Chris Froome makes it look all too easy. The British cyclist scaled the climb up to the Tourmalet without breaking a sweat and had me wondering if I could take on the Tour de France — or at least the rigours of the sport — as well. So I signed up for Fitness First's exclusive Pro Cycling class, which are essentially 30-minute high intensity interval cycling sessions based on the training programs, techniques and events of nine-time World Champion cyclist and Double Olympic Gold Medalist, Victoria Pendleton.
Leading the class was Andrew Tierney, head instructor of Fitness First's Pro Cycling classes. Tierney is one of those instructors you would trust with your life. He looks like he practices exactly what he preaches. And believe me, he preaches quite resoundingly to ensure you're listening to every motivational catchphrase he emphatically barks at you. Spin class veterans do indeed appreciate creative verbiage to help them overcome the hills, plateaus and the delightful discomfort that comes from driving your legs through the floor and back up again as swiftly as the tendons in your lower body will allow.
Tierney orchestrated the perfect 30-minute sonata of torment as he warmed us up quickly with 60-second intervals of 70 per cent and 80 per cent sprints. Admittedly, it was slightly disheartening that Tierney's 70 per cent looked awfully like my 120 per cent — but I tried to keep in mind that he was a professional-level cyclist. His hefty calf muscles certainly weren't formed by casual bike rides.
Despite my obvious need to improve on my endurance, I pedaled on through the downhill side of the sprint session. Sweat hit the floor and pooled up in huge blobs as we approached the core of the session. Few, if any, in our class were coasting, but we were heeding Tierney's advice to 'ride it like you stole it'.
Regretfully, I can't recall any of Tierney's motivation calls during the last furious minutes of our intense sprint intervals because I was straining to hear normally while simultaneously trying to sense if my rear end was still attached to my body. The throbbing music blaring through the loudspeakers, coupled with Andrew's commands to move our legs more swiftly, brought back memories of ex-high school football coaches questioning my manhood and my will to live. Simply put, it's just the way I prefer my spin class instructors. This brand of tough love is exactly what will see you through this gruelling class. If you're looking to take your spin classes up a notch, look no further — this is just the class for you.
To find out more about these Pro Cycling classes, head on over to Fitness First
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