Where: Crunch, 113 4th Avenue , New York, NY
I am the Victim of Fitness Peer Pressure
So, the other day I bopped over to Crunch to test out Carl Hall's Chisel class. Sensing I was new (from complications you will read about in my Chisel review) the lady next to me asked me if I had signed up for Carl's spin class post-Chisel. I don't ever plan to do 2 classes with the same instructor in a row, so when I said no she replied, "well what are you waiting for?! RUN UPSTAIRS NOW!!" The sense of urgency in her voice sent an immediate stream of adrenaline pumping through my veins, and I sprinted upstairs to nab the last available spot, not even clear on why I was doing it. The verdict? THANKS, LADY!
[Click here to review Carl's class yourself, or check out his RateYourBurn profile here.]
Check out the Chisel review here.
Carl is simply awesome. An instructor friend recently made the comment to me that "fitness instructors are just a different kind of performance artist." I mean, I knew this all along, but it's so true. Carl's performance is perfection:
- Delivery. Carl is one of the most talented instructors I've come by in terms of timing his own comments with the music. He loves his music, and every movement you do is somehow related to either the beat or to a lyric.
- Preparation. Carl's classes are meticulously prepared - but in no way boring.
- Depth/variation. Talk about someone who has mastered the art of shifting attitudes according to the task at hand. He swings 360 from being extremely serious on the bike, pedaling at an ungodly speed, to doing what appears to be a pre-choreographed dance routine on the floor, to getting in the face of a rider and screaming at the top of his lungs. When he yells with urgency, it's impossible not to get totally wired.
- Engagement. Carl made it around to EVERY SINGLE PERSON in this class at one point or another to pump them up, holler, and make us pedal faster. Even when he wasn't right next to us, he would try to catch the eye of a back row rider, pointing to them and locking eyes while yelling out commands.
I got the dunce bike. Apparently you need to put a towel on your bike pre-class to claim it, and I was the last one to do so. I was sort of hidden behind a pillar, but I could still see him at least. Plus he paid us a visit.
Awesome, tons of energy. He fed it back, asking us to scream often. One woman was not woohoo-ing but actually screaming as though someone was attacking her. This made me laugh so hard that I actually started to cry a little.
Music was INCREDIBLE.
Carl's style is very hip-hop/R&B/pop, with a few randos thrown in.
- I found a new favorite spinning song in this class: "Breathe" by The Prodigy. Insane sprinting song. It was during this song that Carl made his way over to my bike to play the crazy coach, and I couldn't figure out why he kept yelling "YOU'RE THE VICTIM! YOU'RE THE VICTIM!" at me. I thought, "this guy is fucking crazy, but I'll be the victim if he wants, this situation is oddly extremely motivational"... and then I realized it was a lyric. LOL.
- We also rocked out to Rihanna's "Rockstar".
35 minutes into class Carl turned off all the lights and told us to turn the resistance up "20 turns."
- First of all, I would like to clarify to Carl that this is a wholly unreasonable request. Anyhoo, he then put on "Lick" by Joi, an extremely slow (and utterly sexual) jam.
- Second of all, we pedaled very slowly to this song and whenever they said the word "LICK" he had us do this body roll/chaturanga thing on the bike. Now, apparently my lollipop was extremely delicious because I was a premature "licker" EVERY TIME. Like, there were maybe 12 repetitions of the word "lick" and I did at least 30 body rolls.
- Third of all, Carl gave us a little speech during this song about how important foreplay is. It was HILARIOUS.
Carl loves to say:
- "PUSH IT"
On the actual class:
Lots of variety, from super fast sprinting to super slow hills. Lots of jumps, some bike pushups, and some maneuvers I couldn't really do/didn't really feel like doing. The most fancy bike maneuvering that I've seen out of a SoulCycle class, but still nowhere near that level of tricks. We did standing runs, popups, and we shifted from side to side.
Carl was also masterful at using the lights in the room to direct mood. The Crunch studio already has a black light in it, which is pretty awesome for a spin class if you ask me.
Even though time was up, there was no class after, and Carl asked us if we wanted an extra song. I thought this was super cool of him. We screamed, "YES!"
Carl, will you please wear a white tuxedo? I would like to see the silly things you are doing at all times, but when you wear all black (and given that your skin is not translucent, like mine) you completely disappear under the backlight. Also I just would really like to see you in a white tux. Thx.
Find out more about Crunch Fitness at www.crunchfitness.com
Find Carl on facebook
Read more about Carl on a class review on Bright Lights, My City blog