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Spin Class: Wheels of Misfortune

Spin classes have been around for about 15 years. But recently, new, souped-up spin studios like Soul Cycle and Flywheel, both based in New York, have attracted celebs like Kelly Ripa and Katie Holmes and given urban cubicle dwellers a new, jazzier torture chamber in which to mindlessly shed the office stress. With their loud music, ambient lighting, and hysterical, amped-up instructors, today’s spin séances aim to create an out-of-body experience in 45 minutes or less. “The classes are a civilian way of being among the military elites, like Navy SEALS,” says body-language expert Joe Navarro, author of What Every BODY Is Saying. “People can take out their aggression and pound away to the music,” says fellow expert Patti Wood, author of Success Signals.

Toiling away on a bike that goes nowhere may not be for you. (For example, you may be male.) We attended one class each at Soul Cycle, Flywheel, and Gold’s Gym and observed behaviors and enthusiasm. We then asked for interpretation from Navarro; Wood; David Givens (Your Body at Work); Johnny Goldberg (or simply “Johnny G.”), who started the first spin studio in the late ’80s; and celebrity spinner David Clayton-Thomas, of the band Blood, Sweat and Tears, which wrote the hit Spinning Wheel, and whose eponymous excretions are reminiscent of spin class.

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