Friday, February 22, 2008

A Very Interesting Combination

Spinning and karoake.
Hmm, I only do karoake when I'm drunk and I definitely do drink before going to the game. And when I'm working out I like to save my breath for, y'know breathing not singing.
Just seems very bizarre to me

from STLtoday

Not the fitness instructor — it's a recording of Janis Joplin, singing "Piece of My Heart" at the top of her formidable lungs, providing a good beat and plenty of encouragement in the process.

Dutifully, the furiously pedaling cyclers step up the pace, and then they join Joplin for the familiar refrain: "Come on! Come on! Come on!"

So it goes in karaoke cycling class, held Tuesday evenings at the Edward Jones YMCA, 12521 Marine Avenue in Maryland Heights. "Singing is not required, but it makes it more fun and the time flies, especially with peppy songs," says Valerie McCool-Fry, 47, the instructor. "The music changes every week, with everything from songs of the '60s to current music."

The participants, most of them wearing exercise shorts and T-shirts, range in age from 30 to 50-plus. Ten stabilized exercise bikes — one up front for McCool-Fry — are positioned in rows in a room that measures roughly 10 feet by 15 feet. The concrete block walls are painted black, and during the 55-minute class, neon black lights take the place of more conventional ceiling lights. Three large fans oscillate throughout the class.

"This class is the best stress-reducer I've found," says Doris Bohannan of Maryland Heights. She adds that she was introduced to karaoke cycling about five years ago at a spa in Florida. "I said then that I could never do anything like that — it's so intense, and you get so sweaty," Bohannan, 57, recalls with a laugh.

Now she's hooked. For more than two years, Bohannan, the manager of a distribution center for an engineering firm, has made karaoke cycling a regular part of her weekly exercise regimen. "It is intense, and you do get sweaty, but it makes you strong."

McCool-Fry backs up Bohannan's assertion, noting that cycling is "an amazing cardio workout, especially good for the lower body" and is said to burn 750 calories per hour. An article on karaoke cycling on the Weight Watchers website ( quotes Cecelia Acevedo, a licensed cycle karaoke instructor based in New York City who points out that "singing during exercise is an easy way to monitor your rate of perceived exertion."

In other words, class participants who can easily sing while pedaling probably are not working hard enough, but people who are panting heavily most likely needed to slow down.

"I don't sing during class. I would rather breathe," says Liz Walker, 40, of St. Charles. Walker works in operations for Edward Jones, and she has enrolled in karaoke cycling classes since they were first offered at the YMCA. "You can't be lazy in this class. Besides, it's fun — and even though I don't sing, I will hum."

Liz Borelli, Walker's classmate, says she always sings. "When I get really tired, it helps to sing, because that takes my mind off the fatigue." Borelli, 42, is a registered nurse with AIG, an insurance company, and lives in Maryland Heights. In addition to karaoke cycling, Borelli takes yoga classes and lifts weights.

Mick Jagger's voice fills the tiny room, crooning "Ruby Tuesday." A voice from the back calls out, "Is that the Beatles?" Her classmates fill her in. Next, as the Stones start "You Can't Always Get What You Want," McCool-Fry makes the words come true when she tells the class to adjust the resistance on their bikes to "riding somewhere between mud and quicksand." The cyclers comply. As the workout increases in intensity, another voice calls out, "We need Prince to get us through this." Everyone laughs.

After McCool-Fry calls for the resistance level to be lowered back to "grass," Jimmy Eat World's "The Middle" starts up. The chorus is apropos: "It just takes some time/little girl you're in the middle of the ride./Everything, everything will be just fine,/everything, everything will be alright, alright."

During the song, McCool-Fry pedals so fast that her legs are a blur, just like in cartoons. If she were airborne instead of on a bike bolted to a stand, she would have covered the distance between Maryland Heights and Creve Coeur in no time.


Vickie Waller, 50, is the "newbie" in the class. "I've been coming for just three months — though I thought about it for a year before I signed up," she says. A preschool teacher, Waller lives in Creve Coeur. "It's an energizing class, more so than some other exercises. I do sing, unless I don't know the song — or if I'm passing out." Everybody laughs again.

Billy Joel whips through "Movin' Out" and Bruce Springsteen (McCool-Fry's favorite) recalls going down to the river (from "The River"). Near the end of the class, the cyclers are breathing hard, reaching deep for every last drop of energy. When Chaka Khan sings "Tell Me Something Good," this reply is heard: "Like class is over!"

That could actually be kind of fun, though when I'm running I need something with a faster rhythm than any of those songs, but I'm still not sold- spinning kicked my ass enough with singing along...

(via Sporting News Blog)

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: