Saturday mornings are typically reserved for cleaning, sleeping in late or mother-daughter shopping trips, but this past Saturday, I ditched my normal routine to attend a spin class (who am I, even?). The morning was chilly with overcast skies but that wasn’t enough to dampen my mood, I was heading to my first spin class ever in life — I leveled up.
Spiked Spin is a weekly fitness movement dedicated to creating “an atmosphere that is non-judgmental, accepting, and most importantly encouraging of your individual journey.” Founded by Briana Owens in May 2016, Spiked Spin encourages diversity, bringing together females and males alike for a “turned-up full-body workout” in the heart of Manhattan.
I arrived at the Complete Body Fitness Gym located at 10 Hanover Square ready to participate in Spiked Spin “Saturday Sweat” session in partnership with Melanie Marie, mompreneur and owner of custom jewelry brands Melanie Marie/AnnDrew Marie. I placed my belongings in the locker and headed towards the studio. Dimly lit and bathed in red lights, the space was filled with women congregating and greeting one another like long lost friends reunited. Jay Z’s “Big Pimpin” blared from the speakers as I maneuvered through the exercise bikes scattered across the room.
Owens took her place on the bike in the front facing the attendees and told us to get comfortable on the bike and adjust the seating to our liking. “My name is Briana, I don’t need y’all acting shy, I don’t need y’all acting like this is church or a funeral,” she announced as she introduced the class. “Think of this like a club. We’re going to party. No comparisons, no competition, this is about adding your own unique swag and being your best.”
— kween nee (@NerishaPenrose) May 20, 2017
Coming up off the bike’s saddle, we started our warm-up at third position (placing your hands on the two long handlebars furthest from your body) as we matched our speed to the beat of Drake’s “Gyalchester,” increasing the resistance by turning the knob twice. “Welcome to Spiked Spin ladies, let’s get crazy,” Owens yelled as we closed in on the last 30 seconds of our sprint. We returned back to the saddle for an intense ride to Beyoncé’s “Grown Woman” — all three minutes of it. By the time the song reached its chorus, we eased up off the saddle to test our strength and worked out our abdominal region by sucking in our stomachs while riding.
“Spiked Spin is rewarding because I’m finally starting to see my vision come to fruition of women feeling empowered and unapologetic in a space where they can be comfortable,” Owens, who has been spinning (teaching and riding) for about five years, told her sweat. “I try to create a space free of competition full of love and support. Everyone is constantly in go mode and that causes an innate competition, but when you come to Spiked Spin, I want you to know that there’s only one you and you need to live fully.”
Increasing the resistance another level, we slowed down the workout while riding to the bouncy, hard-hitting thumps of O.T Genesis’ “Push It (Remix),” a fitting track for this spin class virgin whose calves were aching by the third song of the morning. So I pushed through — stomach tucked in and all – and endured the pain with the thought of Teyana Taylor-esque abs keeping me motivated to stay the course. For the “Push It” chorus, Owens instructed us to do push-ups for a little added difficulty to ride.
Next up on the playlist was Chloe x Halle’s “Boujie Party,” where we picked up the speed and tucked our elbows in and out while maintaining a steady flow to match earworm track. Placing our hips back towards the saddle without sitting and adding more resistance, I clawed through Rich Homie Quan and Young Thug’s anthemic cut “Lifestyle.” “If you’re living your best life and you know how hard you work, let’s go,” Owens told the crowd. We transitioned into hip thrusts by the time Thugger’s verse rolled around.
Spiked Spin celebrated their one-year anniversary recently, and the past year has been nothing short of amazing for Owens. “This first year, I learned so much about not feeling defeated, staying out of my own way and allowing things to happen naturally,” she said. “Everything is evolving and happening exactly how it’s supposed to.”
Alternating between first and third position and push-ups, we turned up to “Deadz” by turn-up masters, Migos. While high energy trap beats ruled the hour-long workout, we were able to take a breather and groove to some classic oldies. Mya’s “It’s All About Me” entered the speakers and turned the room into a group sing-along session as all the ladies belted out the first verse.
After ripping through sped-up rides to Trey Songz’ “Animal” and a jersey club remix of Tinashe’s “2 On,” we started winding down to the end of the workout. A club remix to “I’m Every Woman” by Whitney Houston filled the room, with lyrics like “It’s all in me” giving us all the motivation to complete the routine. Owens shouted out all the working mothers in the room, praising them for all their hard work and dedication. Positivity permeated the air as Kendrick Lamar’s “LOVE” played in the background to end an hour of sweating it out in a room filed with hard-working moms, students and entrepreneurs.
“Take a look at the woman to your right and meet her at the most basic form of humanity,” Owens stated, turning off the lights as we cooled down. “Regardless of where you live, how you look, your body type, meet each other person to person, human to human.”