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Why I’m a Fan of FlyWheel (Review and Tips) #nevercoast

This is not sponsored, asked for, or probably even wanted. But as an “opinionated opinionator,” here is my opinion. Link up with Wild Workout Wednesday, Fitness Friday, and Friday Favorites!

Welcome back to my house, all! Happy to have you here 😀

It is no secret that I love spinning, and that I harbor covetous delusions of grandeur of getting a road bike.

blue argyle bike cruiser

PS, How flipping sweet are these wheels that I spotted on my way home from a Windy City Bloggers event at Sullivan’s Steakhouse on Wednesday night? Ange, Sam, Maddie, and Sam (just to make things confusing) are already planning a blogger biker gang to roam the streets in our respective cities. We do need a representative from the west coast and a few more Canadians–who wants in?

I'm RIDING THE CRAP OUT OF THIS HILL

I’m RIDING THE CRAP OUT OF THIS HILL

While I’m at it, Beth made an excellent suggestion to make “Vote For Suz” shirts a la Napoleon Dynamite for my campaign for the Runners World Cover Search. Any takers for that?

VOTE FOR SUZ so that she can get on the cover of @runnersworld #RWCoverSearch #437… Click To Tweet

Alright, where was I? Oh yes, spinning and Flywheel and such.

During my “off season” and now especially while recovering from my stress reaction, I have been taking advantage of my precious time with Class Pass to hit up spinning classes and pilates (as opposed to yoga, the reasons for which I explained a bit here). I have access to spin bikes at my work (the ones at my apartment are STILL broken WTF???), and I utilize them throughout the year, training or not. It is a huge part of why I am able to run fewer miles but still work on my endurance. Tiffy Tiff Tiff is a great source of info on spinning btw! I’ve referenced this before, but Runners World/Times did a fantastic article a year or so ago about a high school cross country team who ran way fewer miles during the week but were tearing it up at meets and staying uninjured due to replacing more frequent runs with cross training on the bike. #itsscience

So, Class Pass + Off Season = Spin Class for Suz. Spin Class for Suz = Flywheel. 

flywheel nevercoast suzlyfe

Now, what about Soul Cycle, you ask? Glad that you did. I did try Soul Cycle, but I promised you that I would wait until I went back before giving you my final answer about it. Even so, the more I think about it, regardless of the instructor, I think I understand enough about Soul Cycle to know why it isn’t the right class for me. I would like to return before doing a full review, however. So instead of doing a full up comparison of Flywheel vs Soul Cycle or any others, I am going to talk about why Flywheel is a good fit for me, as well as how you might be able to manipulate it to work for you if you had misgivings.

Here we go:

Flywheel Spinning Class in a Nutshell (from their website):

[Class] lasts 45 or 60 minutes and includes climbs and descents, while working arms with weighted bars…. It’s an amazing escape that challenges your body and relaxes your mind… Our music playlists are choreographed to each class and make the time fly…. Our instructors lead the way, suggesting target resistance levels and RPM’s to strive for. But YOU decide exactly what’s right for you by controlling the technology on your bike.

Your stats for every ride will be recorded and made available in your private account on our website. You’ll see your own metrics for every ride you take with Flywheel, including RPM’s, Torq, Speed, Power, Distance and Estimated Calories. This will allow you to set your own goals and measure your performance over time.

Why Flywheel is Unique to other Spin Classes:

  • Torq Board, which provides a “leaderboard” type of experience.
  • The “Technology” on the bike refers to mini bike computers on each bike that show your “torque,” or resistance, RPMs (your cadence, or rotations per minute of the foot pedals), your current (like wattage on a treadmill, this is your power output), and total (the amount of work you have amassed). 
  • Instructors often incorporate mini “races” of 30-60 seconds into their workouts, where you try to max out for that amount of time.
  • The studios are in the round so you always feel like you have enough space to get in/out–this is very much appreciated!

Why Flywheel works for me:

  • As someone who is, yes, competitive, I do like seeing my little Suzlyfe moniker pop up on the torque board. But I tell you what: often I am pedaling my little brains out and by the end of that 30 second race, I couldn’t care less.
  • I love the use of the music and the beat to help you find your cadence.
Happy dance version, not post-spin version.

Happy dance version, not post-spin version.

  • I like the mixture of “flats,” “hills,” “active rests,” “shocks,” arms, a final interval, and then a stretch. Variety makes the time fly!
  • I like the immediate feedback provided by the bike computer. Because I do not have one otherwise, I like to be able to set myself up properly–> like a treadmill, you are doing this at this speed and this incline. And I love seeing progress over the weeks–I’ve noticed that I’m much stronger and better at certain resistances and stances than before! And on Wednesday, I actually led the class! It was a small class, but still. 
  • I am able to tailor my ride to my day and my body. I had a morning where I had signed up for a class and honestly would have preferred to rest, but I was stubborn and went regardless. So my legs weren’t as fresh, I couldn’t go as hard. But I still followed the workout, took note of the change in my performance, and reduced the resistance as necessary–this was my ride, for me. This past time? I was feeling good, feeling great, so I increased the resistance.

fist pump

  • I like the way the instructors do the arms section. As a personal trainer, I know when I see crap, I know how fast and such that you should be doing the reps, and I appreciate tempo for what it can do. In my opinion, the instructors use appropriate tempo, form cues, and integration of isometric as well as dynamic movements to get the most out of the section. This was a big issue for me at Soul Cycle, which I did not think did it properly.
  • I like the businesslike but still fun and open approach of the Flywheel crew. They are serious about what they do, but they don’t take themselves seriously, and they truly love what they are doing. There are some instructors that I like more than others, but isn’t that always the case? Regardless, I have been pleased with all of my classes. 
  • The staff is incredibly helpful and check in with everyone as they come in to make sure that bikes are fitted properly.

Why Some People take Issue with Flywheel:

  • They get caught up in the competition and feel pressure from the Torq Board.
  • They get nervous about not being able to keep up with the instructor’s guidance of RPMs or Torque/resistance.
  • Music is too loud.
  • People feel intimidated by the bike.

kimmy spirit cycle

My Suggestions for Negating those “issues”:

Torque Board:

  • If you think that you are going to get needlessly caught up in the competition, don’t give them a username to put on the board. Your name simply won’t show up.
  • Ask to be put on a bike all the way to the side (so that you only have one person at your side). Because the screens face out, you will find that you don’t see them much. 
  • Realize that the Torqboards are only “active” for pieces of the classs–sometimes only 2-3 times, and for only 20 or so seconds each time. 

Nerves about keeping up with RPMs and such:

  • This is your workout–scale it appropriately. I know that leg turnover (cadence) is a struggle for me, especially out of the saddle. So I do the best I can, and I love seeing my improvement when I am more easily able to get to or maintain an RPM goal.
  • Guidelines. Safety is first and foremost. Don’t pull something. Your workout, your ride, push yourself just enough to improve, but also know that the RPMs are there to help you when you are, let’s be honest, getting lazy.

Music:

  • Simple–they provide ear plugs. Plus, there are themed rides.

Intimidation Factor:

  • If you can walk into a gym and ask where a locker room is, you can ask for help at Flywheel. Ask for help with your bike, talk to your instructor. 
Herky, be my heeeroo!

Herky, be my heeeroo!

Bottom Line: Flywheel works for me.

I like the approach, the workout format, and the execution, which I feel they do with proper form, guidance, and they aren’t preachy. Also, they don’t belittle your effort or lack of pain, as a certain instructor at the Soul Cycle class did–which you know that I take offense to as someone who came to the class IN A WALKING BOOT–and again, I realize that every instructor is different.

I respect that Soul Cycle is a “dance party” to some. But in my mind, if I am coming to a class, I am coming for work–if I wanted to flagrant about, I can do that on my own time. Or go to a dance party. I didn’t feel like I got as much out of my ride at Soul Cycle because of lack of feedback from the bike. 

I respect that I am able to turn the voice in my head off when I see someone beside me doing better. The Torqboard doesn’t bother me–it inspires me to know that more can be achieved! Like, how on earth did that person accomplish that much! You go, Glen Coco!

spot me dog

Want another opinion? Check out Erin’s and Lauren’s recent reviews of Soul Cycle. And then go out and try for yourself. 

How @flywheel gets it right + tips to make it work for you! #fitfluential #nevercoast via @suzlyfe Click To Tweet

What workout are you a fan of? Are you able to get as much out of your workout when you don’t have that feedback?

Dance party, or workout party?

Who’s joining the biker gang? T-shirts? I call the blue bike!

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