Thursday, March 29, 2012

Front-Row Center: Soul Cycle with Charlee Atkins

Front-row center. The most clamored-after spot in a spin studio. When I first started spinning years ago at my local Crunch, I wasted many an hour as I would jet over to the gym right after work, elbowing slow-moving pedestrians out of the way, in order to sign up for my favorite bike an hour prior to class. I would then spend the next hour leafing through a magazine while speed-walking on the treadmill, patiently waiting for my class to start.  It was a colossal waste of time.

Much time has passed and I am now much less rigid about where I sit in the spin studio. However, over the past week, I have ventured away from my comfortable spot in the back and made my way to the front. Not just front, but front-row center and I can tell you, that I kind of like it again! It is, without a doubt, the best spot. You have a clear view of the instructor. Knowing that the energy of the front-row riders disseminates through the class keeps you on track. And pedaling in front of the mirror and seeing how bad-ass you look can only make you want to push yourself harder!


This afternoon I made my way down to Union square to take a front-row center class with Charlee Atkins at Soul Cycle. Charlee is one of Soul's newer instructors but the word on the spin circuit is that she's a fierce contender for soon-to-be rock-star status. After taking this class I can see why. The girl is a petite dynamo who worked the packed room like it was nobody's business. While on the bike she was spinning as hard as she was demanding her followers to do so. When off the bike she fluidly moved around, at times dancing wildly, and at other times coming straight up to riders to individually motivate them. The collective energy in the room propelled us all on and it was no doubt that it all diffused from Charlee.

The music was great. Lots of remixes. She played some Kanye. She played the Prodigy's "Firestarter" (probably one of my all-time  favorite songs to spin to). At one point she made us sprint to Crazy Town's "Butterfly" on a double beat which gets challenging, to say the least. "It's only temporary," she championed us on, "It's always temporary." Pedaling away in Charlee's line of vision pushed me to stick to the beat. Soul Cycle is all about the beat and I certainly did not want to to disappoint her! Before I knew it class was over and I have yet another amazing instructor to somehow fit into my workout schedule.