Beat the cold weather exercise blues with a URI Spinning class

Can be as grueling as an outdoor bike trek, or run

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Off AND SPINNING: URI senior psychology major Brittany Znizek in action as she teachers her Spinning class at URI’s Anna Fascitelli Fitness and Wellness Center URI photo by Shelbey Galliher.

KINGSTON, R.I. – Dec. 19, 2016 – You are a committed cyclist who rides year-round in rain, manageable snow and freezing temperatures. Or you are a runner who is no less intense.

But when folks around the office and some other friends suggest that you try Spinning you are tempted to say, “Get a real bicycle and get outside. Loud music, gadget bikes and a leader yelling at me about my shortcomings are of no appeal to me.”

Plus, you think you’d be able to kill it, especially since you’ve ridden long-distance events like Bike MS, which offer 150-mile treks in two days. Maybe you’ve run a marathon or a half-marathon.

But then, you keep hearing about Spinning from friends and even a student worker in your office.

So you decide to take a class with that student worker– Brittany Snizek, a Spinning instructor at URI’s Anna Fascitelli Fitness and Wellness Center and a senior psychology major.

“It’s fun and challenging,” said the Manorville, N.Y. resident, who learned from a mentor at the Fascitelli center last spring semester and who then completed her official Spinning certification at home during the summer.

A competitive dancer in high school, she didn’t immerse herself in a fitness program until her sophomore year at URI.

Brittany Snizek, a Spinning instructor at URI’s Anna Fascitelli Fitness and Wellness Center, of Manorville, N.Y. helps Dave Lavallee, URI assistant director of communication, get ready for his first Spinning lesson. URI photo by Shelbey Galliher.

“I started taking Spinning classes in my sophomore year, and I really got into it,” Snizek said. “I am a better person because of Spinning and I am happier and healthier. Taking classes here was fun because the instructors are great. Then I learned that The Fascitelli Center was looking for instructors and I decided to try it.”

She was taught by a mentor during a five-week period, and then to get the job, she had to complete an audition. After successfully completing the audition, she passed a nine-hour course to gain her national Spin certification. She now teaches two classes a week.

“I have only received compliments and some say it is the toughest class,” Snizek said. “Each week, I see the same people, which I hope means they are enjoying it.

At the beginning of class, Snizek helps a newcomer adjust his bike. She gets her music set, climbs aboard her bike and starts giving instructions. Don’t worry about ringing ears when you leave. Snizek plays her music so it is loud enough to get her class pumped up, but not so loud that you can’t hear her directions.

“I like music with a beat that gets you moving, but I don’t want it to be ear-splitting” Snizek said.

Thanks to Snizek’s encouragement and directions, it doesn’t take long to understand the relationship to revolutions per minute and resistance, and to respond when she calls out directions for climbing, straightaways, hills and various combinations.

At one point in a recent session, Snizek became concerned about one class member.

“I looked at his face getting so red, and I thought he was going to have a heart attack,” she said after the session. “That’s when I started urging the group to ‘go at your own pace’,” said Snizek, who is also certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

That focus on their students is a tribute to the instructors and the training they get through URI’s Department of Campus Recreation and their Spinning certifications.

Snizek plans to pursue graduate school to become a guidance counselor after earning her bachelor’s degree from URI. Through her Spinning class, she has a good start on how to help people meet challenges through encouraging words and a bright smile.

But at the end of it all, you say, “I’d still rather be outside cycling and running.”

But local roads are narrow and dangerous, and can be especially hazardous in dark, icy conditions. And many drivers have no interest in sharing the road.

So, Spinning is an intense and fun alternative, especially at the Fascitelli Center, which seems even more impressive than when it opened. But maybe that’s because of people like Snizek and other URI Campus Recreation staffers who greet their patrons with a smile and wishes for a great workout. If you are interested, check out the great programs at Fascitelli, Mackal Field House and Tootell Aquatic Center, http://web.uri.edu/campusrec/.