Where: New York Health and Racquet Club, 60 West 23rd Street, New York, NY
Douglas Johnson: Keep Calm and Cycle On
For someone who has been a lightning rod for comments in previous RYB reviews, Doug Johnson is a completely laid back character. I don’t think he changed facial expression for ¾ of the class I took with him: he was like one of those stone heads from Easter Island- dead focused, no cracks in the facade.
[Click here to review Douglas' class yourself, or check out his RateYourBurn profile here.]
- I've been wanting to try Doug’s class since Gym Squirrel incited a bunch of strong opinions in the comments section of her post on him.
- I’ve also heard his name brought up here and there in the fitness world, so obviously I had to get my nosy ass to one of his classes.
- From all the hype I expected him to turn into Michael Jackson mid-ride or at least shoot laser beams out of his eyes but Doug was actually the opposite of what I expected. He was absolutely the most calm, cool, collected instructor I have ever seen.
- Doug is obviously popular. I called HRC in advance to see if I really needed to be there half an hour in advance to sign up for his class at the desk (I was going at lunchtime and tacking on an extra half hour to that time away from the office is kind of brutal) and the answer was “Uh, yeah, especially for Doug’s class”.
- HRC on 23rd has brand new bikes (glee!) and the arrows on the resistance knob, in conjunction with Doug’s very specific instructions made it easy to be sure I was on the same resistance and beat as the rest of the class. He was precise and clear with his instructions as to resistance.
- I’ve pretty much beat the point to death that he was a calm dude. This doesn’t mean he was a zombie, though. He often got off the bike and walked through the room, pointing at various riders and saying “Yes. Great, you in the back. Yes, you sir.”
- He also clapped out the beat a few times (equivalent to Muri Assunção’s ring beating on the bike and Grant Belton’s “bap bap bap” which Lactic didn't mention in her review but is the main thing that comes to mind when I think of Grant).
- I saw a glimpse of the sense of humor that Gym Squirrel mentioned in her review when, at the end of class, we all clapped and Doug smiled, gave a little flourish and said “Thank you thank you, I’m here every Tuesday at 12:15!”
- I have to say that Doug is one of the more graceful sweat-ers (as in people who sweat not woolen garments worn on the upper body) I’ve ever seen. He didn't so much sweat as just developed a kind of glistening sheen during the ride. Here’s a visual of him versus me at the end of class:
On the class:
- Resistance didn't go up too high in this class, so I didn’t find myself grinding away like I do occasionally during other rides. Not that the ride was unchallenging (I had definitely worked up a good sweat by the end) it was just low to medium resistance for most of it.
- Doug is very regimented. Each song is divided into sequences which are repeated for the duration- up in third for a certain amount of time, running in second, turning up a quarter turn, and repeat kind of thing.
- Doug constantly brought us back to “0” so that we could all get a fresh start turning up the resistance together. Told us exactly how many turns to be adding, how our resistance should be feeling, how hard we should be working.
- Full class. Only bikes open were two in the front row (come on guys, front row is the best!) and this was a midday class.
Enjoyed this class. Doug’s a pretty intense guy, but I think that translates well into spinning- I can turn into a stone-faced statue myself when I’m in the zone. Comment away, y’all.
Find out more about New York Health and Racquet Club at www.nyhrc.com
Read more about Douglas on GymSquirrel's class review here