By Emily Feimster
Six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, has brought cycling to the masses and Hollywood is hearing his call. As a result, more and more celebrities are hopping on a bike and heading into the world of racing and triathlons, but not without the help of a little thing called Spinning. And, no, I'm not referring to the act of whirling your body around in a circle. Boy, would that have been good to know when first moving to L.A.!\
I'm talking about the kind of Spinning that involves a swift stationary bicycle, good music (hopefully), and a high energy instructor. This cardiovascular riding class allows people to zone out while climbing steep hills and soaring down open roads without ever having to leave the safety of a studio. On any given day, it's easy to spot a celebrity or two Spinning at one of the many fitness facilities across town - but it's in peace, we might add, so don't go asking for an autograph! Not that I tried or anything. Those folks seen pushing the pedals include Julia Roberts, Alyssa Milano, Hilary Swank, Will Ferrell, Jodie Foster, David Duchovny, "CSI's" Marg Helgenberger, Calista Flockhart, and Helen Hunt, just to name a few.
In the last several years, the ever-growing exercise has become a fitness phenomenon for people wanting a great workout in a shorter amount of time - which has been the biggest appeal for those jet-setting celebrities. "They love it because these actors don't always have as much time as everybody else," says spin instructor Riley McAlpine, who's been teaching at the ultra-popular Revolution Fitness in Santa Monica, California for the past six years. "One 40 minute spin class equals about an hour and a half out on the road," she adds. Not to mention the fact that you can lose 500+ calories per class but who's counting?
With the attention brought forth by Lance and the rest of these famous folks, Spinning classes are popping up all over the place. And the best part is? It's becoming cool again for men to wear spandex! Eat your heart out Richard Simmons. During the last eight years, Revolution Fitness alone has seen a tremendous increase in numbers, having started off with 12 bikes and now often being able to fill their 47.
Riley, who, through the help of Revolution and Fleet Feet Sports, was able to start her own running and cycling club, Team Riley.
The 100+ member team, already training for the September 19th Nautica Malibu Triathlon, has its own share of celebrities with the likes of William H. Macy and his wife Felicity Huffman, "The O.C.'s" Tate Donovan, model/actress Maxine Bahns, Kim Powers from "Survivor Africa," "CSI: Miami's" Emily Procter, and "Medical Investigation's" Kelli Williams - many of whom started off in, that's right, Spinning classes. See where I'm going with this?
Some might wonder what it's like to work with so many well-known faces but Riley admits that she's not one to be star struck -- unless it's Madonna, she quickly adds.
"It's really been proven that all of these celebrities in my arena are just normal, nice, awesome people," Riley says. "My club is about not taking life as seriously as we do so I think it might be refreshing for some."
For those of you who aren't having champagne wishes and caviar dreams, Spinning is not reserved just for the rich and famous - it's available to anyone who is interested. Besides, it's a great way to shut your eyes and sweat so forget about those treadmills and exercise videos and take a ride with the rest of Hollywood. Lance would be proud. For more information on Spinning or any of Revolution's other innovative workouts, take a peek at www.revolutionfitness.net.