Give More: The Unrelentingly Solid Grant Belton

Grant Belton is just unrelentingly solid. He is so consistent, I sometimes forget how incredibly special that is. The other day, when my workout schedule had gotten completely out of whack, I saw Grant’s name on Flywheel Tribeca’s roster the following day and knew it was exactly what I needed to get me back on track.  Grant’s classes are always just a completely focused, challenging ride but they aren’t showy. He’s not going to distract you from pushing harder and expecting more from yourself, he just calmly asks you “Are you feeling strong? Then give more.

I’ve taken quite a few of Grant Belton’s classes at Flywheel and always walk out completely satisfied and almost always with a new highest score. The other day during class, it suddenly occurred to me that I’d never actually written about one of Grant’s classes. It made me feel like a complete asshole – for one simple reason. I write about the best of the best of the classes I’ve taken and Grant is hands-down one of the best of the best. If you talk to almost any of the other Flywheel instructors, Grant is always on the top of their list of instructors THEY take.

Grant Belton Flywheel Last week, my workout plans were getting crushed right and left. I needed a class to get me back on track and I knew that Grant’s would be the ticket. I snuck out of the office and made my way to that awesomeFriday treat that had popped up on Flywheel’s Tribeca schedule. I checked in and for some reason it wouldn’t let me choose to be on the torque board. I finally shrugged, grabbed my shoes and decided it was a sign, that today I wasn’t going to worry about the board at all. As I walked into the class, Grant looked at me and said “Well this is a nice surprise.” I grinned and made my way to my bike.

There were a few new riders in the classes and Grant went over the foundations of a Flywheel class – the torque numbers, rpm and how to get your best ride. As we started the ride, I listened to his awesome queues – “Bap, bap, bap” or hard clapping to the rhythm of the song – those always work for me. I just focused in and rode hard. At some point he said “I want you to look at your number and double it –THAT is what you are going for as your final number.”  I looked down, was at 160 and thought well that isn’t possible. In 45 minutes, I’ve never even gotten close to 300 and was pretty sure my first ride back in weeks wasn’t going to be the time for it to happen! Then, about 3 songs later, after arms, I realized that 300 really was close.  For those last 2 songs, I just focused, rode hard and fast and hit 295. Which is so insanely huge for me! I’ve always seen people who hit 300 and thought, that just is NEVER going to be possible for me. Grant proved me wrong by calmly expecting more. When I went to clip out of the bike I realized that I’d pushed myself so hard my legs were actually shaking.

chalkboard-art-typography-illustrated-quotes-32__605The weird thing about 295? It’s so close to that magical 300 that I was almost pissed that I didn’t get there. Then I remembered that it was like 30 points more then I’d EVER scored in 45 minutes, grinned hard and high fived Grant on my way out the door.

I SO have to take more of Grant’s classes. I’ve been half-stepping.

 

Photo of Grant from Flywheel’s website and bottom quote a little bit of internet goodness.

EXCEED Physical Culture: The Awesome Addition To The Tribeca Fitness Scene

FBS x EXCEED Tribeca VII

I have always loved Exceed – but getting to their UES location made actually GOING to classes there a huge challenge. So when I heard they were opening a studio in Tribeca, literally around the corner from work, I was giddy.  Last week I got the opportunity to host a workout in their new space during their soft opening. I immediately jumped at the chance and set about snagging a fun crew that would be up for a challenging, high intensity interval class.

FBS x EXCEED Tribeca VI

Exceed Tribeca is made up of two floors.  Upstairs was still under construction but it looked like it is going to be much bigger than the UES location. The ground floor is going to be the group classes space and the downstairs space is going to be where they do personal training sessions, which is where we held our class during the soft opening. Our group was tiny so it actually worked out really well to have it in the smaller space downstairs – although it easily could have fit more people if needed. Leading our class was Mike Jock, one of Exceed’s staples at their UES location (and who I’ve been wanting to take a class with) and Max Motkowski who is new to their crew.  Mike took the lead in the class and after giving a breakdown of the reasons their classes were shaped the way they were, gave us a demo of each of the four first stations. We then paired up and picked a station to start on.

FBS x EXCEED Tribeca IIII

In the first round we had TRX rows, a rowing station, box jumps (or jump overs if you wanted the challenge) and a Med Ball station.  I started on the TRX and when my shoes started to slip, Max was quick to come over and brace my feet to make sure I got in every rep. Then we rotated through each station and I watched happily as Mike and Max worked the room, making sure people got the form cues they needed and made adjustments when needed. I LOVED knowing my friends were in good hands! The next round was TRX pushups, lateral box jumps and rowing. MedBall sit ups became slams and by the second station in that round I was already dripping in sweat. Each round got harder, but also was more fun! The third and fourth rounds replaced the TRX with Kettlebells and the rower with a heavy jump rope. My favorite moment was when at one point Mike described to one of the teams who was struggling at the Kettlebell station that the way to swing it was “Like in Legally Blonde, remember? Bend and snap!” while showing the perfect form for the swing. They laughed and then promptly started rocking perfect swings.

FBS x EXCEED Tribeca VIIII

The final round was a sit up ladder challenge. Each pair was supposed to do 10 straight leg sit ups passing the medicine between them, then scissor legs passing the ball, then straight again, then a version with a bridge, then straight, then frog legs while passing the ball, then straight before ending on one that included a double leg tap before tossing the ball. It was hard but also wildly funny since my partner and I kept almost beaming each other with the ball. The challenge ended when one team finished, and thankfully, the Real Pilates crew on the end came through in the core challenge and got through the ladder fast! My team was on the last move but I was grateful when time was called!

FBS x EXCEED Tribeca

It was a class that kicked my ass but was also just really fun. Exceed will be doing a “Friend and Family” preview week, starting on Monday, June 9th. It is first come, first snags the class. So get in there and check out this awesome addition to the Tribeca fitness scene!

Photos by Eric Stafford, Stafford Sports Media for FBS

Flywheel Tribeca: A Beautiful, Awesome Addition To The Neighborhood

I’ve been EAGERLY waiting for the new Tribeca Flywheel location to open since it was first announced months ago. For no good reason, I was expecting a smaller studio than their most recent UWS location, however, I was SO wrong.  The new Tribeca location is a huge, open, stunning space that is easily my favorite Fly in the city.  The studio on Greenwich, between Hubert and Laight Streets, is a short walk from work and it isn’t far from Soho either.

Flywheel Tribeca

Last weekend, Flywheel had a weekend of free classes to say “hello” to the neighborhood. The permanent schedule is chock full of some of the best of the best at Flywheel and the preview rides were no exception. I scored rides with both Alison Cohen and Jessie Alexander.

Alison’s class was great – as it ALWAYS is since she is just ridiculously good. It was, however, one of those classes that had some technical issues. The AC wasn’t working so it was brutally hot but Alison handled it like a champ and gave an incredible ride that never let on that anything was out of the ordinary. I was sweating buckets but Alison still managed to motivate the room to some huge numbers. She is just a champ at leading a challenging, athletic ride, which is why so often when I am jonesing for a Flywheel class, I end up in front of her.

Side note here:  after that sweaty, awesome class, I took a shower before heading to work. Normally, I try to avoid gym showers like the plague but after that class, it just wasn’t an option, so I got the chance to experience their silly luxurious showers. The individual rooms are more like a hotel’s shower than a regular gym which before work is a treat.  Tons of towels, all the tolietries you could need, killer hot water and massive water pressure. It is like the boutique gym version of hitting the shower jackpot.

Do More

Jesse’s class was the next night and by then the AC was fixed, thankfully. I’ve written about Jesse a ton (favorite post here) but it’s funny, I realized it’s been almost a year since I’ve taken a class with him. It was fun to get to ride with him again – he’s all swagger and confidence these days and just rocks the hell out of the room. It was awesome to watch. My out of practice indoor cycling legs were wiped after the class and by the end, I was just hoping to break a reasonable number. It was right before the last song and Jesse made his way around the room – as he got to me, he covered my torque board and whispered a number in my head that seemed impossible and said “you’ve got that – GO.” Momentarily, I was pissed at the big jump he’d put out there but then almost magically, I realized it made me work three times harder as I hit the number before the last beat of the song. There is a reason Jesse is one of the best…he helps people rise to be their very best – even when they don’t believe it themselves.

The new Tribeca studio is beautiful and has a kick-ass line up of my favorites – I couldn’t ask for more!

Photo of Studio from Flywheel’s Facebook page, bottom image just a little bit of internet goodness.

Crashing The Party: Rocking Out With Ryan Foley At SoulCycle

Months ago, I read Ryan Foley’s SoulCycle story about going from being 60 pounds overweight, working 90-hour work weeks on Wall Street to finding SoulCycle and becoming one of their newest instructors. I love stories like that – about finding your passion and just going for it. I’ve wanted to take his class ever since, then on Friday, in a flurry of Twitter exchanges with another exercise fanatic, I was invited to Ryan’s class the very next day.

Ryan Foley In January 2012, Ryan discovered SoulCycle and by the end of the year he’d made his radical (and AWESOME) leap – but this would be his first birthday on the bike in front of the room. Held in the stunning Tribeca Soul, it was in the smaller of the two studios but the class was packed to the rafters with friends. There were a few randoms like me, who hadn’t taken Ryan before but mostly it was his crowd and they roared for him almost instantly – it was one of those rides that when you were clipping into the bike you just knew was going to be special.  I felt a little bit like I had snuck into a party and was just hoping no one would realize that I didn’t belong and kick me out!

As I entered the room, the charming, handsome Ryan hollered “FBS in the house! I think you are over there!” I grinned, waved and set out to set up my bike as quickly as possible since it was almost time to start. I was in the middle of the room (for me a Soul score) but surrounded by obvious Soul-ers. Ryan got the room going from the bike and immediately the playlist rocked. The very first song was Linkin Park and two women in the front row and directly in front of me had their hair down and started to rock out the moment the class started. The idea of riding with your hair down just confounds me and I was completely captivated when one of them full on started head banging when Nine Inch Nails came on. Watching it, I was totally smitten with the coolness. It looked so awesome that I really wanted to try it but I could just see myself launching over the handlebars and toppling half the room. Another song of awesome rocking out, then she put her hair up and I went back to focusing on Ryan, whose tshirt had lit up at some point. We launched into the classic Soul pushup chorography that never fails to make me feel like the least coordinated person on the planet (especially when added to my lack of head banging ability) and Ryan rocked it out. My favorite moment was when at one point, when we were doing beats, where we were supposed to all be on the same leg, Ryan busted out what looked like Airplane Wands, rocking left and right for which leg we were supposed to be on. It was so ridiculously fun and was the only time I was remotely on the right leg!  Ryan’s playlist was awesome – filled with mixes & songs I’d never heard in any other class. He managed to have a playlist that made me think often, “I’d have NEVER thought you could ride to that!” Towards the end of class, Ryan pointed out the awesome headbanger and said anyone here who hasn’t gotten to Janet Fitzgerald’s class, you need to now. AHH! I was still crushed out on her but I suddenly felt better about the fact that head banging was out of the question for me!

Ryan’s birthday ride was also one of the few classes where I wasn’t even remotely the loudest person in the class and it was just ridiculously fun -I loved every single moment of it. The ride itself was so loud that by the end Ryan blew out his mike. It made him burst out laughing –“anyone take bets on that?”  Soul inspired him but on Saturday night, he showed a whole room of people that following your passion can lead you to a really wonderful place….

Collect moment not thingsIn the lobby, people were getting ready to celebrate but I slipped out before they realized I didn’t really belong at this party… and left on a glorious, inspired high.

Photo of Ryan from Twitter (follow him @24_7_Ry) and bottom image just a little bit of internet goodness.