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A New Spin...on Spinning

Posted by Alexa Pozniak  April 15, 2013 07:00 AM

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Regular workouts keep me in decent shape. But I’m always looking for ways to get faster, stronger, and more flexible. There are a myriad of options out there, which can be overwhelming for beginners and seasoned athletes alike. I’ll play the role of guinea pig and review some of the new and unusual exercise classes being offered around the region, with the hope you’ll find one that appeals to you and gets you moving. If you would like to suggest a workout for me to try, tweet me @apoztv.

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One of my favorite forms of exercise is cycling. I love nothing more than to grab my road bike and put the pedal to the pavement, enjoying not only the full-body workout it provides but the sights and sounds that go along with it. For that reason, I can’t think of anything more boring than taking a spin class.

Spinning has been around for years, but only recently has it exploded in popularity. Being confined to a small, dimly lit studio, sitting shoulder to shoulder with sweaty people on bikes that are anything but comfortable and staring at an instructor while pedaling for 60 minutes straight is, well, unappealing to me. But the Sports Club/LA’s newest location in Chestnut Hill may have come up with just the right remedy for an athlete like me who needs constant stimulation.

The first thing you notice upon entering the REV cycling studio, which is tucked away in a non-descript back corner of this pristine workout facility, is the IMAX screen. It’s gigantic. Facing the panoramic screen, which simulates rides around the world, are 40 spin bikes that come equipped with heart rate monitors.

The class I attended took us on a virtual ride through the beautiful countryside of Spain. Interesting to note, our instructor was the one in the video (part of a side business he runs)… so he provided commentary along the way, detailing the difficulty of certain climbs or little known facts about the region, much the way a tour guide would. Sprinkled in were instructions on when we should exert ourselves and climb out of the saddle, when we should ease off on pedaling and grab some water, or simply words of encouragement.

Before the class began, he warned us about the possibility of experiencing motion sickness. In my head, I laughed and thought, “Who in the world would feel sick while riding a bike in front of a big screen?” Me, that’s who. Twenty-minutes into the ride, as we were virtually speeding down a hill and rounding a few tight corners, the pedals weren’t the only things spinning. My head felt dizzy, my stomach slightly nauseous. But I remembered what he said, and looked down at the floor for about a minute and the feeling quickly passed.

The non-impact workout was as intense as you wanted it to be. Each bike has a knob that lets you add as little or as much resistance as you feel comfortable with. The class consisted of fat-burning intervals in the form of virtual hill climbs and sprints past other cyclists on the screen. The music and mood lights were choreographed accordingly along the way. The IMAX screen did wonders to eliminate any feelings of boredom brought on by past spin sessions. Dare I say, it was actually fun. Post-class, I experienced some soreness in the legs, which to me, is the sign of a good workout, along with a sudden urge to hop a plane to Spain.

The Sports Club/LA, Chestnut Hill, www.sportsclubla.com, Cycling Fusion, Tuesday/Thursday 8:30AM, Memberships are $140/month

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.

CONTRIBUTORS

Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at Boston.com. She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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