Vicious Cycle

Vicious Cycle

By Wayne Schutsky / Photos by Kimberly Carrillo

Recess Endurance Training’s spin classes bring the heat.

While most Arizonans in the middle of summer fret over A/C-inflated electric bills, Katie Landa laments the detrimental effects the 100-plus degree weather has on her building’s heating system. That’s because heat – and lots of it – is a core component of the fitness instructor’s performance spin classes at Recess Endurance Training.

“It should be 88 to 90 degrees, but we’re probably not there yet,” Landa says from her position at the front of the class, surrounded by a semicircle of spin cycles. Every bike is occupied.

As the heat kicks into high gear and the room warms up, Landa smiles, turns on the pop music and starts the class.

The next hour would look very familiar to anyone who has attended a spin class before. Landa, perched on her cycle at the front of the class, instructs the participants throughout the hour-long course while intermittently yelling out resistance changes and referencing the bikes’ RPM monitors to dictate speed.

It’s almost like a normal spin class, with one huge caveat: the heat. I’ve felt it firsthand.

For the first 20 minutes or so, I worked up a decent sweat but did not feel too challenged by the rising temps. After all, 90 degrees is hot, but the weather outside is 15 to 20 degrees hotter.

As a native Arizonan, I was not about to be shut down by what is effectively springtime weather. However, as the red digital clock on my cycle neared the 25-minute mark, I began to feel it. My breathing became more labored and my legs began having a more difficult time recovering from the stretches of high-resistance spinning. I cherished the brief moments of low-tension cycling, so my aching legs could recover.

And the sweat. I cannot forget the sweat. Despite living in the Valley for nearly three decades, I had never felt sweat come out of my fingertips before.

If spinning in 90-degree heat doesn’t sound like enough of a challenge, Landa ups the ante with crunches. Throughout the class, she instructs participants to dismount and bust out a set of 100 crunches.

How many sets? That depends. Usually she sticks with 300, but I was lucky enough to visit on a day when Landa turned the quota up to 500 crunches. I definitely did not skip any.

Still, I, somewhat surprisingly, enjoyed myself. I am not a masochist, but there was something very gratifying about finishing the grueling class. That, in addition to the physical benefits associated with cycling for an hour and pumping out 500 crunches, left me feeling accomplished after the course.

I even felt, dare I say, energized after the class and experienced very little soreness in the following days.

But the best part of the class is probably the ice-cold frozen towel Landa met each of us with as we exited the room.

Landa, a longtime fan of hot yoga, chose to incorporate heat into her classes, because it adds flexibility and helps athletes increase their endurance in both hot and cold climates, she says. “It takes discipline and focus. The typical workout is intensified (by the heat).”

Despite that intensity, Recess Endurance Training is not just for serious athletes or gym rats. Landa caters to a wide range of customers and typically sees people between the ages of 40 and 60 who want to stay active and remain fit and flexible as they age.

“I like the accountability,” frequent spinner Theresa Fendrick says. “It’s tough so it keeps me motivated.”

Fendrick took advantage of the gym’s free three-class trial offer and now attends three to four classes a week.

That is a typical story at the gym, where most customers are regulars who come to multiple classes a week either as their primary form of fitness or to complement other workouts and sports throughout the week.

These regulars do not come back just for the workouts, though. Landa has made efforts to build a clean and comfortable gym and encourages clients to stick around after class and chat. Morning workout warriors will even show up early for a cup of coffee and to hang out before class, according to Landa.

Recess Endurance Training also doubles as a networking opportunity for Landa’s clients because of its prime location. Tucked into an assuming building in the heart of the Airpark, the gym attracts plenty of business people from the area who use the time before and after class to mingle, Landa says.

In addition to spin classes, Recess Endurance Training offers core conditioning and strength training courses – also with heat. The gym, located at 14811 N. 73rd Street, offers various packages, and prices range from $20 for a drop-in class to $700 for an unlimited six-month pass. Interested customers can also take advantage of a free three-class trial.

For more information, call 480-771-3894 or visit