Staff Sgt. Stacy Sanchez, from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI) instructs a spin class twice weekly to offer Soldiers another cardio option for morning physical training at Fort Drum. (Photos by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
10th Mountain Division Soldiers feel the burn during new spin class at Fort Drum
Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Oct. 18, 2019) – “Add four, add four, keep pushing, keep pushing.”
“Adding four” meant increasing the resistance on the spin bike, giving it the feel of pedaling up a hill. “Pushing it” were the 20 Soldiers hovering over their bikes during the hourlong spin class on Oct. 15, led by Staff Sgt. Stacy Sanchez, from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI).
Spinning is a cardiovascular workout that focuses on lower-body strength development by engaging the muscles from the glutes down to the ankles. It also uses core and back muscles to stabilize the body during the exercise. The health benefits include strengthening the heart and improving the lungs’ ability to supply oxygenated blood to the muscles.
Sanchez has been instructing the class since late September, twice weekly, as a cardio cross-training option for Soldiers across the 10th Mountain Division.
She plans out each session with a song list that fits the different tempos of the exercises – whether it’s an all-out speed drill or a high-resistance climb. Sanchez said she also rehearses the entire class on her spin bike at home, which has all but replaced her treadmill.
“We try different things: steep hills, rolling hills, sprints, some combination of weights with the songs,” she said. “There’s a lot of different exercises we can do, but I practice it first to make sure it makes sense.”
Sanchez said that she first became interested in spinning while on deployment to Qatar in 2016. It had the cardiovascular benefits of running, but it was easier on her knees.
“While deployed, I was looking for a different workout I could do,” she said. “Running is great, but there’s more to cardio than just running. I wanted to be more versatile than that, and spinning was just easier on my body.”
Sanchez said that she received her spin bike as a Christmas present, and she became hooked on the home workouts.
“I love that bike; it’s amazing,” she said. “For me, it helps keep my cardio up, because I can’t run as much as I used to.”
She said that the commanding general’s guidance for PT is for Soldiers to have 120 minutes of cardio exercise each week. Sanchez doubles that by rehearsing the two 60-minute classes and then instructing them.
Capt. Eric Harris, with 210th Brigade Support Battalion, had never attended a spin class before, but he said that it was the kind of workout he would try again.
“I never thought to do cycling before like this – never crossed my mind,” he said. “This was good. My legs are definitely feeling the burn.”
Maj. Sean Raleigh, 2nd Brigade Combat Team S1, said that the music has a way of motivating people through a rigorous workout and easing the pain somewhat.
“You definitely can get a lot out of this class – I mean, it can leave you hurting a bit – but it’s not as impactful on your knees and back,” he said. “You’re going to work up a great sweat and get your heart rate up.”
Some people will hop on a bike and start pedaling without fully understanding how to make it a proper workout. Raleigh said that the class incorporates different speeds, resistance levels and movements so that participants get the benefit of training in different heart rate zones.
He also said that taking a spin class breaks up the monotony of PT, and this is especially relevant now as Soldiers are encouraged to train for the Army Combat Fitness Test.
“We’ve invited a lot of our friends and staff sections to come out and try this,” he said. “They kind of laugh about it, thinking they’re just going to ride stationary bikes. But some of them who have come worked out with us, by the time they are done they were saying, ‘I didn’t realize how much this would push me.’ We work up a sweat here. And the best part is when they say they want to come back.”
Sanchez said that she was grateful that her leadership has allowed her to conduct these spin classes.
“It started out kind of small because no one really knew about it,” she said. “Then the signs were put up around the gym, and it took off from there. We’ve had some classes where it has been packed. I think when it starts getting colder outside, we’re going to see even more people in here looking to get their heart rates up. It’s going to be hot in here.”
All Soldiers are welcome to attend the free spin class, scheduled from 6:30 to 7:45 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays at Magrath Sports Complex. Since the room has roughly 30 bikes, the class is available on a first-come, first-served basis.