LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — At Powerhouse Gym in London, it’s not at all unusual to hear the occasional grunt, yell or groan combined with barbells and dumbbells falling to the floor. It’s not unusual to hear equipment whirring, vibrating, starting and stopping in conjunction with heavy breathing.
However, on any given Monday, Wednesday or Friday at 5:30 a.m., members can also hear a series of exhilarating and challenging commands combined with the typical whirs and shouts. While one would expect these to come from a boot camp class – Powerhouse has those too, after all – the exuberant commands actually come from an indoor cycling class.
“When the song kicks in, we’re goin’! Now’s the time to take a drink,” shouts instructor Ashley Barton to a crowd of 14. “Here we go!”
Powerhouse’s indoor cycling classes – commonly known as spin classes – meet three times a week in the early morning and five times a week in the evening. Instructors Ashley Barton, Debbie Baker and Morgan Hunt take participants on a cycling crash course at each 45-minute session, typically riding between 10 and 12 miles and burning 400 to 600 calories in the process.
While classes can accommodate up to 14, an average of 8 to 10 gym goers typically take part. All cycling positions are taken advantage of, including seated heels, standing heels, seated sprints and standing sprints. Different levels of resistance are also explored, often dictated by the various instructors’ commands.
“We like to keep it entertaining. It’s a great workout in a short period of time,” Barton said. “We tell everyone to go at their own pace, and we have a lot of fun. I’m addicted to it.”
Like aerobics classes, Barton and her fellow instructors set the pace of the classes to music. Barton claims she’s careful to have a little something for everyone, ranging from Creedence Clearwater Revival to more contemporary hits from Robin Thicke and The Far East Movement. Watching Barton dictate four counts and two counts to the beat of both “Proud Mary” and “Fly Like a G6” is nothing short of poetry in motion.
“Burn sprints, here we go! Keep going!” shouts Barton appropriately to the chorus of Fall Out Boy’s “Light ‘Em Up.”
According to Barton, the morning classes offer a rare breed of enthusiast. During her three and a half years at Powerhouse, she’s witnessed a dedicated handful of members consistently show up and passionately spin with the music loud and the lights off.
“We have a lot of regulars,” said spin student Doug Baker. “This time of year, there’s a lot of new faces and classes are packed. Some stick around for one class, others for a few months. Not a lot of people want to show up at this time of the morning. You’re either dedicated or not.”
A tight bond is obvious between the morning session regulars, complete with teasing, joking, and regular conversations about newborns and vacations. Cheers, compliments and motivating comments are also quite commonplace.
Spin class regular Denver Mays uses such camaraderie as a reason to keep coming back.
“I wouldn’t do something like this on my own,” Mays said. “And I pick a bike away from the door so I stay in the whole class. Now I’ve been here for about five years.”
Marion Davis, another regular, can remember when her instructor was just starting out teaching. She claims to recollect wishing her legs could move with as much speed and control as Barton’s.
“They still don’t, but they move a lot faster than they used to,” Davis said.
Classes, as with general gym membership, are in higher demand from January to March, as everyone tries to stay faithful to New Year’s resolutions. To welcome such an influx of new members, Powerhouse plans on adding an extra spin class until March.
For more information on indoor cycling classes at Powerhouse, call the gym at (606) 878-0011 or visit londonpowerhouse.com.