I’m a spin class addict for several reasons: 1) I’m directionally disabled and often get lost riding my bike on actual streets; 2) I can’t seem to get motivated unless someone is literally screaming at me to pedal harder; 3) I love how completely nuts spin classes have become — at my last SoulCycle class, the instructor was brandishing glow sticks while cranking Missy Elliot — it felt like being out clubbing, sans the hangover.
So obviously I’m excited about IMAX’s new virtual reality-inspired fitness concept, IMAXShift, that promises to use IMAX’s technology to “take you from the front of your saddle to the edge of reality.” Sign me up!
This new futuristic spin class claims to be many things: “intense, emotional, spiritual, performance-driven and altogether epic.” And while I don’t know about the whole “spiritual” angle, it does sound pretty intense — you can go on different “journeys,” cruising through scenic palm tree-lined waterways, fantastic renditions of galaxies far away or bolts of neon lightning.
Like many spin classes, it’s an interval-based workout where you ride to the beat, simulating different types of cycling experiences, like hill climbing and sprinting. But this workout is different because you’ll be doing it in front of a massive screen, and it allows you to view your speed — you can log your time and compare it to past workouts online after class.
IMAX may just be on to something. The fitness industry is exploding right now — a whopping 54 million Americans are members of health clubs, and boutique studios are leading the charge. Just going to the regular-old gym is a thing of the past for many, as poeple are looking for unique, individualized experiences at their fitness studios. Plus, giving participants the option to monitor their progress also appeals to the fitness tracker-obsessed among us.
In a statement, IMAX chief business development officer Robert D. Lister said that the experience could “set the stage for a new movement in physical activity.” He says there’s “clear growing consumer demand for more engaging group experiences” when it comes to fitness, promising participants that IMAXShift would be “unlike anything they’ve experienced before.”
The downside? So far, you can only do IMAXShift in their test-studio in Brooklyn starting April 28, and it’s super expensive — We’re talking $325 a month, or $31 a ride.
Until then, I’ll continue to take in IMAX the old fashioned way — with a bucket of popcorn in a weird vibrating chair.