Where: KiwiSweat @ Chelsea Market, 75 9th Avenue, New York, NY
Paddle On, Cheaper than a Butt Lift, Baby!
It’s raining and ugly outside on the weekend I choose to try the much-talked-about Kiwisweat. I get to Chelsea market 30 minutes early, soaking wet, because I happen to be one of those d-bags who thinks she can do without an umbrella. It's okay, I tell myself, I might be soaking wet coming in, but I'll probably be soaking wet leaving as well, so what difference does it make?
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Even though Chelsea market is full of slow walking people snapping shots of the decor, I'm in good spirits and quite excited. I arrive early, sit in the corner and scrutinize the location, feeling like an investigative reporter on a secret mission.
On the location:
For some reason my fame-whore personality imagined a bunch of spin bikes rooted in the center of Chelsea market, with riders being cheered by admiring passers-by. But, Kiwisweat is actually in a big room towards the back of the market, with a small waiting area; the main spin space is separated by hanging shiny metal mini chains. Simple, but cute.
- There are only two chairs, so people who are coming in are standing around until Lacey Stone's leftover students are out and the area is ventilated.
- Staff is super hospitable and despite the wait there's a shared camaraderie in the air.
- When they're ready, the nice Kiwisweat-ers send us to the back where we each get a locker (i.e metal basket with a lock) with our names written in chalk on a piece of board attached to the key. Cute personal touch.
- Shoes and towels are provided. T- shirts are available for purchase.
- Inside the spin area our names are also written on the bikes. There's no stage, the instructor's bike is in the center, and a DJ stand is in the corner.
- No clock! Discovered this the hard way. Genius or evil? Couldn’t decide.
Fun, fun, fun! Clif is a black, handsome, muscular man nugget. I’m not sure what he’s background is, but like James Ervin, I wouldn’t be surprised if dancer is in his resume...
- Opens the class by saying: “this class is all about rhythm. If you don’t have it, I suggest you borrow some, FAST”. Chuckle.
- He isn’t a guy that would yell at you and push you to the edge, but he does walk around and would occasionally comment on cadence. While dancing of course.
- Head tilts and booty shaking galore a-la-Beyonce.
- Loads of funny comments that I can’t recall. Hello, I was like, working?! But I was with a smile the entire time.
- Though I find the “yell at me and order me around” approach to make me work my hardest - and Clif is not that guy - I did work hard (though not, and probably never will, to the point of vomit). It was just like a private party, and I was happy to participate. Maybe the tough guy approach is the most motivating, but Clif's life-of-the-party spirit worked for me just fine!
On the class:
I’m not sure I have all that much to say about the class itself. I’d say it’s a standard spin class with an equal amount of sprints, jumps, hills and flats. The only thing that I can think of that set this class apart from most classes I take is that Clif made us change a lot of hand positions, from 1 to 3 and back again, sometimes leaning on our elbows on the handle bar, and sometimes had us paddling with minimal body movement (just legs).
On the crowd:
The class was about 2/3 full, and most participants did not seem frequent spinners to me. Still it was a nice young group of mostly girls (2 boys), some responding to Clif’s vibe, some pretending he wasn't there. Overall, didn't see the typical spin addicts you see in the usual spin classes anywhere.
On the music:
The Kiwisweat site promised a DJ (who was in Lacey’s class prior to Clif’s), but it didn’t really matter cause Clif made the party hot without one. Yeah, baby! A variety of dancy soul and some house, with Chaka Khan, Mary J, Aretha and even Bananarama thrown to the mix. Happy happy joy joy.
The bottom line:
F-U-N. did i say that already?
From the KiwiSweat website: Clif teaches according to his philosophy: "It is within each of us, the ability to make a difference In the world. This is how I've chosen to be of service to humanity. One pound at a time." With an unyielding faith in the human ability to change our own fates, Clif teaches classes that feature lots of singing and fun, but he will push you to your limits.
Find out more about Kiwi Sweat at www.kiwisweat.com
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