Cycling with Jim West: Revitalizing Fitness through Spin Classes at Mike’s Fitness JP
At Mike’s Fitness JP, we’ve been fortunate to have some of Boston’s finest fitness professionals guiding our community towards healthier lives. Among them is a spin instructor whose journey began over 25 years ago with aerobics and has since spanned numerous fitness trends. Today, we’ll be talking to them about their rich fitness background, their transition into spinning, and how they’ve revolutionized spinning at our gym with their unique “Cycle to the Core Class.” Let’s pedal into their story.
Can you tell us about your fitness background and how you became a spin instructor at Mike's Fitness JP?
I started teaching aerobics over 25 years ago in several different Boston Heath Clubs and Gyms. Like most teachers, I followed the fitness trends and attended teacher trainings for new types of classes. I went from teaching Hi Impact aerobics to Hi Low to Step Class and Slide before Spin Classes.
I started teaching Spin classes after attending both Cycle Rebook and Madd Dog teacher training workshops in the late 90’s. At that time I was teaching Step classes for Boston Athletic Club, Metropolitan and Mike’s Gym in the South End.
After my first year teaching at Mike’s Gym I ended up running the Group Fitness in the South End location. After a few years at Mike’s Gym we added Spin classes to the program. When Mike’s Gym in the South End closed I worked for Golds Gym until Omar opened Mike’s Fitness JP.
What sets the ``Cycle to the Core Class`` you teach apart from other spin classes in the area?
Cycle to the Core encourages students to incorporate their Core into the Spin workout to help stabilize them. After attending a Pilates Mat teacher training workshop a lightbulb went off in my head. I could apply the Core strength training of Pilates to a Spin class. I started adding Core to my queuing during class while teaching. It really changed the way people rode their bike during class.
For most people Spin class tends to be a lower body workout. As we know, Core strength is an important component of our health and wellbeing. Our Cores play a huge roll in how we move, lift and perform activities in our everyday lives.
How do you tailor the ``Cycle to the Core Class`` to meet the specific needs and goals of each participant?
With any group exercise class, teachers should have modifications in mind to address specific needs. Asking questions prior to starting a class helps establish what you need to address during class. Direction for modifications to make the class or a certain action/move less or more intense are key.
This makes students of every level from a beginner to an advanced able to get the full benefit from class. It’s all about offering options during the workout.
Can you walk us through a typical ``Cycle to the Core Class`` with you?
I usually start with a warm up which includes most of the moves or elements I will cover in class. This includes queuing on what to do when so they can follow in class with ease.
Next ,I usually move into a format that will change depending on the music I am using for that class. I try to incorporate Hills, Sprints, Seated climbs and straight aways into each class. The order in which these are the class format changes with the music selections.
I use interval training to increase and decrease the intensity levels during class and provide recovery points. Finally we end with a cool down and stretch.
What do you think are the most important aspects of a successful spin class?
The teacher needs to know how to modify movements and how to que and direct students. As a teacher, you want people to understand what is happening when. The better your queuing/directions are to follow the better the experience is for students. It’s all about the experience in class that makes students return to take class again and again.
To sign up for your Group X Class with Jim or for more information, feel free to drop by the gym or Contact Us.