HUSTLE & FLOW: the benefits of spinning


hustle and flow 001 (2)Dear Diary,

Very few people can get me out of bed at 7:15 AM for a spin class… but my friend Jo Ann Mendelson is one of them.  To be honest, spin classes have always terrified me.  Yoga session?  I’m there!  Dance party?  I’m there!  Tequila?  I’m definitely there!  But anything that involves sprinting… count me out.

LA is a fitness haven, so while I love to indulge in all sorts of exercise trends (through groupons obviously… they’re the only affordable deals in this town!)… I’ve spent the last four years choosing to ignore all the fabulous spin houses popping up around our great city… that was until my friend Jo Ann convinced me to try one of her classes at Hustle & Flow right by Venice Beach.

hustle and flow 019 (2)I usually leave a spin class feeling like I have developed symptoms of PTSD– flashbacks of the screaming instructor, sweat stains in places I didn’t know I could sweat… and tears of terror and exhaustion running down my face… but thanks to Jo Ann’s upbeat and fun attitude, my symptoms vanished!  And while the sweat stains and exhaustion were still present, I felt more rejuvenated and confident on the bike than ever before!

I survived!

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I would show you guys the after shot… but trust me, it ain’t pretty.  Don’t be fooled by Jo Ann’s contagious smile– she’s a beast in the studio!

Being a newbie to the spinning world, I had a lot of questions… and after such a successful class… I knew the perfect girl to ask :)  Thanks Jo Ann!

How did you get into spinning?
I started spinning about 5 years ago when a girl I went to college with posted on Facebook that anyone could try her class for free. “Free” is my favorite number, so I went for it. Spin ended up being a challenge… I  loved  it, and as a teacher, my friend delivered the perfect blend of humor, compassion, and ass kicking.  Fast forward to today and I’ve followed that instructor to four different studios, including here at Hustle & Flow where she’s now my boss, our badass owner & fearless leader Nicole Sciacca!
What sets hustle & flow apart?
I’ve been to studios and gyms all over LA, and the community Nicole has built here at H&F is really unique. We joke that we’re the “Cheers” of fitness studios because everybody knows your name!
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Why spin? Also what are your feelings about fitness and a healthy life style in general?
For me, spin is a dance party on a bike. I get to rock out and challenge my body at the same time. I recently wrote a blog for the H&F website all about my fitness philosophy titled “If it’s not fun, I don’t have time for it”. That’s the key. Find something you look forward to doing that is good for you and you’re set!
What are the benefits of this workout? People are always concerned about getting thick legs from spinning… (aka me since I have a love/hate relationship with my legs to begin with) myth or fact?
Who is this phantom spinner with huge legs everyone keeps telling me about??? The short version is this: look at the body composition of sprinters versus marathon runners. “Dash” runners tend to have more bulk muscle while distance runners tend to be more lean because each is doing a different type of work training a different type of muscle. In my spin classes, we train both types of muscles and work in both aerobic and anaerobic zones to deliver a well-rounded cardio workout. Bottom line: everybody relax! You will NOT bulk up unless you are part of the Muscle Beach crowd who is training day and night for that result. I could go on and on about this, but if you want to read more, check out this awesome article from the folks over at the Indoor Cycling Association.
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On a related note: LADIES! Stop hating your thighs, arms, tummies, whatever it is! This is a huge concern for me, and I address this in my classes. You will NEVER hear me motivating students with the promise of thinner thighs or wash-board abs. Yes, weight-loss is often the desired result of a fitness plan but my class is based on how you FEEL. When I’m on the instructor bike, you are in a strict “no haters” zone. Instead of wishing your thighs didn’t jiggle, think about all the FREAKIN’ RAD stuff they do for you every single day. For example, how they pushed you all the way through that killer 8 minute hill that your masochistic spin instructor gave you!  And FYI: fitness instructors are not immune to insecurity. I struggled a lot when I began teaching with the fact that all the other teachers and even some of my students were in better shape than me! The point is to work with what you’ve got and focus on getting stronger, going farther, or pushing harder.
I always feel that I’m not properly seated on my bike– it was so great that you came over and readjusted my seat (ladies make sure you’re not leaning too much on your bike handles– focus on that core! You’ll feel the difference!) Any tips on how to make sure you’re getting the most of your work out?
In any fitness program, proper use of equipment is CRUCIAL to safety & results. When in doubt, ask the instructor. That’s our job!
I love the great music you play girl! i think that’s my favorite part of about spin class– whats your favorite tune to cycle to right now!?
I love getting to play “DJ” when i teach. My music is really eclectic – rock, pop, rap, mash-ups, movie theme songs (seriously!) – nothing is out of bounds. This month in my classes it’s “New Music November” where I’m asking all my students to go on my Facebook page and request what they want to hear. As a student, if I can’t get into the music the class feels like torture, so I want to give the people what they want! For me personally though, I just saw Blink 182 play at the Wiltern, so you’ll probably hear some pop-punk circa 2001 sneaking into my classes in the next few weeks.
Tell me more about that event coming up on Sunday!
One Sunday of every month, H&F sets aside time for a special community event called Sunday Funday Sober Spin. You don’t have to be in recovery yourself – maybe you support someone in the program, support the process or simply want a rowdy, 1 hour ride with a crew who is all about “progress, not perfection”. Our next one will be this Sunday, November 17th at 12:45pm!

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Anything else you would like to share?
Spin is the “hustle” in H&F, but i also highly recommend getting your “flow” on in our yoga classes. The teachers are knowledgeable and so much fun, it will definitely take your practice to a different level. You can find me taking yoga before or after i teach spin pretty much every day of the week! By the way, my classes are 10:15am M/F or 7:15am T/W/Th. we’ll even be open on thanksgiving morning so you can get your sweat on before you dive into the stuffing & pumpkin pie! IMG_0069

What more could you ask for!?

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  1. Emma says:

    This spin class sounds like so much fun! Unfortunately the spin class i go to is so horrible! I am younger and I am with all older women who will not listen to DJ music and just leisurely spin. The instructor doesn’t even do the spin class! She is at the front desk telling us what to do!! This makes me uncomfortable and not try as hard. Any ideas? I would switch gyms, but its the only gym i’m closest to. Do you know how personal spin bikes are? I take the class every tuesday for 30 minutes and then a 30 minute tabata class after. What do you think? LOVE your blog! Read it whenever a blog post comes out!

    • admin says:

      Hi Emma!

      Thank you so much for your support!! The spin class WAS SO FUN– and I totally understand how it’s hard to stay motivated in a class when your instructor… and spinmates are SO NOT relatable. TRUST ME– I get it! I hear personal spin bikes are great IF you can motivate yourself… but for me, that’s a BIG IF. I get the dilemma you’re in with not wanting to go some place else that is less convenient, but all I can say is don’t go to a class that you don’t enjoy doing or feel that you’re really reaping the benefits of. I love the idea of a tabata class but have never done it myself! Are you a fan?? I say keep working it girl until you find the right fit– try different groupons in your area until you find a spin class that you ENJOY! Remember the instructor makes all the difference… if your gym offers another cardio workout– try it, you’ve got nothing to lose! Good luck SFG!!!!

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