I tried something new today. Raleigh recently has exploded with apartment buildings, new exercise crazes, and everything that comes when your semi-small town becomes legitimate as a city.
It’s sort of cool – we had our first Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon last year, which solidified the city’s place in my mind as a real thing. But I feel for some of the older folks, who really don’t care for or understand why the city is taking on this monstrous new life.
But I digress.
A friend of mine who lives in Brooklyn had been telling me about this thing called Soul Cycle, and how I had to try it. Unfortunately, Raleigh has not quite caught onto that, but caught onto something called FlyWheel, a class-phenomenon that seems to be some type of relative of Soul Cycle.
Now that I blog, I feel like it’s my duty and obligation to try everything, whereas before, I was kind of in a workout lane – I liked my Zumba and my running, my cycling sometimes, mixed in with a little hot yoga, so this was a new frontier for me.
So, I walk into the studio, and first, I was set up by a really friendly guy, George, on the computer to check in. Because I had already picked out a bike (the bikes were set up in a sort of stadium seating thing – think concert seating), my complimentary shoes were already pulled in my size, and George chatted with me for a few minutes, showing me showers, lockers, clean towels, and a fancy water machine.
A few minutes later, the door to this dark, almost move theatre-type room opened, and I was ushered in by George himself. George adjusted my bike to my height, helped me clip into my bike, and I started pedaling away in prep for the class.
The teeniest little girl from Atlanta hopped into the instructor bike, introduced herself, explained what the numbers on the bike meant – torque, power, and RPMs, and off we went.
The experience was a number of things. It was scary competitive – where you stood amongst your peers was projected on a screen at the front of the room, and I consistently toggled between the first and second places in the class, something that I killed myself to do. The room was set up like a stadium, a little different from the rooms I’m used to at the Y, and the room was very dark. It made for a different experience. In a sense because it was dark, you felt like you were doing your own ride, and it felt a little like a party, similar to when your Zumba instructor flips off the lights and cranks the music so that you feel like you’re at the club. The class felt very New York, and this was a very different experience than you’ll get at a lot of places down here in the south.
A few things I wasn’t too keen on? For one, the price of the class was steep – at $21 a class, this stacks up as the most expensive group fitness class I’ve ever taken in Raleigh thus far. Granted, the facility is gorgeous and you get free towels and access to a beautiful shower facility, but I have a hard time paying that much for something. That is the equivalent of about 5 really pricy coffees at Starbucks, and nearly 3 bottles of Essie at Target. I also feel a little bit funny about workouts that are that priced that steeply. It makes working out really inaccessible and creates this elitist mentality about the workout. If only rich women who wear fancy workout clothing can do the workout, are you creating a barrier to non-rich women to ever try the sport? And lastly, the class was so fast-paced, that there was not a huge focus on safety and form.
So – my verdict?
Definitely mixed. I will have to try this again, but I would definitely suggest that if you have one of these FlyWheel facilities near your home, you try it and let me know what you think. Do you love it? Think it’s weird? Would you do it more than once? Let me know!