By Chris Shaffer

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It is a little before 6 a.m. at the Douglas Dayton YMCA in downtown Minneapolis.

While many of us are still counting sheep, there are close to 20 “spin-enthusiasts” that are counting down the minutes to the beginning of a grueling, hour-long spin class that will surely put them to the test.

“I love to start my day with a workout. It kind of energizes you,” Tin Zing said.

Each may have their own reasons for being here and perhaps, that’s just the way the YMCA wants it to be.

“We have the wonderful responsibility to serve all,” said Jennifer Menk, the YMCA’s senior director of fitness.

best spin class in minnesota downtown ymca WCCO Viewers’ Choice For Best Spin Class In Minnesota

(credit: CBS)

Now that may sound a bit corny in this context, but it is pretty much the exact principle upon which the “Young Men’s Christian Association” was founded back in 1844: To meet the social needs of those it served, regardless of their religion or social class, and create an environment of inclusiveness.

And spinners that burn together churn together. On the day WCCO-TV visited, the group is cycling along the fjords of Norway.

“The visual can be anything from a music video, to underwater, to out in outer space,” Menk said. “We can take any road in the world.”

This “stages flight” cycling technology at the Y is the only one of its kind in Minnesota. But even as cool as this virtual component is, it’s the other things that are shown on the screen that really “wow” these fitness geeks. Each ride can see their speed in RPM, as well as the watts of power they’re conducting.

The class also gives one a sense of biking in a group.

“I typically ride on my own. I commute by myself, so there’s something to be said when a room full of people all chasing the same finish line,” said Deepak Advani.

And through a little friendly competition, friendships are formed.

“When you join, you find this connection, and then it’s like working out with your best buddies,” Zing said.

And so it looks like this one hundred 74-year-old organization is continuing to do what it has always done — providing a culture of inclusion, in fitness and in health.

Chris Shaffer

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