If you are like me, dear reader, you have the urge to eschew all white food and start a new fitness regime every year around Jan. 1. A few weeks later I’m plagued by inevitable backsliding, potato roots growing deep into the sofa.
But last year I decided to try SpinZone, Springfield’s first and only indoor cycling studio. Imagine my surprise when I started looking forward to exercise sessions. I would climb into the saddle of a stationary bicycle eagerly anticipating the first trickle of sweat rolling down my forehead. The atmosphere was like a party where everyone is up and dancing, but with no intoxicants except adrenaline and endorphins. The room was dimly lit, pumped-up music pounded out a beat, and a light machine flashed colors across the walls and ceiling. It wasn’t long before I wanted more and signed up for harder classes. I have to confess: spinning was fun, spinning felt so good, and I am still spinning a year later – totally “hooked.”
A glance through fitness magazines and websites shows that I am not alone in my addiction to this relatively new form of exercise. In fact, the popularity of spinning is, well, spinning out of control. Spinning is group exercise on stationary bicycles with an instructor guiding participants through warm-ups, hill climbs, sprints, weight training and other exercises. Riders can expect to burn 400 to 800 calories in a 45-minute session. Mostly an aerobic form of exercise, spinning also builds muscle just like regular cycling, but comparing the two activities is like comparing apples to oranges. On a spin bike the rider controls the ease or difficulty of the pedaling by turning the resistance control. Outdoor cycling is a little more inconsistent, subject to the road conditions, the wind and the weather. Neither snow, nor rain, nor dark of night are valid excuses for missing a SpinZone workout.
The dynamo behind SpinZone is owner Shelly Devos. Shelly was a fitness instructor at a local gym when she got the idea to start a spin studio. Her job at the gym came with limitations: basic, uncomfortable bikes, large class sizes and monotonous routines. Her brother in New York began telling her about the fun he was having spinning at Soul Cycle, which, incidentally, has some great videos on YouTube. Given the rising momentum of interest in spinning and her love of physical fitness, her motivational skills and her marketing degree, Shelly decided it was time.
SpinZone opened at 3740 Wabash Ave. in Springfield on Jan. 23, 2013. Not one for half measures, Shelly spent nearly a year planning every detail. The name “SpinZone” came from a contest Shelly sponsored on Facebook. She chose Evo stationary cycles because they sway naturally with each pedal stroke, just like a road bicycle helping to tone the rider’s midsection. Melissa Klem, who teaches the Morning Boot Camp class at 5:45 a.m., was the first instructor hired at the studio. Most of the coaches are fitness professionals, but five of them are former SpinZone clients. Shelly puts all of her instructors through tons of training, making sure they know CPR, proper form on the bikes, and how to prevent injuries. Daily 45-60-minute classes are scheduled from the wee hours of the morning until 6:30 p.m., with three sessions recently added on Sunday. Shelly keeps things lively by offering challenges, and rewards for achieving goals. She encourages the instructors with new moves and music. Her bubbly enthusiasm is reflected in every aspect of SpinZone.
So, at the risk of possible addiction, I encourage anyone to try SpinZone. Choose the “Spin Intro 101” or a “Rookie” class if you are a beginner. For a challenge, try Shelly’s “Ultimate 75-Minute Workout.” New to the lineup is “Forever Young 59.9+” tailored for seniors. The website, spinzonestudio.com makes reserving a seat for a spin session very easy. Go to SpinZoneStudio on Facebook for the latest news. Dress for sweat, prepare for fun!
Cyd LaBonte is co-owner of Bicycle Doctor, along with her husband, Robert LaBonte.
She can be reached at 670-0761 or go to www.springfieldbicycledoctor.com.