Monday, March 15, 2010

Product Review: Spinning @ LA Fitness

Alright, alright. So this really isn't a "product" I'm reviewing, but in some ways it really is.

I was recently invited to take a guest tour of a new LA Fitness in my side of Minneapolis, and was given a day pass into the club as well as an appointment with a fitness instructor. I don't have the energy to hear someone tell me my core is weak and my shoulders aren't sculpted, so I opted to go during one of my cross-training Mondays to experiment on my own. My plan was to swim a few laps, check out the free weights and cardio machines, and spy on some of the group classes -- until I realized I didn't have a gym-appropriate swimsuit. Without hopping into a pool, everything else on my agenda would make me look like a creeper if I were solely there to only snoop around.

So, what better way to follow up my first bike ride of 2010 with a Spinning class! (Hey, it was either that or Latin Impact "dance.")
A fine lady named Carolyn (the GM) took me to the Spinning room, fitted me on a bike, and fed me a bunch of drivel on membership deals that are "ending today!!!" I went into this fully knowing that they were going to try to talk me into some deals that are probably ongoing, so I countered their speeches by being fully prepared: I went wearing workout clothes and holding only a water bottle and the key to my bike lock. I didn't bring any money, cards, or a checkbook.

By the end of the class and the full tour of the gym, Carolyn had me signing a paper contract saying I can take the deal (that really did end today) as long as I come back with the initiation fee as soon as I can. She was going to lend me the down payment in the meantime. I would never in a million years accept that, so I ended up biking home, grabbing my wallet, and biking straight back to the gym. You heard me right, my friends: this anti-gym fitness freak just became a full-out gymrat thanks to one over-marketed class. Yupsville.

First off: Spinning.

Immediate addiction. I haven't had that much fun since ... well, since I ran yesterday.

The workout was insanely intense, but I loved that we had the option to set our own bicycle resistance, unlike when I set the computer on my stationary bike in my fitness center. Here, the computer picks my hills and resistance; there, I was in complete control of the seat settings, handlebar settings, and how difficult I wanted to make the invisible hills I was riding. I loved that I really could pick my own pace and difficulty levels.

The instructor was awesome. Her microphone died and she did a wonderful job of screaming at us on the top of her lungs over the music. She kept us active and moving for a full hour with different exercises on the bike. We began with some simple cycling at a low resistance with upper body stretching, worked our way up some huge imaginary hills, did some isolating core and jumping exercises while only moving our legs, went up and down a few more hills, and then did full-out sprints as fast as our little legs would go to the finish line.

Plus, who doesn't like pounding music and working out in the dark?

It was I can't wait to go back! I think I found my new form of cross training. Screw my hipster bike -- I want a Spinning bike!
Apparently I jumped the bandwagon a day or two too late: Minneapolis just set a Guinness World Record for holding the largest-ever Spinning class last week. Now I understand why so many showed up!

Second: LA Fitness

The club in and of itself was only minorly impressive. If it weren't for the awesome membership deal I got, I most definitely would not have joined. Everyone there was very friendly and nice -- I heard more than a few comments that I was cute or that my bright Brooks NightLife sweatshirt that I biked there in was fun. They weren't very successful at buttering up the skeptic in me, but it did help a little.

Other than Spinning, they do have offer a variety of classes, which is what I'll be doing when I go there. I noticed they have dance classes, core classes, yoga, pilates, bootcamp/conditioning, step aerobics, kickboxing, and aquatic classes. My background in dance piques my interest in their hip hop classes ... I would love to see how these white girls dance hip hop in this part of town. Otherwise, I know I need a little ass kicking when it comes to doing more conditioning. I'm terrible at motivating myself to do it.

I also saw three racquetball courts, a basketball court, a three-lane lap pool, sauna, hot tub, tons of cardio machines, and oodles upon oodles of weight machines and free weights. Oh, and oodles upon oodles of really nasty, sweaty gym people kissing their pipes in the mirror.
The gym was very young. Other than the general manager, everyone had to have been under 30. I'm sure that's just because I live in "that" part of town, so it's fitting that the clientele match the dynamics of my neighborhood. I can very clearly see this club as being one of those places where people go to meet other people.

I, however, am on a different agenda.

Must. Have. More. Spinning.

Spinning: 5 out of 5 stars
LA Fitness: 3 out of 5 stars


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