Day 21: Ho Ho Hip Hop Holiday Ride

Dec 29, 2018 · 6 min read

Background: CycleBar is a premium indoor cycling studio in Hillcrest. They offer a variety of different classes. Each one is part-sanctuary and part rock-concert . During your class, CycleBar tracks your CycleStats. These are six key metrics from your ride that help you gauge your performance. To learn more about pedal-turning, heart-stopping, music-pumping fun, check out CycleBar here.

Nothing says a Sunday morning in December like Hip-Hop Christmas music. That’s why when I saw Keara’s ride at CycleBar, I knew I needed to attend.

You all may remember Keara from Day 10. Not only is she an instructor at Renegade, but she also runs Babes Who Sweat, (which you can expect a post about soon). When we first met, she told us about the other studios she teaches at and encouraged us to check them out for 100 Days. When she mentioned CycleBar, we were totally on board.

That is, until we pulled up the schedule:

Monday: Keara — 6 AM (full)

Tuesday: Keara — 6 AM (full)

Thursday: Keara — 6 AM

We figured — there has to be an evening one coming up soon. We’ll wait it out.

Then as I’m scrolling through ClassPass I see:


I scroll down hard.

Aerial Yoga

I pause, then scroll again.

Pole Dancing

Intrigued, I tap to learn more. I see it’s not a foundation class.

“Next time,” I mutter, hit the back button and continue scrolling.

10:45 AM — Ho Ho Hip Hop at CycleBar, Instructor: Keara

I immediately tap to book before space runs out.

And with that, it was a plan. I am a huge Christmas music fan and an even bigger hip hop fan. But the only (quasi) hip hop Christmas music I know is This Christmas by Chris Brown. If that was going to be the tone of the class, I could definitely get into it.

Even the studio is festive!

When I arrived to the studio, I felt welcomed right away. There was a sign on my locker reading “Welcome, Samantha!” I got an awesome tour of the studio, a pair of spin shoes, and a ton of help with setting up my bike. No matter how many spin classes I take, I always mess it up, so this was much appreciated.

I learned a great tip when we were working to get the bike set up. If you remember your numbers, you can avoid all the “match with your hip” and “elbow to fingertip” mumbo jumbo. My bike felt great, and we were off to the races, literally. We started with fast-paced songs and worked our way to hills.

Around song number three, I realized that the theme may not actually be Christmas music. I wasn’t too upset though. I started to hear the baseline of Beyoncé and what could be better than that? *Googles Beyoncé Christmas Album*

The CycleBar Class Arrangement

Powered by great music, the choreography didn’t seem too difficult. I was breezing through the song and hardly breaking a sweat.

“Wow, I am getting good at this whole fitness thing” I thought.

But then, as if hearing my internal voice, Keara flips on a TV. At first, I didn’t understand what it was. But then I saw numbers, stats, and names. I start scrolling from the top. 1…6…11…14, switch columns, 16…20…and finally 23: Samantha P. I’m 23!

Out of 24.

“Nice work,” I think to myself.

My RPM’s were good. So why was I saw low on the leaderboard? Turns out having your resistance set to 2 is not what Keara meant when she said “add a few turns.” Then as I’m thinking through this new dynamic, Keara says the magic words.

“And now you all get the next 30 seconds to yourself.”

I swear time slows down during exercise and speeds up during recovery, because in the blink of an eye I hear:

“Hope you enjoyed the rest, because in 3, 2, 1, you’re mine.”

And like a yo-yo, I’m snapped back into the class.

I turn up my dial, and start pumping my legs. The next time the leaderboard comes up, I’m seeing some fluctuation. I even broke into the first column for a moment there! That is the benefit of public accountability. No more putting your head down and taking the easy way out. Between the in-class reminders, and post-workout summaries, CycleBar makes accountability easy.

At CycleBar, you can choose to opt out of the leaderboard, so only 24 of the riders were featured during class. When I saw my email summary, it turns out my class rank was actually 25/30. Progress!

So we go through a series of hills and sprints, and next up is arms. CycleBar doesn’t use the traditional dumbbells for the arm workout. Instead they use a weighted bar.

The arm section was tough. A great combo of curls, holds, and dips that activated every muscle in your arm. By the end of it, I felt spent but in a good way.

And as we’re putting our bars back in their holsters, Keara addresses the elephant in the room. This is not actually a Christmas music class. Anticipating there could have be some confusion, she made sure to include one song.

Bells start ringing and All I Want For Christmas Is You comes ringing through the speakers. Exactly the festive spirit I was looking for. She encouraged us all to take the time to ourselves, dance on our bikes, and forge our own choreography.

All in all — CycleBar was an awesome, fun way to work up a sweat. It marries the perfect blend of great music and cool tech.

I was able to chat with Keara after class and ask her a few more questions. Check her answers below!

Meet the Instructor (X2)

Keara McCullough: @keara.christine

1) Tell me more about these playlists!

They are all on Spotify under my name, Keara McCullough. If you search me, you’ll find a bunch of songs. The last month or two of playlists are most likely public. I also release a playlist or two each month. Right now it’s Get Hype, which is my hype girl playlist of songs that I love.

You know when something comes on or you hear a good song and you’re like, “Yes!”?

That’s my hype girl playlist.

2) What is the process of building a playlist for class?

At CycleBar we have a 12-song set series of where the speed should be. This way, throughout the class we have different RPMS. This is important for interval training, so the class is like a rollercoaster. First you’re going up a hill, then sprinting, jogging, running, etc.

And then I like to add in a lot of choreography. We’re trying to make sure your heart rate is coming up and down. In one class you should hit between 15–25 intervals depending on what songs are played.

3) I came in at a strong 23/24 — can you explain to the readers what that means?

The bike has gears, which can go up and down, but for everything you want your RPM’s to be consistent for the duration of the song. So if the song is 60 beats-per-minute, that would be 60 repetitions-per-minute of your feet. I like to give a gear range that is challenging, so people can choose if they want to go lower or higher depending on how they feel that day.

What you want to look at is your power. If you look at your stats, your watts/power is your individual number. You’ll see an average and a max. This is important because this number is only impacted by you. I would want your average to be over your weight. That is a good number to start from, and then try to increase from there. That’s how you can see if you’re improving. Regardless of how different each class is, the music, or the people you are riding with, you creating power doesn’t change. It’s a great way to look at your trends over time and set goals.

Share your experience with the hashtag #100VizerDays or meet us at the studio to join in on the fun!


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