When it comes to working out in Boston, it seems like there are endless options—everywhere you turn, there’s a new studio popping up. For many people, the availability of choices can be almost paralyzing, so it helps when there’s a studio that offers more than just one type of fitness class. Flywheel Boston is a studio in Back Bay that offers both group cycling and barre style classes in Boston.
I recently had the chance to try out a month of Flywheel classes in collaboration with Flywheel Sports, and fell in love with the studio. As a former Spinning instructor, I’m very critical of group cycling classes. Striving to set themselves above the rest, too many studios teach unsafe moves that have no place on a stationary bike. I’m happy to report that Flywheel not only passed muster in my book, but it won me over as well.
Flywheel’s signature Fly45 ride is 45-minutes of interval-based cardio paired with one song of upper body strength training on the bike. For those looking for an endurance workout, FlyBeats is a 45-minute ride that keeps you moving to the beat of the music on your recovery days. Both classes provide a full body workout in a reasonable amount of time.
My favorite thing about the Flywheel classes is that you won’t find any crazy moves in the stadium style room. No handlebar pushups, no crunching your core from side to side, and no rapid-fire tap backs. While these things might not mean much to the novice rider, this is magic to the ears of anyone whose ever almost (or actually) busted their face on or nearly fallen off of a bike while riding at another studio that incorporates bike acrobatics.
Weighted bars are used for an effective upper body workout that keeps your body stable on the bike. If that sounds scary to you, I promise it’s not. The arm workout is a welcome reprieve from an intense class. Keeping up with the class is easy to do, thanks to a TechPack attached to the bike that helps monitor RPMs, Torq (aka resistance), and Current & Total Power.
New riders are encouraged to challenge themselves while riding at their own pace. Riders with a competitive side will love the optional Torq Board, which displays the top ten male and female riders, throughout the class. Individual results of each Flywheel class are tracked and displayed in the Flywheel app, making it easy to keep tabs on your progress.
On the days that you’re looking to give your booty a break from the bike, there’s FlyBarre, a total body sculpting class. The 45-minute classes combine light weight training, dance, and core exercises in an easy to follow group class. FlyBarre focuses on creating strong and lean muscles and is a perfect complement to a cycling class. There are several FlyBarre classes including a 60-minute option, FlyBarre Sport for high-intensity bursts of cardio, and FlyBarre Arms & Abs, the signature FlyBarre class with a focus on these areas of the body.
As someone who suffers from tight hips and intermittent sciatica, both of which are aggravated by the folded position of a cycling class, I appreciated the chance to stretch and strengthen my body in the FlyBarre classes. A failure at Zumba, I was hesitant to try out FlyBarre due to the dance element, but was pleased to discover that the few choreographed moves were easy to keep up with.
One of the best things about Flywheel is the amenities that are available. Towels, lockers, and showers are free to use at the Back Bay location. Mats and bikes are assigned so you don’t have to worry about finding a spot if your train is delayed and can book your spot next to a friend if you’re working out together. Cycling shoes that clip into the Flywheel bikes are provided to give every rider the best possible workout. Not listed on their website, the Flywheel Back Bay location has jars of extra hair elastics and ear plugs, both of which are a nice touch.
Flywheel and FlyBarre Instructors
Anyone who has attended a group fitness class knows that it’s the instructor that makes or breaks the class. At both Flywheel and FlyBarre, the instructors were energetic, motivational, funny, and encouraging. Each instructor brings something different to their class, making every workout consistent in intensity, yet dynamic in spirit.
One of my favorite things about the instructors is that they make an effort to remember you. They’ll introduce themselves to you at your first class and recognize you in subsequent classes, making every person who walks through the doors of Flywheel feel like part of a community. If you’re looking for a way to get into shape this year at a welcoming studio, sign up for your first class for just $15 at Flywheel Boston in Back Bay.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary month of Flywheel classes but all thoughts and opinions are my own.