RateYourBurn | Think You Hate Spinning? 11 Über-Charismatic NYC Instructors Who Will Change Your Mind

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From reading this blog you must think I just loooove to spin. Spinning this, cycling that, I love to sweat, sometimes I roll around in my own vomit just for kicks. Okay, NO. Actually, I used to absolutely HATE spinning. Like, bain of my existence. The only reason I started doing it again was this stupid blog. Here's a list of the people who remove the "suck" from "suckling". I mean cycling. Take one class with each of them and you, too, can be a born-again indoor cyclist.

spin instructors who don t suck nyc

1. Jesse Alexander [for full profile, teaching locations and reviews, click here.]

Oh, Jesse. The original converter. When I first started blogging for RYB, I had this massive lump in my throat because I knew this meant that I would eventually have to get back into cycling classes. Oh, did I say "get back into"? False. I was never into cycling. I actually HATED cycling.

Lucky for me, Jesse was my first instructor at Fly. He did what every instructor should always do, EVERY TIME there is a new student - he took extra care of me. "You're new?" "What's your name?" "Let me help." "Looking good, Lactic!" "How'd you do?"

Jesse is a master of personal connection, both in and out of class. If you let him into your 'network', he will tweet you, friend you, and pretty much love you in every way electronically possible. If you don't show up for class, expect a DM. If you haven't been back in a few weeks, expect a DM. He's a group instructor with the follow-up of a personal trainer. And that's why he is #1.

Plus he has a dirty mouth. And a hot wife. And the cutest baby ever. I digress...


2. Danny Kopel [for full profile, teaching locations and reviews, click here.]

Pure joy. Danny is just the goofiest, loving-est, happiest instructor I've taken from. He's ridiculous - and so freaking FUN!

Danny has mastered the art of group fitness instruction as performance. Don't be surprised to see a bubble machine, strobe light, or bejeweled spandex.

Oh, and expect a hip-thrust or two 26.

Danny Kopel SoulCycle RateyourBurn review

3. Darryl Gaines [for full profile, teaching locations and reviews, click here.]

The original crazy. Darryl's intensity will push you right through your comfort zone. He will yell at you in an alarmingly loud, crackly sounding voice, but you somehow simultaneously feel intense love coming from him.

His music is amazing, his theme is "batshit crazy", and his students are soaked from head to toe. LOVE.

Darryl-Gaines-Spin-from-Mag- TranscendCycle-Equinox-NYC

4. Charlee Atkins [for full profile, teaching locations and reviews, click here.]

You know how I always say, "if your students give you energy, give it back"? Charlee is a perfect example of how it's DONE. Screaming at the top of her lungs, dancing, getting rowdy. Doin' it, basically.

Plus, her abs would like, actually break your fingers if you tried to punch her. This kind of Atkins diet is just as effective, and way more delicious.

Charlee Christine Atkins SoulCycle

5. Holly Rilinger [for full profile, teaching locations and reviews, click here.]

A silly, amazingly high-energy bundle of cycling instructor. Standing (short) at 5'4, she was once a professional basketball player. Need we say more?

Yes, we do. Holly changed my mind about female instructors. Her positive outlook and joyful victory dance will leave you buzzing all day.


6. Wil Ashley [for full profile, teaching locations and reviews, click here.]

Wil is seemingly serious in his teaching style, but he also has the completely charming habit of lip-syncing the words to all of his music. While keeping a straight face.

His ride is deliberate, pre-planned, and strong, but he's also freaking awesome to be around. And his music. Amazeballs. (or, "AMAZEBALLS" as my iPhone likes to autocorrect)


7. Carl Hall [for full profile, teaching locations and reviews, click here.]

Carl, my Jekyll and Hyde instructor. Carl is totally serious when he walks in, but the next minute he's dancing around like a goon, and the minute after that he's getting up in your face yelling at you to "BE THE VICTIM". His class is 45 minutes of perfectly choreographed performance. Silly, intense, angry, sexy - the only emotion you won't feel in this class is sad. 

Except when it's over, that is.

Carl Hall_Crunch_Chisel

8. Jamie Norcini [for full profile, teaching locations and reviews, click here.]

Jamie! Another master of the "now I'm silly, now I'm not" look. Jamie comes in looking very serious, but when the beats come on, out come the dance moves. 

Jamie does a great job of matching the music and lighting to cadence. He sets the mood and this class flies by.

Jamie-Norcini-Cycling-CLAY Cycle---

9. Tomas Mikuzis [for full profile, teaching locations and reviews, click here.]

I would like to invite you to the pants party - the spandex bike pants party, that is. Riding with Tomas is straight-up fun, fun, fun. His music is amazing, and the ride is timed so perfectly to the pedal strokes that you feel like you're in a pool full of synchronized swimmers. 

Not to mention that Tomas is awesome, cute, and funny.

Tomas Mikuzis_Energy-Ride_Crunch Cycling

10. Jaime Morales [for full profile, teaching locations and reviews, click here.]

ENERGY: he has it. Jaime is a wonderful instructor both in and out of the spin classroom. And he always has a smile on his face.

A tip: if he asks you, "YES OR NO???" the answer is always "YES!"

Plus, he reminds me of this guy.


11. Michael Macneal [for full profile, teaching locations and reviews, click here.]

The original MONSTER.

This guy might not look like a spinstructor, but watch out! His energy is off the hook. Plus, he's known for mapping out the whole ride on the wall (that is, when he's allowed to write on the wall) which makes the ride much more digestible.

Micheal-Macneal-Studio-Cycling-Equinox 2

Okay, so I guess he's not THE original monster...

Love, Lactic


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Comments 26 Comments

BeFit 03/12/2012

Dammit, that 'Atkins Diet' line should have been the title of my post on Charlee. You're making me look bad, Lactic. Happy to see my two favorites in here!

Lactic Addict 03/12/2012

Don't feel bad. It's like, really hard to be this clever.

moons 03/13/2012

You should totally check out Kristin Kenney at Equinox. She definitely got me back into spinning and keeps me coming to class week after week (multiple times a week). She has a massive following at Equinox (her classes book online in like two minutes). She maps out the rides and has the best music. She's a cyclist and has amazing energy and her classes are crazy FUN. She should definitely be included in any list of awesome NYC instructors.

Lactic Addict 03/13/2012

Thanks for the tips moons!

free.bee 03/13/2012

You've just handed me my "to do" list for NYC. I try to hit a different class every time I make a business trip. Hope I can get into some of these. Thanks!

atom102 03/13/2012

I've been a member at Equinox for over 6 years and have been on the elusive search to find the perfect spin class. Some have great music, some have great eye candy, some are good workouts. But no one seems to have it all. Two years ago, it was all about Chris' Tuesday night class at Greenwich Ave (he kept us in position 4 for 45 minutes.) Then last year I stumbled into Kristin Kenney's class. Awesome music, devoted students, been hooked every since. One of the best assets (same goes for Darryl's classes) is the camaraderie. When 80% of the class are regulars, it takes it to a whole new level. You work harder, yell louder, and have a better workout.

Lactic Addict 03/13/2012

free.bee - amazing! Keep in mind for booking: Flywheel booking opens every week at 5PM on Sunday; Soulcycle opens every week on Monday at noon; Equinox, if you can get a guest pass, opens the spin list up 30 minutes pre-class; Crunch opens up their list 1 hour pre-class, and you need to go put a towel on your bike to claim it; Clay opens up the list 30 minutes prior I believe. Not sure if you can get day passes there, though.

Atom - Kristin is on our to-do list; what is Chris's last name?

Lactic Addict 03/13/2012

Also, WTF is position 4? Is that like the 6th sense?

JWCrunchSpinner 03/13/2012

I'm obsessed with Carl! I try and go to 6 of his classes per week. Another fabulous one at Crunch is Reign Hudson! She's freaking incredible -- has so much spunk and energy, I never leave without a drenched shirt! Her Ft. Greene class on Monday nights at 630 (it's an hour, but she tends to go an hr fifteen) is da bomb! Last night we were out of the saddle the ENTIRE CLASS! #dead today

atom102 03/13/2012

Lactic - His name is Chris Griffin. I don't know if he still teaches at Equinox though. My bad about Position 4. I'm not sure if he called it that or if I totally made that up in my head. We would be in the standing position, but I feel like it was more aggressive than Position 3.

GymSquirrel 03/14/2012

I heard Danielle Hopkins @ Equinox was great. as for Chris Griffin, he is well appreciated for his hard core classes and has a great following by professionals as well, but i could never get past the monotonous trance music and his lack of encouragement (or speech for that matter). but that's just me Smile and there's always Gregg Cook who's easy on the eyes, very motivating AND plays great music. so there.

Flexy Sas 03/14/2012

Just another reason for me to visit NYC... great list!

TTOverlord 03/14/2012

I second moons' comment: Must check out Kristin Kenney @ Equinox. I race, and last winter she was the only thing that got my butt into shape to podium @ Battenkill and win the NY State Time Trial Championship. She actually races outside - so she knows what she's doing in class. Super motivational, super positive attitude. And she CARES about her students and follows up with them. She in essence becomes more of a trainer and coach to her loyalists. MUST SEE!

RPMSpinner76 03/14/2012

Kristin Kenny’s High Gear possibly THE BEST spin class in town, here’s why:

1.  Kristin is a real competitive cyclist, in the classroom she brings an exceptional level of motivation and energy, with an emphasis on posture and form
2.  Each High Gear class is based on a ride that she has actually done, and is mapped out on the board in front of you, so you have a “visual” goal
3.  She asks that the class rides as a TEAM; this creates a positive energy and vibe, which you will carry with you throughout the day!
4.  Her Playlists are PHENOMENAL and carefully selected to match the cadence/RPMs to pace yourself/challenge yourself!

I have taken many other classes but find that other teachers fail to bring the same level of energy, enthusiasm and drive to their class the way Kristin does.  

lco 03/15/2012

Sounds like I have to check out one of Kristin's classes! Re: Danielle Hopkins, I've started going to her Weds class recently and have enjoyed it. Lots of high-intensity intervals and some team drills. She's also a "real" cyclist and she's very good with watching form. Avery Washington is my absolute favorite, though.  

jaba 03/17/2012

I agree with the recommendation for Gregg Cook.  HARD class, but his music and constant encouragement make it awesome.  Best Equinox teacher, I think (and I've tried a bunch of them).
Michael MacNeal is also awesome - unfortunately they replaced his Tuesday night 92nd street class with Jillian Wright who really tries hard but just doesn't have it.

Lynn 05/04/2012

Carl is truly my hero. I never thought of him as silly or goon-ish, more like crazysexycool! I try to work hard alll through out, until he says something that'll tickle my funny bone, then I'll just collapse! Absolutely,  adore him!

chevere 05/23/2012

Gregg Cook is the greatest cycling instructor ever. It's like having a personal Olympic coach. All other Spin classes are a waste of time compared to his.  It's impossible to space out in his class because of his intensity and commitment, and the workout never gets easier even though I go every week.

workout girl 06/13/2012

You are all forgetting RUTH Zuckerman! Class gets harder and harder.

RatingMyBurn 06/21/2012

Rachel Buschert at Equinox is by far the best instructor.  She knows her stuff and will call you out for "cheating"!!  Which is awesome and a bit horrifying, but I'm not paying for entertainment (I want a workout!).  The music is great and she plans the cadence well with the ride which is really great and I've found most instructors don't have that talent unfortunately.  Her classes are super efficient and truly mimic an outdoor ride which I appreciate.  You should totally check her out. Plus, she did Insanity - you can't argue with that!

Ramani 07/10/2012

Hi, this is a super helpful post as I am just about to get into spinning and feel overwhelmed. However, it would be even more helpful if you included WHERE each of these people teach. You did with the first few but the rest, I dont see it. Thanks.

Lactic Addict 07/10/2012

Ramani, you are so right. We will edit this into the post ASAP. In the meantime, you can go to our full site www.rateyourburn.com/home and look them up - it will show you everywhere they teach in the city plus additional reviews from the community. Happy spinning!

oliver 07/31/2012

I think Akin A. from Crunch is the best, never had anyone better. i have never seen anyone that could sprit faster than him. He has so much energy, super friendly, best music and so encouraging.

Lactic Addict 07/31/2012

Thanks Oliver! Will def try to check him out. You should write a review! Here's a link to his profile:


Show him some love, he only has one review so far!

Nikhita 09/21/2012

stacey griffith!! She's a party animal. So much love for her.

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