Luis Masutier brings a bit of his Spanish va-va-voom and music expertise to Gymbox, with his fun and uplifting spin classes. "Music in my classes are so important" he says. "When you're exhausted, it keeps you going!"
Hi Luis! What's has inspired you this week?
Hi there! The biggest inspiration this week has been my first visit to the new gym at Victoria. I will be the first one to teach in the spin studio and it is... Whoa, amazing! A powerful sound system with great LED lights full of effects to enhance the workout. It's gonna be awesome to teach there.
You've lived in the UK for three years, what do you love most about it?
The first thing that struck me from London was its multicultural feeling, so many mixtures of races and backgrounds, which is really cool. I know there's still room for improvement, but the UK is leaps and bounds ahead of my country in that respect.
Do people in London have a different attitude to fitness than back home in Spain?
Oh, definitely. London is a fast city, we're all continuously rushing. When people go to the gym, they maximise their results, they really go for their workout. In Spain gyms are much more social – you see many more people chatting and flirting, they don't take it as seriously. Of course, people get better results here in general, but it's also true that there are bigger differences in the UK – you hardly see 'average' people. Most are either overweight or very fit. In Spain you see a broader spectrum of fitness levels.
You teach indoor cycling across several Gymbox sites – why choose this as your style of class?
You know when you can't have enough of one thing? That's when you know it's YOUR thing. I think I did my first spin class 15 years ago. I loved it and started doing it compulsively. I've tried many different styles, different schools and trademarks... and the more you know about it, the more demanding you become. In Madrid I couldn't find many instructors who pleased me, so I decided to become one myself, completing the beginner and advanced levels with Bestcycling. I also have my level 2 in Exercise to Music, so I can deliver other kind of classes. It may not be long before I start teaching Rave and Ripped and Stripped. But you know, nothing equals an intense cardio workout where you follow the music anywhere it wants to take you.
What do you love most about teaching at Gymbox?
There's mainly two aspects that make Gymbox special: the vibe and the people. I love the design in all the clubs, it makes me enjoy while I do my weights, it prevents the boredom to kick in. Also the live DJs bring me up big time! Then, there's the people. All the staff are really cool, and the members? You better deliver an intense class or they'll be really upset. And that's much more fun as an instructor, obviously.
There are new Matrix IC7 bikes at Gymbox Covent Garden, tell us about those and how they work
They are amazing machines, and we have them also in Victoria and Westfield Shepherd's Bush. The IC7s are smooth and robust, very well designed – it's really easy to get the perfect fit for every member as they have four different sliders to adjust height and length. Then, there's all the metrics, which really make the difference: you can monitor your speed, the amount of resistance you're working with, and the power you're producing. The bikes also provide a test for you to check your "FTW" (Functional Threshold Wattrate). Plainly put, that is the maximum power you can produce in one hour. Even if you don't test yourself, the bikes predict your FTW from your age, gender, weight and fitness level. This FTW allows for the workouts to be tailored for each member that participates: everyone will be working at a percentage of their own maximum power. The way we do this is with colour zones. I know, it may sound complicated in writing, but in practice you just need to do a simple set-up, follow the colours and trust me, you'll have a great workout.
How have members responded to this new instalment?
I would say most people are really happy with them. I've started seeing in my classes some chaps who never dared to do a Wattbike class, as they can now track better their progress with the bike summaries. Also, with the Matrix IC7 we can play with standing positions, which makes the workout more varied and enjoyable. We still get great workouts, we have more fun, we monitor our improvements better... Of course members are happy! At the beginning it too a little while to adapt, until the members fine-tuned with the colours and FTW, but now all the regulars know their numbers.
'Spin' classes have become increasingly popular over the last few years, why do you think this is?
I'd say that the main two reasons are that they're fun and effective. On the one side you have a cardio workout which is simple – you're just cycling, you can't get lost in the choreography. Also you are working out while listening to empowering music. For me it's like I was dancing, but burning many more calories. Because that's the second part of it: you really get to improve your cardiovascular fitness. And you get a better tone in your leg muscles. And you lose weight. And there's no impact to injure your joints. And you feel in power of the situation: you can keep it cool on a day you feel down or push yourself harder than requested when you're fully energised... Did I say I love this game?
We hear you used to be a DJ and produce music, and sing – tell us about that
Well, let me clarify that! I never got to DJ professionally, I can DJ – I love music and I have played with turntables/DJ software. I did sing in bands, as a frontman and backing vocals, and even in gospel choirs or classical choruses. In fact ,I have a BA and a Masters in Music History. I also learnt some music production tools which I used to compose my own tunes, especially for a musical short movie I wrote, yet unfinished. I guess that music is my passion, and I just can't have enough of it!
Has this musical side impacted on the way you not only select music for you classes, but how you deliver them?
Oh totally. To start with, I love indoor cycling because we cycle consistently to the music's beat, which isn't really possible when you're on the road. When you're exhausted, the music keeps you going and takes you further than you'd have gone on your own. When I prepare my classes I always make sure that the music I choose has the right vibe for the technique we will be pursuing on the bike. The right speed isn't enough. Nor the right energy. You need both together – at least for my spin style. My music taste is really broad, so I always try to combine a number of current mainstream hits with some classics, odd rarities and a few international songs, especially Spanish/Latin American, which I know better. #PleaseDontStopTheMusic
Do you think this music experience gives you an edge as an instructor?
In a way, yes. I choose music carefully. I mix it myself, and prepare the workout from beginning to end, so any class I teach is never a last minute playlist I've put together. I also like to prepare some special classes. Last year I did one for Halloween, another for Christmas, a Queen workout for Movember. But, I think that also the way I deliver my classes is important: the music takes the centre, as it dictates the workout with its beat. I also tend to do intense classes, which our members love, and I try to keep a balance between fun moves and endurance work. That combination of good music and an effective teaching style would be where the edge shows up.
For those who haven't been to your spin class before, how would they expect to feel when leaving?
Drenched in sweat, realising that they've done a strong cardio workout and had great fun in the process!
Follow Luis – @luismasutier
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