When A Fitness Class Goes Wrong

Flywheel Review
Archie’s signature move. Also possibly begging me not to leave him to go to the gym.

Today I’m going to share a little story about the worst workout class I’ve ever taken. This happened just a few weeks ago and while I’m fairly sure that this is not indicative of all classes in this studio franchise, it doesn’t look great on them either.

So I had ClassPass and decided to give Flywheel a try. Flywheel (as you may know) is a spin class where the bikes are set up in a small stadium like setting, the room is dark, the music is loud, and the instructor is part DJ part drill sargent. It’s like SoulCycle for people with no soul (JK but we all know I couldn’t handle the souliness of SoulCycle).

I’d debated trying it for a while and since I’d never loved a spin class before, I worried this would be no different. I had a friend who raved about it and I decided to give an evening class a try. Of note, it’s not like I’m out of shape. I’d run a half marathon 3.5 weeks earlier.

When I arrived at Flywheel Philadelphia the first thing I noticed was that it was hot. Like, too hot. Hot yoga hot. The class before mine was just letting out and I thought, well maybe it’s just that and the air will kick on. I approached the desk and told the woman behind the desk that it was my first class and confirmed that it was okay to take while pregnant (my doctor gave me the okay but I always like to make sure they know, just in case). She said yes, gave me my shoes, and told me which bike was assigned to me. She said someone would be in shortly to help me set it up. Cool.

As I put my shoes on I notice that the whole place definitely has a culty vibe. You know, everyone exiting the previous class is super jazzed about it and their all wearing their gear and whatnot. Maybe I’m just intimidated but it seemed really like a cult following situation.

I head in to the studio and a nice guy comes in and helps me set my bike up. I tell him I’m pregnant and he makes some additional adjustments to accommodate and make sure I’m not stressing my back. He shows me how to clip my shoes in to my bike and leaves.

Please note that during set up I was never told how to unclip my shoes. This might seem silly if you’ve never seen these shoes before (I hadn’t) but they’re metal on the bottom and feel very secure once they’re buckled in.

Class starts. A thin, attractive female instructor hops up on the center bike and starts adjusting the music and whatnot on her DJ stuff (no idea what this is really called). Throughout the class she kind of dances while she cycles and I’ve literally never in my life imagined that someone could be so in to spinning. Blew my mind.

I realize quickly that no air has kicked on and the temperature has not decreased at all. I’ve got a towel and a full bottle of water and I’m holding out hope for that air. About 20 minutes in to class, it’s clear that no air is coming. It’s absurdly hot and we’re really getting in to the intense part of class.

I start to wonder if what I’m doing is safe for me at 18 weeks pregnant. The one thing I’ve been told over and over again was not to get dehydrated. At this point I’ve polished off my water and have wiped sweat from my body several times.

I consider leaving and briefly worry about the shame of leaving a fitness class early (something I’ve never done) when it occurs to me…I don’t know how to leave class early. I can’t get my freaking feet off the pedals because I’m clipped in and I have no idea how to unclip them! This would have been kind of comical if I wasn’t slightly scared that I was harming my unborn child. Still, I kind of smirk at the thought that I’m literally trapped.

I reduced my resistance to almost nothing and just try to focus on breathing and brainstorming how to get out of the class. It briefly occurred to me that I could un-velcro the shoes and just walk out in socks but I was a bit dizzy and bending over that far kind of made me nervous (and I felt silly). At one point I pondered swinging my towel around my head rapidly to get the instructors attention. That seemed mortifying and disruptive but trust me, the more faint I felt, the more it seemed like a good idea.

I also at some point realized that the bike they’d assigned me to was also the furthest from the door. Come on, Flywheel. I told you I was pregnant and had never taken a class before and you knew damn right well that your AC was broken and you put the pregnant girl all the way across the room from the exit? Even if I had un-velcroed and walked out barefoot I was nervous of being accidentally clipped by someone mid cycle as I tried to scoot out gracefully between the other bikes. It’s tight quarters in there.

I start to feel a little claustrophobic. I can’t get off my bike. I can’t get to the exit. I’m worried I’m going to pass out. I basically coast the rest of the class while alternating between thoughts of all the angry things I’m going to say in my ClassPass review and worrying about my baby boy. But I’m telling you, if I hadn’t been pregnant I would have thought this whole thing was pretty funny.

At the end of class the instructor tells us how to unclip our shoes and it’s so stupid easy that I feel like a complete moron for not just messing with them more to figure it out.

So yeah, FlyWheel did not go well for me. I have since read in the reviews on ClassPass that the fans/AC being broken is a common occurrence at the Philly location which honestly fills me with so much rage. If they knew their AC/fans were broken, I should have been told that maybe today wasn’t the day to take a class 18 weeks pregnant. I honestly think it was too hot for non-pregnant people too.

I realize that was a bit of a rant but I’ve honestly never had a bad experience at a workout class until now with the exception of maybe a Zumba class that had sucky music. I’ve since decided that maybe now isn’t the time to try a ton of new classes so I’m sticking with what I know I enjoy and feel comfortable with – PureBarre.

Have you ever taken a workout class that just sucked? Do tell.

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  • Cara

    I am not a Flywheel OR SoulCycle fan. It is too hot and the bikes are so close together and the music is dangerously loud. For someone who’s fiance has had surgery on both ears and I know too much about hearing and damaging your hearing, the music is too loud. I dropped my water bottle once in a class like that and couldn’t get it all class because you can’t really bend over and grab it and you can’ t really get off of a bike and move around with people pedaling right next to you like that. I absolutely love spin and do it every night, but CityFit has a great not crazy hardcore spin class like these trendy studios. That also is not “cycling” and there isn’t much proof that the up and down and bending of your arms does anything for your upper body. It is all cardio.

  • wow! I’m glad you didn’t pass out. Bad call on their front desk people not telling you about the AC.

  • Its comical how you wrote it but I can imagine how scary it was. I once took a class called “Body Blast” and to this day it can be counted as my first near death experience. terrible.

  • Lauren Harrelson

    Just the IDEA of flywheel makes me stabby. Exercise in the DARK? And I def agree with the cult-y thing. No thanks. …similarly I feel the same ab crossfit…

  • That’s terrifying. I can’t even imagine what it must have been felt like pregnant. I’m so sorry you had to go through that…. Flywheel has a cult following here, but it’s never felt like something I needed to try. You just reaffirmed that for me. 😉

  • Kelly

    I am SO sorry it went so poorly – I LOVE Flywheel and go once a week but I have actually walked out once when the AC was broken because it is hot in there even when it is working! Again, so so sorry!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

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