My Week At Equinox: PURSUIT Spin Class + A Swim

I'm taking you along for the ride on my 7 days as an Equinox member. You can read about my first class, Ropes and Rowers, here

The PURSUIT Equinox

Day Two: The PURSUIT 

For Tuesday morning's workout I decided to try a spin class at Equinox and was surprised to find that the bikes were very similar to those used at Swerve. That means METRICS which is always a positive in my opinion. 

I went into the class not knowing what to expect in terms of if I would be able to ride in my Nike's or if their bikes would only be able to be used by clip-in spin shoes but I was pleasantly surprised to find that an Equinox staff member was going around putting cages on pedals for riders who couldn't clip in. He was also taking said cages off of pedals for people that had spin shoes. 

I hopped on my bike and took in the scene - a very large spin studio (I would guess 40 bikes) but a raised platform for the instructor. Melissa Morin taught the class, and I recognized her from when she used to teach at New York Sports Club. I liked her style then and I still like it now - though the way PURSUIT is set up requires much less from the instructor. 

Behind the instructor is a bigggggg screen that makes the class feel like you're playing video games on your bike. 


Your bike will show you your RPMs, MPH, total mileage, and watts. I missed having a metric that shows "resistance." What's most important throughout the class is your watts - or power you're producing as you spin. 


After a few minute warm-up, it was time for the workout to begin. PURSUIT is broken up into 5 "games," each lasting between 4-6 minutes. The ultimate goal is for the entire class to reach a pre-determined wattage score by the end of these 5 games - the more people in the class, the more wattage you'll need to produce. 


During game one, we focused on our RPMs. For one minute the goal was to spin between 65-75 RPMs before increasing to 85-95 for a minute and then a minute at 105+. Then, we repeated. The graphics on the screen showed each person in the class as their bike number in a circle. That circle glowed and filled up as your wattage increased. 

For this game, there were two horizontal lines that represented the high end of RPMs we were aiming for and the low end of RPMs. The goal was to keep your dot shining bright in the middle of those two lines. 


Game two focused on distance intervals. You clicked a button on your bike's screen which zeroed out your distance (though your total mileage remained) and then tried to spin your way to .25 miles as quickly as possible. You took the rest you needed before clearing the screen and sprinting to another .25 miles. 

The goal was to accumulate as many quarter-miles as you could in the allotted time (the studio record was 14!) 


In this round, riders were partnered up with someone else in the room and switched off riding every :30 racing the rest of the pairs in the class. The screen continued to show your glowing circle, as well as where you were in regards to the rest of the class on your race. 

The screen also highlighted which teams were competing for first and second place - a huge boost to the individuals on those teams (as proven by the last minute come from behind victory by the team in 2nd place!) 


Another game was similar to game 1 as we focused on staying within a prescribed RPM range. The challenge was that between 65-105 RPMs we had to try to keep our resistance the same! Ouch. 


The last game split the entire class into different teams. The whole team sprinted as hard and fast as they could for 1:00 before getting a break - the team that amassed the most power (watts) won that round. 



Always diggin' the metrics. Even though lately, I've discovered that the metrics make me feel pretty damn bad about myself! Here I was thinking I was pretty decent in a spin class and, well, not so much. At best it's motivating to see just how much I can improve and at worst it's discouraging to see how much more power my classmates were able produce throughout the 50 minute class. 


Stand when you want, sit when you want. Make the resistance what you want. This can go both ways depending on the day - sometimes I need the structure of detailed instructions to get the most out of my ride, but some days it's nice to feel in control of my own workout. 


This class is super high-tech. The games and graphics are awesome. For games where you're partnered with someone - if there's an uneven number of people you have a computer ride with you that performs exactly as you were performing. If it's a team game and one team is lacking a player, there's a computer rider that produces results that equal the average of the other riders. I'm not a tech-person at all, but it really impressed me thinking that someone designed all this stuff! 

It's also awesome to crank up your resistance, keep your RPMs the same and watch your icon on the screen start to glow brighter - it KNOWS. 


This class has team competition. partner competition, group competition (the entire class is trying to reach an end watt goal throughout), and solo competition. After each game, the screen will show the leader board - the top 8 female riders and the top 8 male riders for some extra motivation. 


I love that this class isn't like SoulCycle or Cyc - it doesn't matter how FAST your legs are flying around the flywheel. What matters is producing WATTS. POWER. Strength. No dancing on your bike. No bicep curls on the bike with baby weights. 



My own fault, but not being clipped in for this class was a major bummer. 


I was shocked at how poorly I performed. My sad little circle was by far the least brightly shining. I thought it might have to do with the fact that my age, weight, height, etc. wasn't in the Equinox system, but since the class is based on watts - it's essentially how well you're able to keep up your RPMs at heavier resistance - which I apparently am not-so-good at. It was disheartening, but I did what I could and left feeling like I had gotten in a solid workout for sure. 


It drove me CRAZY that the computer on the bike had a button you had to KEEP PRESSING to turn the light on if you wanted to see your numbers. I wish that it would have just stayed turned out!! 

Overall, I really really liked this spin class. It was high-intensity but also focused on strength. It went really quickly because of the 5-game format. It had metrics, it had good music, the instructor was great and the competitive aspect kept me putting in a solid effort. I would like to see more studios implement this "gaming goes to the gym" idea! 

Equinox Columbus Circle

Day Two: Swim 

Tuesday I went for the two-a-day. After work  I headed to a different Equinox location (Columbus Circle) to meet up with my friend Kaitlin and check out the pool. Entering through the Shops at Columbus Circle - I eventually managed to find my way to the pool. 

It was SO NICE swimming in a 25 yard pool vs. an 18 yard pool. It doesn't sound like much, but it made a difference. 

The lanes were very crowded though (2-3 people per lane) - probably because we were there after work as opposed to early in the morning. 

Instead of just showing up at the pool and aimlessly swimming back and forth which is SO BORING to me, I looked online and found some suggested workouts which I modified since I can swim like 50 yards at a time before I need to stop for a breather. Hey, at least I #Tri. Ha, get it? 

I had my workouts written on index cards which was like, DUH LAUREN, pool + paper. The woman I was sharing a lane with clearly knew what she was doing and had her workout in a zip lock baggie. Now I know! 


Warm Up - 100 Yards
4 x 25 - Counting my strokes and trying to stay consistent
4 x 50 - :30 rest between each 50 yards
4 x 25 - Counting my strokes and trying to stay consistent
100 Yards
4 x 25 - Breathe every 4th stroke
4 x 25 - Breathe every 2nd stroke
8 x 25 sprints with :30 rest
100 yards counting strokes per length
4 x 25 sprints (as few breaths as possible) with :30 rests
100 yards counting strokes per length
4 x 25 kicking (alternate sides) 
2 x 25 no kicking
2 x 25 hands in fists

Total: 1500 yards 

It took me about an hour and was much better for me than just going to swim for an hour. But still not enjoyable by any means. Glad that my friend was there to hold me accountable for showing up!