When Jen Barnet, our newest Men’s Fitness health columnist, first started to spin, she hated it. “You walked into a room. You got on a bike. There was no vibe,” she remembers. But after an eye-opening session at a boutique studio some years back, she was hooked. This year, almost a decade of experience in the saddle, Barnet decided it was time to branch out on her own and opened XCYCLE, a spin studio in Las Vegas. In the midst of a spinning revolution that’s clearly swept the nation off its feet, Barnet explains how and why she decided to bring her version of power pedaling to Sin City—and how you can get in on the fun.
MF: Why did you initially choose to stick with cycling classes?
JB: I realized: This is it. My body, my mind, my soul—I felt fulfilled, the same way I felt as a kid. If I don’t spin, my day just doesn’t feel the same.
MF: Was that when you realized it was time to open your own spin studio?
JB: I’ve always dreamed of that ever since I started being a rider. Spinning is happening all over the world right now. Women are loving it. Men are loving it. But there wasn’t a cycle studio in Las Vegas when I came here two years ago. I thought that was so bizarre.
MF: For someone who hasn’t spun before, what are some basics for good form?
JB: If you’re not in the right form, you’re not going to have a good ride or get good results. You need to be coordinated—keep your core tight, your back straight, and your shoulders down. Make sure your booty and hips are back over that saddle. If those hips aren’t engaged, they’ll begin to hurt. A lot of men tend to stand up straight, which doesn’t work your glutes or your core. It takes a conscious effort to lay off the handlebars so much, and stay in the right form.
MF: Do you have advice for how to stay motivated through a ride?
JB: There’s a red knob in the middle of the bike. That’s the resistance, and it’s your best friend. Whether you’re a newcomer or an advanced rider, go at your own pace. Everybody in here knows their body better than I do, so it’s fine if you feel tired and need to lighten the resistance. But when you feel some energy, crank it up and get out of that saddle. It’s like life—when times get tough, do we give up or do we keep going?
MF: If a guy’s crushing on a girl in spin class, what’s the best way to get her digits?
JB: Once class is over, everyone’s more friendly. They’ve accomplished something amazing together. That’s when guys feel a little more fearless, in a good way, so of course they’ll have more confidence to talk to girls. I tell them just to go for it! Everyone’s feeling so good after class, and women are much friendlier and possibly open to the banter.
MF: Has anyone flirted with you after a ride?
JB: They have, but I think my big engagement ring gives me away. If they have the confidence, though, and want to flirt, I say go ahead and try.