This weekend, while spending some time in Charlotte with my soon-to-be married best friend, I got the opportunity to attend a class at Flywheel in Charlotte. What a blast! I am no stranger to different types of cycling classes. I started my indoor cycle journey by getting certified in Johnny G Spinning in 2010. I have participated in numerous Les Mills RPM classes and taken a few classes by IFTA and Schwinn certified professionals. They are all unique and provide a different variation to a format designed to give you an intense cardio workout with minimal impact to the joints.
The first thing I noticed about Flywheel was the ease to which you signed up for a class. My first class was free so that was a bonus. I created a user name and password online and signed up for the class I wanted to take. It took less than 5 minutes to do my first time. If you are an established client, I imagine it takes less than a minute to sign up for a class. You are even able to choose which bike you want to use.
When I arrived at 7 AM on a Saturday morning, the lobby was packed with patrons ready to get their sweat on. As I checked in, the front desk staff was warm and welcoming. They asked me what size shoe I wore and gave me a pair of their own branded cycling shoes to use for my class. A towel was provided and a big bowl of ear plugs was sitting on the desk if you needed them. That loud, huh? Sounds like my kind of class.
Walking into the room felt like entering a tiny movie theater. The bikes were set up in a half moon with the instructor’s bike at the center of the room on a pedestal. There were at least 40 bikes in the room. I couldn’t believe the class was going to be full at 7 AM on a Saturday. Not only that, but the previous class was full at 6 AM! The room was cold and I was worried it might take awhile to break a sweat. People were wearing sweatshirts and had their towels draped over their shoulders. They assured me in less than 5 minutes I would be glad to have the AC on. A young woman immediately came over to me to check to see if I needed help setting up my bike. She explained the monitor on the bike and where I should probably start off with “torq” or what I might call “base gear” or “set point”. I hopped on the bike and I was ready to roll.
As soon as class started, the instructor, my friend Sue, dimmed the lights and turned up the volume. It did feel like a movie theater. The music was fun and energetic and the darkness made it easy to focus on your intention for the class. Just like the classes I was familiar with, Sue guided us on our journey by telling us how much “torq” we should have on our bike and how many RPM’s we should be maintaining. It was tough, but it was fun. About midway through the class she incorporated light weight bars to give us a brief upper body workout. I had never been a fan of this in the past but safety seems to be a priority to Flywheel and I enjoyed the break very much.
There were 2 large television screens above the instructors head that would flash every 5-10 minutes with a list of anyone who opted to be listed on the “torqboard”. Here you could compete with others in the room. Some of the members took this part very seriously. It definitely kept me conscientious of my work and I would even go so far as to say it made me work harder.
The bottom line is that Flywheel is not much different than the spin classes I have participated in in the past as far as the workout. It’s very similar. What sets Flywheel apart from the competition is the energy and the ambiance. I encourage everyone to try a Flywheel class if you can. The music was great and it was a lot of fun. Try it with a friend so you can compete on the torqboard. The winner gets lunch!