Supreme Fitness devotes room to indoor cycling

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BRATTLEBORO — A room at Supreme Fitness is now solely dedicated to the intense workout of indoor cycling.

Instructor Natalie Knowles said that during her classes, the room is kept "very dark" and "very loud music" is played. She puts candles in front of her so she is illuminated.

The 14 bikes and the one used by her or the other three instructors are close together. Knowles said participants enjoy the pack mentality.

"The energy," she said, "it's electric."

Knowles said participants ride to the beat of the music, which includes a variety of genres. She recalled playing songs by Beethoven then Fleetwood Mac then Jamiroquai then Rihanna during a recent class.

Her goal is to get people to ride harder and reach their fitness goals. The playlists are inspired by happenings in her life or out in the world. She also works as the midday personality at Bratt FM.

Knowles began teaching indoor cycling about 15 years ago in Putney under the guidance of Ellen Abraham, owner of Burning Heart North on Elliot Street in Brattleboro. Knowles considers Abraham her mentor.

"She shaped and influenced much of my style of teaching," Knowles said.

Since she started teaching at Supreme in April 2016, Knowles said the number of participants has grown exponentially and many classes have sold out. That prompted Carla Grant, gym owner, to make a space just for indoor cycling.

The room opened Nov. 1. Previously, the classes were held in the front room where other classes are taught and bikes had to be moved around each session.

Grant said that through training the other instructors, Knowles is passing on her unique style to others.

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"Carla was so generous to create this space for us," Knowles said. "It's amazing."

Knowles described participants coming into class in slippers for the "rooster ride" at 6 a.m. or trudging through the doors in the evening in an "after-work slump."

Participants are encouraged by Knowles to "detach while they're in here and leave everything outside the door." She said there is never any pressure or criticism.

"Everyone is on their own journey," she said.

Knowles said the classes are very good for the heart and blood flow, and they produce an endorphin high, relieve stress and provide an energy boost. She considers the classes a full-body workout as participants lift weights, and do pushups and other exercises while cycling. A resistance wheel is turned up and down to change the intensity.

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Men and women participating in the class range in age from 23 to 70. They are of all different fitness levels. Grant said the class has created "good camaraderie."

Amanda Smith of Guilford, co-owner of Brattleboro Autobody, is enjoying the new room.

"The sound system is awesome and the room itself is amazing," she said in an email, describing Knowles as "a very thorough and detail-oriented instructor. She makes sure to deliver a spin experience that is invigorating, fun and incredibly rewarding."

Ben Cooper of Brattleboro is new to indoor cycling.

"I was a competitive swimmer in college, and since graduating, I have been looking for a cardio alternative that has a similar team dynamic but with the same individualized goal setting and achievement," he said in an email.

Cooper said he inquired about the classes after being a member of the gym for a while and seeing cycling class participants come out "drenched in sweat with giant smiles. Their excitement was contagious."

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Ever since he started, Cooper has been hooked.

"When the classes start, the lights dim down, the music gets turned up and you are in the zone," he said. "You can feel the energy of the group and the drive each person has ... It's cool to be a part of the group that comes out of that room, sweaty and excited, knowing that seeing that group and their energy was enough to convince me to give it a try."

There is "something remarkable about the community Knowles made with the class, Sarah Vangel of Townshend said in an email.

"The regular class participants have a genuine bond with each other that I have never experienced in group fitness classes before," Vangel said. "Each class offers an intense physical workout combined with a time to reflect, work through things, and come out of class a better version of yourself, physically and mentally. That is what keeps us all coming back for more. And kudos to Supreme for recognizing that and providing a dedicated space for the spin program to continue to thrive!"

Carl Lynde of Brattleboro said he enjoys outdoor activities including bike riding, and backcountry and alpine skiing.

"These activities usually put a demand on one part of the body or another," he said in an email, adding that a few weekly gym visits combined with the cycling classes make seasonal changes "more fun with fewer sore body parts."

Supreme has "really high-quality training and classes," said Knowles, who also teaches yoga, Pilates and suspension training there. A weekly class schedule also includes beginning strength training, boot camp, cardio and high-intensity interval training.

Knowles said the gym offers "the full wellness experience." It has a tanning bed and saunas, and will have a massage therapist soon.

Gym members pay $5 per cycling class or $39 for a 10-class card. Nonmembers pay $13 for the class or $99 for a 10-class card.

Cycling classes are held 5:30 p.m. Mondays, 6 a.m. Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays, 12:10 to 12:50 p.m. Thursdays, 5:30 p.m. Thursdays, 6 a.m. Fridays, 8:30 a.m. Saturdays and 9:15 a.m. Sundays. They run about 45 minutes except the Thursday afternoon class, which is a little shorter.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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