My First Flywheel Class- Center City Philadelphia

This morning I found myself at Flywheel for my first class. The great thing about Flywheel is that they let you take your first class for free! So I just made an account and was able to book this class without putting in any credit card information (win!)

I’ve taken spin classes at a local gym in the past and loved them. That was about 2 years ago and I was riding my bike everyday as well as taking spin classes. AKA my butt had built up a resistance to the pain of sitting in the saddle (bike seat). This was not the case this time.

Warning: If you are taking your first spin class and do not regularly ride a bike, get ready for some serious butt pain. Like, serious.

I’m going to be honest, I didn’t love Flywheel. Something just didn’t click for me. I think the instructor was great. The music was okay. The bikes were pretty awesome though! Let me start from the beginning.

First of all, I don’t know about you, but I get nervous when I go to a new gym/studio for the first time. I never really know what to expect, so let me share what the Center City Philadelphia Flywheel is like.

When you walk in you see a lot of merchandise you can buy.

I wasn’t really drawn to the merch. I’m much more all about bright colors and strappy tanks. I checked in with the front desk and told them it was my first time. If I’m being picky about it, I felt like the welcome wasn’t totally warm.

When trying out a new studio (that most people are paying $$$ for) I want some royal treatment. I want to be proudly shown around the studio and warmly welcomed. I want them to sell me on the studio. The staff was completely helpful and friendly, don’t get me wrong! But I just wish they could have put me at ease just a little bit more. But once again, I might be just a little picky.

I want to be the Katy Perry

The woman at the front desk signed me in and showed me the touch screen tablets that I would sign into if I were a regular (very high tech). She then gave me the pair of clip-in cycling shoes that had been put in my Bike 11 cubby (the bike I booked when I booked the class online). When you sign up for a class, they ask you for your shoe size, so they can hook you up with the shoes in your cubby when you come in.

I was then shown to the lockers (I don’t know if they have a locker room, I was just shown to some lockers that were in the main room/ waiting area). The lockers are the kind that you type a code into and that’s how you lock them. Somehow, I couldn’t figure them out, even while reading the directions and doing it step by step.

Locker- 1; Sarah- 0

Once it was time to go into the room, one of the women from the front desk helped me adjust my bike and clip my shoes in. I had never used clip-in shoes and it took me (and the woman) an embarrassingly long time to clip in.

I felt a little embarrassed because it screamed “NEWBIE” to everyone. Noticing that I was new, the instructor came over once I was clipped in and showed me the different part of the bike.

Each bike has a kind of speedometer (Torq meter I think they call it???) that tells you your resistance, your RPM, your place in class, and your total energy (or something like that). Each class has a TV screen that updates the stats of the top 10 bikers in each class (if you choose to sign up for the board).

I’m not going to lie, getting to the start of class felt a little daunting. Once class started it was fun, but it was tough! Flywheel says it’s for all fitness levels, but I will say, if you don’t have some type of cardiovascular conditioning, it might be really hard for you. Sure, you can always turn your Torq (resistance) down to make it easier, but that felt like a cop-out to me.

The drills went along with the music, which is typical for most spin classes, but I just didn’t feel the same intensity that I used to feel in my old spin classes. The instructor also stayed on her bike the whole time, which, I’m not sure if that’s the norm for Flywheel, but I really liked when my old spin instructor would walk around the room (and kinda yell in your face to motivate you).

I will say that I got a great workout in! I sweated like crazy and I would definitely make sure you grab a towel before you start!

I was super happy about getting in a great workout this morning, but I can’t see myself craving to go back anytime soon. Flywheel carries the hefty price tag of $25 a class, which just doesn’t seem worth it to me. Oh well, I will continue my search of more fun fitness classes in Philly!

Have you ever tried Flywheel? Or another cycling studio? What are your thoughts?

Visiting an Old Favorite & Trying New Things

This morning was AWESOME! Why, do you ask? Because I started off my morning with a Lithe Method class. If you’ve been a looooong time reader of the blog, then you know that I used to do Lithe Method religiously. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I did a blog post on it here. But, Lithe is expensive $$$$$ and I just couldn’t swing the price tag anymore, so I stopped and instead moved on to Tone It Up and then added in Kayla Itsines’s BBG and Ballet Beautiful.

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My new trainers

But last night I had A MOMENT. I’ve been running around town looking for a dress to wear to my friend’s wedding, and I have hated how I look in EVERYTHING. I was feeling especially low about myself last night and decided that it was time to make a change.

First, I decided to do the Tone It Up 7 Day Slim Down from the nutrition plan. This is a pretty rigid diet plan, but you see extreme results. Last time I did it, I lost 4 lbs. I know that it’s not always healthy to lose that much weight that quickly (and the plan mirrors that message) but I have been at a weight loss plateau (and an eating funk) for about a month now, and I decided it was time to recommit!

Next, I started looking up local fitness classes I could sign up for. I usually workout from home. I have everything I need and it’s nice to not have to travel to get my workout in. Plus the best part is that I don’t pay any membership fees (save for the monthly fee I am paying now to try out Ballet Beautiful’s full streaming library, which I am LOVING).

The things that I don’t always like about working out from home are:

1. Needing to be quiet- I live on a 3rd floor apartment and I don’t want my downstairs neighbor to completely hate me (though he’s been known to play his music at unreasonably loud levels, so it would even out ;) )

2. Not always pushing myself hard enough- I usually push myself harder when I am in front of a class of people.

So I decided to sign up for a few classes around town to give me that extra workout edge. First, I signed up for a Flywheel class because your first class is free! Next I signed up for a Body Cycle class because your first ride is free there too! Double yay!

Then I perused a few other Philadelphia studios and decided that I would definitely be trying Thrive Pilates and Focus Barre and Yoga eventually. But then I found my way back to Lithe.

I decided to scope out their workout schedule and saw that my favorite instructor, Meredith, was teaching one of my favorite classes, Freestyle, at my favorite time to take a class, 7:00AM. Plus, where I am living now is a 5 minute walk away from Lithe! I wavered about paying the (steep to me) $22 single class fee, but eventually decided to treat myself to it.

And I’m so glad I did.

It felt great getting back into the Lithe studio today. The class this morning was a fun, challenging, toning, dance-y workout that combined two of my favorite classes:

Cinch- which had my legs shaking and my abs burning

Barlesque- a sexy, high cardio dance/toning hybrid

I was dripping sweat by the end of class and felt reinvigorated. There’s nothing quite like a great workout to make you want to eat well and stay active for the rest of the day!

I won’t be a Lithe regular again anytime soon (my paycheck wouldn’t permit that anyway). But it’s great knowing that every so often, I can splurge, and treat myself to a class. It’s also great knowing that I still got it ;)

Do you have any studios or classes that you treat yourself to?

Leprechaun 5 Miler Race Recap

Also known as: the race I almost didn’t run, but thank goodness I did. Also known as: the race I took Uber to.

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Alright, so let me paint this picture for you. The race started at 9AM and the start was 1.3 miles from my home. It was cold (about 42 degrees) and rainy. I woke up that morning, having barely done any real training for the race, and immediately thought about not showing up.

It was cold. And I was tired. And I didn’t have a plan of how to get to the race. And I couldn’t find my SpiBelt to stash all my things in.

^  TL;DR- I didn’t want to race.

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Charging my Garmin and music the morning of. I was so prepared.

But, once my loving boyfriend informed me that I was, indeed, going to run and I was going to do great (which I didn’t believe) I decided to call myself an Uber (the race provided a code for a free Uber ride!) I even treated myself to a black car (instead of Uber X) because my first ride was freeeeeee!

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Pro Tip: Put your hair in a bun if it’s going to be rainy, otherwise your hair will be one giant dreadlock. Also, I don’t like braid ponies because they whip me in my face. #wannabeballarina

I tried out a new bib placement since it would have been too bulky with my jacket if I placed it on my torso. I didn’t have any problems with it being on my leg, in fact, I really liked having it there!

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When I got there, everyone seemed super excited about the race.

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Just kidding, we all hung out under a bridge near the start until the MC begged us all to come over to the start line at 8:50.

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My people. *PS the race posted pictures, but the link isn’t working, so I may have pictures at some point, but until then, just enjoy my photography skills. I call this one “Lone Volunteer in the Slow-ish Corral”

Special shout out to all of the volunteers who made this event possible. It sucks to run in the rain, but it’s gotta suck more to stand/ volunteer in it.

My whole race strategy (which I came up with on my way to the race) was to keep it steady for the first 3 miles and then try to pick up the pace on the last 2. It was an out and back course which I like (sometimes) because then you know exactly what is coming. Plus, you get to see the super fast people on their way back, while you’re still chugging along.

I thought I was totally going to crash during this race. Miles 2 & 3 felt hard while mile 4 stretched on F O R E V E R. But going into the 5th mile I realized I still had some energy in me!

These 2 girls in tutus and I had been neck and neck for a while, but into the last mile they made a surge to pass me. I thought about letting them pass, but then I remembered what my old cross country coach (whom I hated, just to be clear) used to say: “If someone makes a surge to pass you, stay on them, chances are they’re just surging to pass you, then they’ll slow down again, and you’ll be stuck staring at their back for the rest of the race.”

So I surged with them. And I’m so glad I did. It gave me the mental edge to keep pushing myself hard for that last mile. Eventually, in the last 400, I picked up my pace even more and left both of the tutu ladies behind and sprinted for the end.

My last mile was 8:45/mile.

My official finishing time was 45:37.53. 9:07/mile

That’s a PR for me! I mean, this was my first 5 miler, so anything would have been a PR, but that pace is close to last year’s 5K pace for me, so that’s exciting!

My Garmin’s timing was a little slower because I started it a hair too soon and ended it after I crossed the finish line, but it was ON POINT (or do we say “on fleek” now?) in the distance category. And the race started exactly on time.

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So many round numbers. Some obsessive people have to be happy about this picture.

So, the moral of this story is, sometimes we can surprise ourselves, and sometimes, running the races that we don’t want to run, are the ones we should run the most. Also, I really like the 5 mile distance :-p

Have you ever totally not wanted to run but then ended up doing amazing?