A couple months ago I got really into spinning. You may remember that Whitney and I went so far as to try out a bunch of different classes in our respective cities and rate them based on important factors such as “overall bun feel” and “amount of times we wanted to barf.” You know – the important stuff.
In the end I think I tried 7 or 8 different studios around NYC and Brooklyn but I’m truly ride or die for Flywheel. As a person who will invent any excuse possible to get out of working out, Flywheel is the only class that makes me want to keep coming back. The combination of a clean gym, excited teachers, and free apples has turned me into a repeat customer. I actually feel uncomfortable saying that I enjoy this workout – it’s very off brand for my usual sedentary lifestyle – but I always have fun when I do it.
Here’s a fun story about my introduction to da ‘Wheel. (This is insider lingo. Actually only I say this. Right now. When I’m writing it. But it sounds so cool right?)
I showed up to my first Flywheel class with the normal amount of anxiety I feel everytime I try a new gym. I’ve made the mistake of sitting in the wrong seat, or wearing the wrong shoes, or aggressively attempting to dismount and almost pulling down the entire bike on top of myself and unsuspecting neighbors. I’m just a normal adult human, ok?
I sat down on my assigned bike, clipped in my borrowed sneakers, and starting pedaling. Here’s a little information about Flywheel if you’ve never been. Every bike is pre-assigned because your stats (RPM, torque, etc) are factored into an overall number that is broadcast on large screens a couple times during the class. It’s highly competitive but you can always opt out of sharing your results before you sit down.
A couple minutes in and I’m already starting to sweat. I hear the instructor yell out, “alright Chelsea! That’s how we do it! Woo!” Seeing that I’m already in the zone, I’m impressed. This guy obviously knows it’s my first class, he sees that I’m working hard, and he is pumping me up. I immediately start pedaling faster and feeling good.
A few minutes pass and I’m Beyonce in the Baby Boy ft. Sean Paul video. I am feeling myself, working hard, and sweat is flying. From the front of the class I hear, “you’re killing it Chelsea! YEAHHHHHHH!” I give my head a shake, beads of sweat go flying, the instructor and I are V-I-B-I-N. I am making this class my bitch and he’s recognizing it.
Then he continues to recognize it. Every two to three minutes. For the entirety of class.
Here’s the thing about this kind of motivation. It feels good the first time. Great the second time. Maybe even incredible the third time. But after that it starts to feel weird. Nobody in the room really knows I’m Chelsea but I’m starting to feel like the fat kid in gym class who’s a lap behind everyone but people clap because he’s trying! He’s trying so hard! Every time I hear my name I duck a little lower and avoid eye contact with my fellow bikers. Despite a solid attempt to telepathically tell him to quit it, my dagger eyes go unnoticed and the encouragement keeps coming. For 45 minutes.
For the next day or so I’m getting flashbacks of “damn Chelsea, you are killing it!” and “oh yeahhhhhhhhh, Chelsea! Oh yeahhh!” (Please note – the instructor was not the Koolaid man despite that last quote.) I chalk it up to an overexcited instructor who was really trying to help me and decide to brush it off. The class was great and with the exception of the overly encouraging teacher, I really enjoyed it.
A couple days later I decide to try an uptown Flywheel closer to my office. I’m a little nervous but sign up, strap in, and get to pedaling. The entire class flies by without a single namedrop and I am pumped. As a newly experienced ‘wheeler (also not an actual term), I decide to brush off the embarrassment of the first class because this shit is my jam. I immediately sign up for another class at the first gym and can’t wait to return to the scene of the crime.
I confidently strut into the original studio as best as anyone wearing spin sneakers can strut. I clip in and start pedaling, ready for a stress free workout. Seconds later: “OK Chelsea! You ready to get this party starrrrrrrrrted?!”
What. The. Fuck.
We’re less than a minute in and my world is crumbling. “You’re killing it Chelsea!” “Faster, Chelsea, faster! Woo!” “Damn Chelsea! YOU DA QUEEN OF DA BIKES OVER THERE ON BIKE 14 AND I LOVE YOU!” (That last one was for dramatic effect. I don’t think he actually said that but it’s probably pretty close.)
I’m confused. I’m stressed. I’m sweaty in so many areas. It’s not even the same instructor. What is it about this place?! I know I’m chubby and I know I’m sweaty but this is too much. There are way chubbier and sweatier people in this class and they need this more than I do.
Minutes pass but the encouragement doesn’t. And then – it hits me.
I’m in New York City. I’m on the west side. I’m south of Hell’s Kitchen and north of the West Village. I’m in fucking Chelsea, NYC and I’m an idiot.
Yep. Shout out to my Mom and Dad for naming me after a trendy neighborhood and catchy Joni Mitchell song. You raised a moron.
I finish out the next 30 minutes of class in sporadic bursts of hysterical laughter. There’s a giant chalkboard in the front of the studio that says “Chelsea” in cursive font. When I checked in the girl at the front desk gave me a sensible chuckle. I’ve spent hours walking around Chelsea taking selfies in front of every sign that says my name. I am Chelsea and I’m spinning in Chelsea and isn’t working out supposed to make you smarter?
I have since returned to the Chelsea Flywheel multiple times and now that I know I’m not being singled out, I use that motivation to my advantage. Suck it everyone else in the class. This is my town and you’re just visiting. I love you Flywheel and I’m sorry I tried to kill one of your instructors Matilda style. You’re still my favorite.