Three hours after Payne Whitney Gymnasium members received notice of a new spinning program at the gym on Oct. 26, 300 people had already responded expressing interest in the classes.
The 12 available sessions quickly sold out, and as of Tuesday, 400 people are on waitlists for the classes, which began Oct. 31 and will run through Dec. 11, said Duke Diaz, the gym’s director of physical education. Although spinning, a high-intensity cardio workout on stationary exercise bicycles, is a common class at most gyms, Payne Whitney did not offer classes until now because the gym lacked spin bikes.
“I think it’s great that Yale finally got spin bikes because this is a class that is very popular in a lot of gyms,” spinning instructor Colleen Feriod GRD ’15 said. “Judging by the overwhelming response we got … I think it’s clear that the Yale community really wanted to have a spin class.”
The announcement came as a boon to Victoria Hall-Palerm ’15, who worked and spun frequently at the popular indoor cycling studio SoulCycle in New York City prior to coming to Yale. Hall-Palerm said she was surprised to find that no spinning classes were offered at the beginning of the year. Though she initially tried to spin independently using bikes at the gym in Pierson College, Hall-Palerm said she found spinning on her own more difficult.
“I was really excited that there were classes because I can’t motivate myself well enough to do it by myself,” Hall-Palerm said. “I wanted to get a class with loud music and other people.”
Spinning enthusiasts said the class is popular because it offers a challenging and efficient cardio workout. Instructors will typically guide the cyclists through sets of different intervals, but riders can control the resistance on their bikes to adjust the intensity of the workout.
There is also the musical component — music is blasted during the entire session in order to keep the energy high.
Feriod’s own workout playlist includes pop tracks such as Selena Gomez & The Scene’s “Love You Like a Love Song” and Britney Spears’ “I Wanna Go.” The spinning instructor said she thinks music helps carry riders through the most strenuous parts of the workout.
Abby Lowell SOM ’12 said the class is not only a good workout but it also enables her to continue cycling through New Haven’s cold winters.
“I like to bike outside, so it’s a good alternative for the winter,” she said.
The hour-long classes are all currently held in the basement of Payne Whitney. The spinning room features 13 new Schwinn spin bikes — one at the front for the instructor and 12 for the members of each class. A stereo at the front of the room blasts music for the spinners and a few large black fans are strategically scattered around the area. Feroid called the room a “work in progress” but added that there are plans to pad the walls to reduce echoes from the music and to add mirrors.
Lindsey Larson FES ’13 said she has been mostly satisfied with the spinning classes so far. But the East Rock resident added that she might consider switching to another local gym with a more established program.
“If there was another place that offered [classes] at a convenient time, I might go there instead just because I feel like they’re still kind of working out the kinks here, and it’s kind of expensive,” Larson said.
A five-week class that meets twice a week costs $60 for Payne Whitney members — including all students — and $80 for non-members, while one-day Saturday classes are $30 for members and $40 for other participants.
Classes are sold out for the semester, Diaz said, but the program is likely to expand to accommodate the demand by adding more instructors and classes next semester.
Payne Whitney currently offers 42 physical education classes.