It's another Workout Wednesday, where I give you the rundown on a different New York City fitness class.
But before we jump into things, I'd like to make an important announcement that I can't believe it has taken me so long to post - I am the proud owner of a brand spankin' new Bianchi road bike! I am just as excited as I am panicked about this latest development.
I'm panicked about actually riding the bike.
I'm panicked about clipping into the pedals.
I'm panicked about being SO POOR.
I'm panicked about how many things I need to buy other than the bike.
I'm panicked about how little I know about bikes.
So any and all advice is welcomed and needed!
I'm signed up for this year's 5 Borough Bike Tour and looking into another long summer bike "race" (ha, ride, lets not get ahead of ourselves) but that goal of an Olympic Distance Triathlon is still intimidatingly unscheduled.
I have yet to be on a bike ride on my bike and I've owned it for oh, I don't know, 5 weeks! Pedals, a helmet and gloves have all been ordered so - the time is approaching. I'll keep ya posted.
Despite not being out on my bike - I have continued to go to spin classes. I had the chance to take a class at SWERVE and was really excited to try it out - mainly because they require you to clip into the pedals and I know it completely changes the feel of cycling. It's something I'm really going to need to adjust to after countless NYSC rides in my Nike Frees.
SWERVE is located on 18th Street between 5th & 6th Avenues. When I walked in, running late as usual, I was given a pair of spin shoes and told my bike number. After quickly changing, I walked downstairs to the actual spin studio and was helped with adjusting my bike and clipping in. The room was super dark, so clipping in was a challenge and the help was greatly appreciated.
I was impressed with how many bikes SWERVE's studio has - at least 35.
SWERVE's "thing" is that each class is split into three teams which compete for first place. Your personal and team score is based on your RPMs, Watts and resistance. Each bike has their own mini computer which lets you know all of this information and the team score is displayed on two screen in the front of the room.
At first, I was a little iffy about the two screens in the front of the room - I was under the impression they would show the whole classes score. But nope - it just shows a general team score along with the person who is performing best for each particular team.
I'm a big fan of numbers and data in my workout - so being able to hear that I should be within a certain range of rotations per minute was really helpful - it usually was right in time to the music as well. In the past, I've had trouble performing at the level that the instructor was expecting, but I found that the RPM and gear ranges that our instructor, Seth, suggested were a challenge, but doable.
Knowing that I was riding as part of a team pushed me to give that little extra kick at the end of each interval. There were many intervals throughout the class - which is my favorite type of spin class. Seth was always encouraging and had some great things to say about both competing for your team and being there to improve yourself as an individual. He turned off the screen a few times so that we couldn't see who was in the lead and we had to just push ourselves without that visual to motivate us.
The one thing I didn't love about the class was the song during which we picked up those little 2 pound weights and did so many pulses and straight arm holds that I felt like I was gunna die. I still don't understand how such tiny weights can kill so much. And I also am still not sold on why this is necessary in a spin class. But, at least there was no bike-squating or crunching while we were spinning.
By the end of class, our team came up victorious! And I was absolutely DRIPPING in sweat. My face was bright red and I was shaky. The stretch was a little short for my liking, but in that short time I managed to completely slip and wipe out - cycling shoes are slippery people.
There are both men's and women's locker rooms as well as a big central room with more lockers. The women's locker room was fairly small though well stocked with products and a shower. On my way out, I looked around and one thing really stood out to me was the smoothie bar! You can even place an order before class and it will be waiting for you when you finish!
I had a great time and really liked the competitive aspect of this class along with the numbers and data provided by the computers on each bike. At the end of class, they email you your statistics and you can see how you stacked up in the class.
Like I knew going into it, riding with clip-in cycling shoes is a lot different and really gives you the ability to focus on that upward pull motion of your pedal stroke just as much as the push down.
So often, the quality of a spin class is dependent on the instructor. Seth was great - he was motivating and clear in his explanations what what we should be doing.
SWERVE Instructor Kate Bailey was kind enough to answer some questions - enjoy! (*My comments are in italics).
When was SWERVE created?
SWERVE Fitness first opened in Fall ’13. Founded by a trio of best friends and former Ivy League athletes, the studio inspires you to achieve your best workout by creating a community of people who inspire each other to continuously redefine their best.
What do you think is the appeal of a cycling class where participants ride for teams?
Well, let's be honest. We all have a little bit of that competitive spirit in us. I think when people hear "teams" that is what gets them into class! They want to win. Who doesn't. But once they leave they have gained so much more. The team aspect at SWERVE encourages a sense of community and drive that, for me, makes me feel like I can conquer anything that comes my way! And I think that is what keeps people coming back. You gotta show up for your TEAM!!!
How did you get involved with SWERVE?
I took a class with a friend and the rest was history! I wasn't even looking to be an instructor, but after one class I just had to be a part of it. That was about two years ago and now SWERVE has become my second home in NYC.
What’s your favorite song to sweat to?
I have so many! But my favorite song to sweat to right now is, "Wait For It" from the new musical Hamilton on Broadway. I know... I know... HAMILTON? I don't usually play showtunes in class, (although that is all I listen to outside of SWERVE) but the music of Hamilton is something everyone in NYC should hear. Truly awesome and inspiring stuff. (Who is going to have a Hamilton themed spin class? Anybody? Bueller? PLEASE!)
Do you like peanut butter? What’s your favorite way to enjoy it?
I love peanut butter! Hmmmm... I have to say my favorite way to enjoy peanut butter is with Apple Slices or Celery Sticks. It was my favorite snack as a kid, and still such a great go-to for me today.
*Based on a scale of 1-10
The Studio - 6
It's clean and there's lots of lockers, but the locker room itself is very small for a studio where the class size is 30+ people.
Sweat-Scale - 8
Spin classes always get me the sweatiest. I'm talking full on puddles underneath my bike by the end of class.
Fun-Factor - 8
If you're like me, you'll love the little "gimmicks" that SWERVE offers - teams, competition, a chance to be "#1" and data that you can track from class to class to monitor improvements.
Amenities - 7
Forgot hairspray? SWERVE's got ya covered. Need a smoothie waiting for you when you get out of class? Yup. Get on that.
Cost - $$$ (Single Classes are $34 but new riders can buy one get one free! OR sign up as a new member and receive 1 month of unlimited classes for $150!)
(<$20 = $, $20-$30 = $$ and $30+ = $$$)