Thrive: An Out of the Saddle Workout

Mecka Fitness has you going places with a virtual-reality bike ride.




photo by John Altdorfer

There’s a moment when you know you’re committed to a workout routine.

For me, that moment came when I arrived for a spinning class at Mecka Fitness and was asked what size shoe I wore.

“Seven,” I replied dubiously. “Why?”

“I’ll get you some SPD Cleats,” said manager April Jackson. “They bolt you to the bike.”

Admittedly, I’m late to the whole spinning craze. I vaguely remember someone telling me that the instructor screams and calls you names the whole time. But bolting me to the bike? Sadistic.

I’m told the cleats that will lock me into Bike No. 18 for the next 45 minutes will engage a far greater muscle mass, because not only will I be engaging my center of power to push down, but I’ll also be engaging them to pull up.



“Your butt is going to hurt tomorrow, but you’ll feel great!” Jackson adds.

Inside the space are rows of Schwinn spin bikes on tiered risers. There is a video of a virtual road projected onto the wall. “Your bike is attached to an avatar, and you’ll also get to see your stats,” Jackson explains.

After she locks me to my bike, certified instructor Jill Gates comes over to say hello.

“The big key is to watch the monitor and keep your RPMs between 75 and 80, which is your baseline,” she explains as the lights dim and music comes on.

I can already see my avatar slacking behind the pack, so I pick up the pace.  

“OK, let’s mentally prepare to get out of the grey, green and blue. We’re aiming to get into the red. Give me one half turn of resistance and get out of the saddle,” Gates calls out.
 

“Five, four, three, two, one… turn up! Everyone stand! Stand!”

If the avatar is the bait, I’ve taken it, refusing to allow No. 18 to fall out of the race. As my heart rate jacks up, Gates makes her intentions known.  

“I’m gonna get a 40-second sprint out of you!” she says. “Give me 95 RPMs. Off the saddle! Three, two, one… go!”

Hunkered down, sweat beading, legs flying, quads ignited, I imagine hundreds of calories burning. Glancing at the monitor, it’s more like four. I keep up, though, eventually burning my way through 285 calories, to which I gladly bid adieu.

“I’ve seen people come two to three times a week, and the fat just melts off,” Jackson says.

Verdict: The energy spike you feel for the next 24 hours is ridiculously addicting. Good luck trying to resist it.  

Mecka Fitness  •  439 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon; 412/206-0941, meckafitness.com
First class: $10. Monthly packages range between $99-$149.
 

Eat This Month


Vitamin K2
Along with calcium and Vitamin D, Vitamin K2 has proven to be essential for bone building, assisting with placement of calcium in the bones and teeth, says registered dietitian and holistic health practitioner Jessica Marshall of New Directions Counseling Services in Wexford. Most diets are lacking in Vitamin K2, but it can be found in fermented foods, dark chicken meat, hard cheeses and eggs, she says.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Free Watch Party: Anthony Bourdain's “Parts Unknown” in Pittsburgh

Free Watch Party: Anthony Bourdain's “Parts Unknown” in Pittsburgh

A local theater will show the much-anticipated episode on its big screen Sunday night

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Parts & Service Adds Pizza To Superior Motors

Parts & Service Adds Pizza To Superior Motors

Executive Chef Kevin Sousa and Pastry Chef Kate Carney are cooking sourdough pizza in an outdoor brick oven.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 5 Best Underrated Fountains in Pittsburgh

The 5 Best Underrated Fountains in Pittsburgh

While we all know and love the grandeur of the fountain at Point State Park, there are many hidden fountain gems throughout the city. These are a few of our lesser-known favorites.

Comments


Madness and Mayhem in the ScareHouse Basement

Madness and Mayhem in the ScareHouse Basement

Visiting the world-famous haunted attraction's adults-only, subterranean experience.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
It's What Steelers Do After Kansas City That Matters

It's What Steelers Do After Kansas City That Matters

The team is more than capable of beating the Bengals Sunday, but are they willing to keep their eye on the ball long enough to begin stacking victories again for a change?

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

#Gottahaveit: Take It To the Hoop

Robert Hallett, Goldsmith, handcrafts the jewelry in his Oakmont shop.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Celebrate the Life and Work of George Romero This Week

Celebrate the Life and Work of George Romero This Week

A preview of the week-long tribute to the late filmmaker, plus reviews and more movie news.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
The Pick of the Patch: Pumpkin-Themed Proposals

The Pick of the Patch: Pumpkin-Themed Proposals

In honor of fall, we’re showcasing three couples whose proposals involved one of the best things about the season: pumpkins.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Holiday How-To: Upgrade Your Fall Decor with Advice from Local Experts

Holiday How-To: Upgrade Your Fall Decor with Advice from Local Experts

Interior designers share their tips on creating easy, elegant décor that will take you from Halloween through Thanksgiving.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

Tuition Increases at the University of Pittsburgh

School trustees voted this week to increase tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Comments

Edit Module

Edit Module