Monday, May 28, 2012

No Newbies in the Front Row! - Janet Fitzgerald at Soul Cycle

I've known it to happen but it had never happened to me. Until this particular class. Where I was reprimanded for being out of sync in my spin class. Let me back-track.

Janet Fitzgerald is one of Soul Cycle's most popular instructors and has a devoted following on both coasts. Her classes are booked solid so when I stumbled upon a lone front row bike in one of her classes I jumped on the chance. In hindsight I should have done my homework where I would have learned that Janet does not like first-timers to her class to sit in the front row. Regardless, I was too pumped to think twice about it.

When I got to the Tribeca studio and started bike set-up Janet came up to me and warmly introduced herself. She then introduced me to my fellow riders to my right and left. Nice gesture! After that she asked if I was going to be okay up front with the rhythm. "Sure thing, I have been spinning for years!" I replied, thinking how sweet she was for coming up and introducing herself.  Later, I realized that I was probably the only one in the front row whom she did not recognize, and so my 'newbie to Janet's class' status was plastered all over my face!

Janet Fitzgerald Source

I'm all about rhythm and I respect that if synchrony is not your forte then you shouldn't be sitting up front. In this class the pace was very fast, faster than what I was used. So yes, I was soon out of sync. Everyone's right foot had to hit the pedal at the exact moment. No exceptions. A few minutes into class and I was called out for being out of sync. My left foot was pedaling when my right foot should have. Crap. I managed to sync up but it happened again. And I was called out again. Oh dear. In my defense, I was syncing up with the person sitting next to me, not realizing he was going on his own beat. But alas, being the newbie, the focus was on me.

Nevertheless, the class was fun. Really tough. Janet is disciplined and so it makes you want to focus all your energy on the ride. The music was cool, and different from the more recent Soul classes I have taken - there was some Alanis, some heavy metal, not a lot of remixed dance tunes. There was a good amount of the upper body choreography that is typical of a Soul class. And as I mentioned above, the pace, for the majority of the class was very fast.

After class Janet told me that I needed a little bit more practice to ride up in the front. She said it with a big smile and twinkle in her eye, and it made me chuckle. A part of me was thinking, "It's JUST exercise!" But the other part of me got it. Janet's front row is the equivalent of an advanced Soul Cycle class. You have to work your way to it. It's her class and those are her rules and I respect that. Janet, I'll be back, and next time I promise I'll be in sync!

Question: Do you ever notice if the front-row riders are out of sync in a spin class? Does it affect your energy levels when the people around you in an exercise class are taking it easy?