PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (Aug. 29, 2022) – When Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan Bradford discovered the benefits of spin classes, he soon began sharing his knowledge by volunteering to instruct classes at the Presidio of Monterey.
“By helping people, it helps me because I see them be motivated and it helps motivate myself,” said Bradford, who instructs 6 a.m. spin classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the Presidio’s Price Fitness Center.
Since Bradford started instructing the classes about three months ago, they have added variety to the gym’s repertoire of group fitness classes that also include Zumba, yoga and Inferno Hot Pilates. Together, they increase well-being and help keep the community fit.
Bradford said he started taking spin classes virtually on his stationary bike at home and liked that they provide a form of low-impact cardiovascular exercise that also burns hundreds of calories an hour. He completed a program online that certified him as an instructor and then began offering classes at the gym.
Bradford’s Aug. 29 class incorporated high intensity interval training, where participants alternated 30-second spurts of maximum effort with periods of lesser intensity that allowed them to recover. The stationary bikes have adjustable resistance levels, and for the maximum effort periods, Bradford asked participants to reach at least 100 revolutions per minute at levels that challenged them.
Even in spin classes where instructors provide recommended resistance settings to participants, it’s difficult to view the settings on a neighboring bike without being obvious about it, so ultimately, participants are on the honor system when it comes to effort.
“Spin is going to be as good as what you put into it,” Bradford said. “You can come in and think, ‘Oh I don’t really want to do it,’ and you can burn like 100 calories in the 30 minutes, or you can come in and be like, ‘Alright, I’m going to put everything into the spin class and in 30 minutes I’m going to burn 500 calories.’”
Unless someone is slacking entirely, however, they’re still going to get a good workout, and Bradford said that is one of the reasons he offers the classes first thing in the morning.
“If you get a workout in in the morning, it helps your body throughout the day because it wakes you up,” Bradford said. “That’s primarily the reason why I work out in the morning, to wake up, and if you ask anybody I work with, they’ll be like, ‘He comes in like a ball on fire.’”
Other benefits to spin classes at indoor facilities such as the Price Fitness Center include a lack of worries about weather, crime, uneven terrain, low visibility and traffic. The classes also provide camaraderie and a motivated instructor.
Second Lt. James Valdez, a civilian contractor at the Presidio and chaplain candidate with the U.S. Army Reserve’s 372nd Engineer Brigade, said he has been taking Bradford’s class since it began, and Bradford is an excellent instructor.
“This class has helped me focus,” Valdez said. “It’s been a good way for me to get in shape.”
Likewise, Mike Pine, a retired Soldier, said he has been taking spin classes for years and Bradford’s class is challenging in a positive way. “It’s just a good form of exercise,” he said.
Bradford said he enjoys motivating others to exercise and finds that motivation works both ways.
“You guys are an inspiration,” Bradford told the participants in his Aug. 29 class. “I want to say thank you guys for being here because it helps motivate me when I see you.”
Bradford, who has been in the Navy for 17 years, said all the mentors he has ever had have told him to leave the Navy in a better place than when he came in, and it’s a principle he fully believes in.
Nicole Dansby, manager of the Price Fitness Center, said Bradford’s spin class has been a great addition to the gym’s fitness class lineup.
“Not only is indoor cycling challenging and offers multiple cardiovascular benefits, but it’s also fun, high-energy and exciting,” Dansby said. “Working out in a group environment can boost motivation. There’s nothing like having someone by your side to push you through that extra rep or sprint and to cheer you on throughout your workout.”
Dansby said all the fitness instructors at the gym are volunteers, and for those who are interested in becoming one, the qualifications are to have some experience or background teaching fitness classes.
“We have a wonderful core of individuals who generously share their passion and talents with the Presidio of Monterey community,” Dansby said.
For more information on the Price Fitness Center, visit https://presidio.armymwr.com/programs/pfc.