What happens when spinning’s bust-your-butt mentality and yoga’s feel-good spirituality meet? You get the newly added Spivi spinning course at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas led by dynamic duo Jennifer Wellington and Terri Arends.
The Class: After taking my first few steps inside The J, my expectations for this spinning class to be trendy and unique were not particularly high. But Spivi: Spinning the Journey gives members the ability to create personal avatar accounts while watching themselves cycle through various courses on a TV screen overhead — a technological advance I wasn’t necessarily expecting.
The Instructors: Jennifer Wellington, a fitness instructor whose love for spinning began four years ago, instructs with Terri Arends, a group fitness director at The J who leads instructor certifications throughout the US.
Who’s There: In my 9 a.m. class, there were 18 people, ranging in age from 20 to 50 and varying in cycling experience. Some were regulars while others were newcomers to the course.
The Appeal: This virtual spinning experience is one of only two programs of its kind in Dallas. Each cyclist is able to sign in as an avatar before the class. As the course progresses, the avatar cycles through the course on the overhead screen. From scaling the virtual Dolomites to blasting through the sky as a meteor, every class offers a different visual.
What to Wear: Since you’re hunched over a bike and moving at a consistent pace, it’s a safe bet to wear form-fitting pieces. (Beginner’s tip: Wear layers underneath a jacket or pullover. You’ll be working up a sweat and ready to shed a layer or two while powering through).
How It Went: On this particular day, there were bursts of colors on the TV screen as we pedaled along. From light blues to vibrant oranges and reds, the colors indicated the speed of each cyclist’s RPM. The faster you pedal, the brighter the colors — a cycling aura. Although the course itself has its intense moments, the instructors were incredible at creating a fun and open atmosphere. The riders (myself included) were clapping their hands and grooving on the bikes in unison. Some spurts were challenging, but the positive vibes and bumping beats made up for anything I was physically lacking.
The Aftermath: Toward the end of the class, we did a bit of a cool down as the colors on the screen transitioned from bright reds to cool blues and creams. Teri guided us to centering our minds while letting go of any restraints we tend to put on ourselves. To me, this was a refreshing ending to what is often deemed an intense course. As the class came to an end, the screen gave spinners their average watts cycled, total energy produced, elapsed miles, and average RPMs.
Loved: The energy of the room was through the roof. The group was friendly, encouraging, and made you feel as if you had known them your entire life. But it’s important to note that this all stems from the course’s rock star instructors. If ever I felt myself feeling a bit worn out, I would feel Terri’s spirituality and hear Jennifer’s empowering words — the perfect balance.
Disliked: The only complaint I could take away from this class was the fact that we did not stretch beforehand. Five minutes in, I had a cramp in the arch of my foot.
Difficulty Level: It was challenging but definitely doable. The energy from the instructors and fellow cyclists trumped any physical difficulties. If you’re a cycling newbie testing out the Spivi Class, you’ll be welcomed with open arms (and super-toned legs).
Kiana Moridi is a D Magazine intern.