a little steep. $25/class is a lot. Apparently they do run specials all the time to bring the price down a bit. There is a 20 class pack option, which brings the price down to a reasonable $20 each. They also have a monthly unlimited option for $180/month.
#2 Con- No showers! I had read rave reviews on other fitness blogs about how great the showers were at Flywheel, but at the Gold Coast studio, there were none! It wasn’t that big of a deal, but Mason and I were pretty sweaty, and it would have been nice to take a shower before going out into the cold for the walk back to our hotel. I also wonder how regulars do it…I mean, if they take 6 am classes, do they have to go home first to shower before work? Seems like quite a hassle, particularly when you’re paying $25/class. It would be nice to have a shower on site. Its not like BARRE where you don’t get that sweaty. You definitely get super sweaty at Flywheel, so my feedback for improvement is easy. just add a few showers!
Flywheel is currently only available New York, Florida, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Seattle, and North Carolina. If I find myself in one of those places, I will definitely be signing up again for another class!
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