What sets Flywheel apart from a run-of-the-mill cycling class is the atmosphere, which has helped it develop a Crossfit-esque cult-like following. The spin room is dark, with only the instructor and your bike's display screen illuminated so you can focus on the workout, not everyone else around you. The music is fast and loud, so earplugs are offered before class, but don't let that dissuade you, it's all part of the experience that will challenge your body and focus your mind.
The classes are always different, with a mix of fast, sprint intervals and slow climbs, designed to build endurance and muscle and scorch calories. The playlists are created by the Flywheel instructors themselves from a collection of music curated by Flywheel's own DJ. Instructors choreograph their own classes, syncing their rides to the beat of their songs ensuring a new experience every time.
The studios are set up with stadium-style seating, so every bike is the best seat in the house.
Cycling may seem like a no-brainer. You just hop on and go. But there is more to a Flywheel class than just pedaling. In each Flywheel class, your instructor will guide your workout, suggesting resistance levels and RPMs, but ultimately you decide the pace of your ride by spinning the knob for more or less resistance on your bike. If you wanna go faster and harder, go for it. If you need to dial it back, it's on you.
You can set private goals or go public with the help of the Torqboard: a scoreboard at the front of the class that the instructor occasionally lights up allowing you to compete against others in the class if you so choose. If the Torqboard isn't your thing, you can still keep track of your progress online as your stats for every ride will be recorded in your private account on the Flywheel website. You can access your metrics for every ride including RPMs, torq, speed, power, distance and estimated calories burned allowing you to track your performance over time.
A typical 45 minute Flywheel class can burn up to 800 calories, but of course, as with anything, it all depends on how much effort you put in to it.
A big part of the Flywheel experience is the unique Flywheel bikes. Memorize your bike setting so your bike is a comfortable fit each and every time. The "tech-pack" or bike display, which shows resistance ("torq"), speed (RPMs) and power output so you can see how much butt you're actually kicking. The bikes even have weighted bars attached for the upper body portion of the workout, which will have you breathing a sigh of relief for, oh, five seconds until your arms are screaming so bad you'll be begging for another sprint.
Taking a Class
Classes are $25 dollars a pop, which sounds a little hefty, but it's all the extras that make it worth it (in addition to the workout of your life, of course.) Reserve your bike ahead of time online through your account, as they fill up fast. Clip in shoes will be waiting for you--in your size--when you walk in. Helpful employees will adjust your bike up, down, in or out for your perfect fit, grab you a towel and fill up your water bottle. Instead of a being herded into a locker room, all rooms are separate and private. You will enjoy single bathrooms, stocked with bobby pins, hair ties and other toiletries and separate private rooms for showering with included towels, shampoo, conditioner and lotions. There's yet a third set of private rooms for changing and primping, complete with deodorant, hairdryers and more. It makes half the crap you lug to the gym with you obsolete, and you can still emerge from a sweaty class ready for work or a hot date. Fruit and Popchips are available after class to refuel.
As Flywheel's motto states, Never Coast. Push your hardest. Your first class is always free, so give it a try. The class will have you working harder than you ever have before and the atmosphere will keep you coming back for more.
Kelly Turner is a Seattle-based ACE-certified personal trainer and professional fitness writer. She began writing after becoming frustrated with the confusing and conflicting fitness information in the media and the quick-fix, gimmick-centered focus of the fitness industry itself. Her no-nonsense, practical advice has been featured on DietsInReview.com, FitnessMagazine.com, Yahoo! Shine, and she has a regular fitness column in The Seattle Times. Kelly has her own blog at www.kellyturnerfitness.com or follow her on Twitter @KellyTurnerFit.