Sunday, September 23, 2012

Class Review: Pedal at Pedal NYC with Mr. Ray

I've read that you should do one thing a day that scares you. I can always check that off my list when I go to a new fitness class. I get nervous when I go to new studios or try new classes. Will I feel out of place? Will I be able to handle the workout? Will I look like an ass because I'm out of sync with the class? But mainly, I just feel a nameless anxiety about facing something new.

I'd put off going to Pedal NYC, despite having a great deal via LivingSocial, because I had a miserable experience in Summer 2011 at a Soul Cycle class. I hadn't worked out in months, but my boyfriend's co-worker had raved about the cycling studios, so we decided to give it a shot. It didn't go well. I had never taken a spin class, and I didn't understand the flow of how they worked. My shoes kept coming off the clips--one time I actually fell halfway off the bike--and it took me forever to get back on. In retrospect, there's no way I was ready for such an intense workout. I'm planning on giving Soul Cycle another try someday, just to be fair to them. But I know for sure that my experience at Pedal was totally different.

the studio has an awesome courtyard that apparently gets used when the weather is good!

Mr. Ray
Although I was slightly scared of Mr. Ray at first, (I rarely take classes with male instructors since my favorite studios are Uplift, women-only, and Physique 57, which is pretty female-oriented), Ray immediately calmed any fears I might have had as he was very friendly and helped me set up my bike, explaining how he'd lead the class. Ray was awesome, tough but encouraging. Totally the kind of instructor I like. Pushing me hard but not in an aggressive, mean way. At no point did I want to throw something at him (well, maybe on the last hill when he told us to amp up the resistance even more...)

ok, so male instructors can be friendly, clearly
Ray was also great about clearly explaining what we're were doing. During breaks, he'd explain the next set, then remind us as we started it. As a newcomer to spin, it made it really easy to follow along and keep up. I appreciate an instructor who gives me the gameplan ahead of time because it also motivates me: "ok, we just finished the second hill, so we have two more to go." When I don't know how much more I might have to do, I'm more likely to take a break thinking we're going longer than we will be. I also love a good countdown to keep me going, and Ray did lots of "20 more seconds! 10! 8! 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!"

Class Format
The class had a great structure. Started with a short warm-up, then sprint intervals. Another short break before we did hop-ups in intervals and then hills. We finished with an epic combination of all three, repeated twice. It was rough, but Ray's constant motivation to stick with him got me through.

the spin studio
The music was a good mix, although a tad loud at times (but I'm basically a 60 year old and don't like loud music so I'm not sure most people would agree with me on this). I'm a sucker for a good beat and Ray included plenty in his playlist.

The Studio
The studio is a bit far unless you live in the development on Riverside Boulevard (which I used to -- bummed this place wasn't there back then!). It's basically on the River at 61st St. However, I think it's worth the walk. Small studio with lots of personal attention, cool classes (I want to try the combination kettle ball and TRX class), and a chill vibe. Pedal also does a cool thing where you get an entry into one of three drawings (your choice - class, training session, or backpack) every time you take a class.

coffee, hot chocolate, and snacks - this would be perfect before heading out into a cold fall day! 

Lockers have keys, which I always appreciate, but unfortunately there are no showers. Since you WILL be sweating, it's not a place you could go on a lunch break (but I think they realize that since their classes are currently scheduled for weekday mornings and evenings only). This wasn't an issue since a torrential rainstorm started during class and I was completely soaked after walking a block away from the studio. There are also complimentary snacks and hot beverages for post-class fueling.

Bottom line
I really liked Pedal NYC's studio, and I'm excited to try a few more classes. I've already booked a seat for Tuesday's spin class with Mr. Ray!

Class - Pedal (spinning)

Instructor - Ray Wallace ("Mr. Ray")
Length - 45 minutes
Cost - $30 (less if you buy a pack)
Location - Upper West Side (61st Street and West End, around the corner from the dry cleaners)
Skill Level - Open to all!

Is there a type of exercise that you'd written off but gave a second chance and really enjoyed?

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