By Jeanie Hendrie

Getting to the gym is a massive win on its own, let alone executing a series of pretzel inspired stretches and weight lifts based on memory. With instructors present to keep the mood high and the workouts fresh, it’s no surprise that class-based exercise resonates with today’s over-programmed society. And having once tango-ed my way through an entire Zumba class, I can attest that group workouts are forgiving to those of us who were born with the proverbial second left foot. They provide a safe exercise environment for all skill levels – whether you moonwalk like MJ or step-clap like your great uncle.

Spin classes have long held their place in the world of class-based exercise. With almost every gym offering its own version, it can be near impossible to stand out. Near impossible but not entirely, as I found out over the weekend when a friend introduced me to US-based Fly Wheel. Fly Wheel bikes, which are organized stadium style around the instructor, come equipped with their own computers that track and display resistance, speed and power for your workout…and the workout of the sweaty guy sitting to your left and his left and so on. Two large screens display live class metrics ranking each participant according to their performance. Self-selected code names are leveraged to protect those with two left feet from being outed as the spin class duds.

Okay, time out, water break. Am I actually advocating for a brand that talks back? Can I really support a brand that tells us, with empirical accuracy, when and how much we suck? I can and I am…and here’s why:

1. Fly Wheel redefines what it means to be innovative in fitness. From Richard Simmons’ neon clad step masters to Billy Blank’s Tae-Bo fighters, it is often that the charisma of an instructor outshines the workout he or she is pushing. Instead of relying on a face, Fly Wheel has used technology to innovate enabling identical delivery of the brand experience from New York to LA.

2. It’s transparent, in a good way. Remember receiving your exam grades in university? Dragging your finger down the list of student numbers, gaze shifting horizontally across the page as you took in your score? Sure, it wasn’t always pleasant…but seeing the other near fails on the page always made the sting of defeat a little less painful.

3. It encourages healthy competition. Competitive? Me? Not at all. Fine, I admit it; I am totally one of those people who run faster on the treadmill when someone is on the one next to me. On the days where I am too exhausted to push myself, the anticipated judgement of the person to my right or left can be the motivation I need to keep one foot moving after the next. Fly Wheel’s live ranking system enables easy, measured achievement – whether you’re looking to be top of the class or simply not the bottom.

Okay Fly Wheel, we’re in love. Now how about taking a ride north of the border?