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.

If At First You Don’t Connect: Stephanie Nieman & Finding A Flywheel Rockstar

Sometime between when I took my first class with Stephanie Nieman and now, she has developed into a Flywheel rockstar.  On Monday, in her packed 12:30pm class, I was blown away by what a force she has become. There is almost nothing as awesome as seeing someone completely own a room and challenge everyone to be better – while still having a ridiculously fun time. Stephanie’s energy was contagious and while some of her torque call out seemed like they were crazy high, it was impossible not to just go for it. It was a ride that was all about staying out of your comfort zone and I adored every last minute of it.

It has been a very long time between taking my first class with Stephanie and finally, going back for a second time. That first class was solid, I thought she had some “Holly-like tendencies” that were awesome – but – and this is a big one on my pet peeve list – she gave different torque numbers for men and women. A range is good, I REALLY like ranges, but different torque #’s based on gender and not skill makes me nuts. It is a pet peeve that makes me so bonkers, I will write off instructors who do it completely, even if I think in other ways they are great – and this is why after a really solid first class, I hadn’t been back to Stephanie’s class in well over 6 months. But for the last month or two, I have been over-hearing her classes while waiting for others and they always sound like a class I would love and even my stubborn self thought it might be time to try her class again.

 

On Monday, I finally got myself to one of her classes. I had made a spinning date and when my friend had to cancel, I almost did too but thankfully I chose to ride. The energy in the room was awesome and riders from the very start were really loud – she definitely has a crowd.  I was steeled to try to get over the torque thing, but one song in, I realized that she was just giving one torque range. I proceeded to allow myself to be swept away into the ride at hand. Stephanie is very slight when you see her in person in the hallways of Flywheel but up on that instructor bike, she is a force to be reckoned with.  So much so that it is almost hard to believe the two Stephanies are the same person. She yells a lot, shouts out lines from the music playing to focus on for motivation, hops off the bike and bounds around the front of the room, and gets in the faces of front row riders to get them to push harder… it was inspiring to see her just totally own the room. If I hadn’t been killing myself to go harder, I might have had the chance to revel in seeing that kind of rockstar performance but I was to busy trying not to die – her class is freaking HARD but completely and utterly awesome.

I am glad I finally got to witness what a Flywheel rockstar Stephanie Nieman has become….

 

Images of Stephanie from Flywheel Sports website. David Bowie quote just a little internet goodness.

 

Miami Is Getting A Rockstar: Aleah Stander & The Celebration Ride

On Wednesday night at 7:30pm, almost all of the Flywheel instructors gathered to ride in Aleah Stander’s class, since this is her last week before she heads down to Miami to spearhead the new Flywheel opening down there.  She is beloved by the Fly family – and they came in full force to celebrate that fact and yet, somehow, managed to keep it a secret. Included in that evening’s packed house were Ruth Zukerman, Kate Hickle, Chris Tracey, Jesse Alexander, Danielle Devine, Ryan Makey, Alison Cohen, John Wellmann, Carrie Green and Shay Kostabi and some of the awesome back office staffers. They had gone all out to make the ride feel like a party, sporting glow-in-the dark bands, glowsticks, a few of the guys rocked big afro wigs, Danielle had a cute pair of sparkly horns, and Ryan sported the headgear of the night – a wildly funny pair of bunny ears. The rest of the room was filled to the brim with Aleah fans.

It was nice to see the sweet, endearing Aleah that she is off the bike up there, just basking in the love of her friends hooting and hollering for her, packing the house. Then, she grinned a big grin and went right back to being the kick-ass, hard instructor that we love. The room was never quiet. I don’t know that I have ever been in a room that was AS loud as this one was and it was so much fun. I am notoriously loud in class and it was fun to not remotely be the loudest in the room. Aleah’s playlists are always awesome but the one that night was just ridiculously good… and filled with lots of songs that were straight up fun, but distinctly not the “clean” versions! It was the kind of soundtrack that just made you go faster and inspired you to work harder. I don’t know that I have ever been to a class with Aleah were I am not blown away by how hard she can get you to work – I almost always best any number I’ve done before. She is just motivating like that! The energy of the room was like a wave and it just made me want to try a little bit harder. As a rider, to be surrounded with people who inspire me was a huge treat.  The Flywheel instructors are an insanely strong group and there is nothing like being surrounded by the best to make you better.

I was in the second row, smack in the middle, and directly in front of me was Kate and Ruth. Talk about feeling like I need to step my game up! From the angle I was at I could see Ruth’s little board, and all I have to say is damn. That woman is a powerhouse! She crushed me from right out of the gate. I had my best 45-minute ride and she beat me by almost a 100 points -totally and utterly inspiring. Aleah made us all work hard and pushed that room to do their best -it was electrifying to see everyone in that room rise to the occasion.

The 45 minutes FLEW by. When she called out that it was the last song I was shocked, I so didn’t want it to be over just yet. As the stretch song played, it was awesome to see her take in the room before her, filled with people who love and totally support her. I think it was the only time I have ever seen Aleah slightly flustered and it was totally endearing. The cheers were deafening and the towels whipped over everyone’s head as the class ended – it was an amazing thing to witness that kind of pure love pouring out at the end of her amazing class. The thing about Aleah is that she is just so consistently great, that I sometimes forget just HOW great she really is but seriously, Aleah really is a rockstar. I hope Miami knows what a treasure they are getting.

Top picture from Aleah’s Facebook profile, middle picture from the Flywheel website and bottom image my hope for what Miami has in store for the amazing Aleah Stander….