Ivor O’Connor

February 18, 2009

Bitchy Rant: 24 hour spin classes

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 6:59 pm

For the sake of completeness I’ll rant on something that bothers me.

It’s not really the fault of the instructors. When something is this bad, consistently, across all the clubs, it points upward. The instructors must be getting trained horribly. I’m not a biker by any means. Real bikers I can’t keep up with. I just want a good work out with honest instructors to motivate me.

What’s a decent job? There are several criteria. I’ll try to list them.

The instructor must be walking the walk. Not just talking. All the instructors pretend. It’s part of the show. They’ll say to imagine you are going up a steep hill in a race for instance. They’ll make a big deal of how difficult it is to push through. How do you spot this? Sometimes it is as obvious as noting how the crank spins freely when they jump off the bike to attend to something without first touching the knob! More often you’ll notice they reach back, grab their bottle, and take a break without having to lower their force. When you see such disconnects you should report it. At least make them into better actors so you don’t get discouraged as easily.

The instructors get off the bike and start walking around! Come on. I was brash enough to call one instructor on this. In stunned disbelief he asked me to repeat myself. I told him if he wants to motivate us he should get on the bike and participate. I never saw him again. He was a temp and fortunately when the class was asked about him several people less harshly echoed what I had told him.

Excessive RPMs. Some of the instructors like to twitch on the bike. They seem to think twitching as fast as somebody might play a drum solo is somehow a good thing. The worst I’ve ever seen wasn’t a 24 hour instructor. Still 24 hour instructors will jump on bikes and start doing 130RPM plus stuff. There’s a certain RPM range that’s healthy. I’ve heard on the tour de france the RPMs have gradually moved up to an average of about 90. The reason being this puts most of the strain on the cardiovascular system which can take the abuse hour after hour for days. Unlike your leg muscles which will freeze up if you try to hammer at 60RPM for any length of time. Maybe if the instructor kept the RPMs somewhere between 70 and 110 things would be much better.

Music that does not match what the instructor is telling the class to do. Why can’t an instructor find music that has a beat matching the RPMs? And music that will motivate the class. Not the latest teenage music you’d make your kids turn off. Remember the music is suppose to motivate the class.

Some dialog. There was a YMCA that got this spot on. A large segment of the class knew each other. The instructors would say hi and ask people how things were going. You’d find out who had gone on which races over the weekend. Who won what. What events were going to be taking place over the weekend. Ride sharing info. Parties being given. What the surrounding club rides were doing at the various levels. What people should know in general that might affect them. None of this goes on at the 24hr fitness clubs. Perhaps they just don’t know what it could be like.

Poorly maintained equipment. You’d think a wobbly crank would be fixed immediately. No such luck. It’s more likely that they’ll replace all the equipment with new bikes than simply tighten up the cranks! Unbelievable.

Small enclosed rooms where they put the bikes in rectangular school class formations rather than in a big circle.

Anyways, that’s it for my bitchy rant. I always gravitate to the “toughest” classes but really there are no such things at 24hr fitness clubs. Instead you just put up with them until you get disgusted with yourself. Then you’ve got to make your own bike workouts or join a bike club and spend your time transporting, cleaning, and freezing at strange hours. It’s too bad 24hr fitness doesn’t get with the program.

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