DJ booth puts a spin on gym cycling class

Forget putting a pep in your step. The owner of NRG Fitness in Fort Lauderdale is adding a nightclub vibe to your workout routine.

At 7:30 p.m. every Monday through Thursday, Peter Ware shuts down the gym to other activity, turns down the lights and treats participants peddling away on 10 high-tech stationary bikes to the heart-thumping sounds of his DJ mix as an instructor guides them through a 50-minute class.

"To hear it, it gets me pumped up," said Ricky Bartle, 31, of Fort Lauderdale, an electrical contractor who has been an NRG Fitness member for two years. "You usually don't realize [you've done] 45 minutes until you look up and you're drenched."

Giant TV screens around the gym, one 120 inches wide, play music videos throughout the day, fed through an Internet connection.


Pictures: Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Ware said he was motivated to change up the beat in his fitness center after traveling the country taking various spin classes to see what was out there.

"I was constantly underwhelmed with the fast-tempo music, uncomfortable environment and general ineffectiveness of the class," said Ware, 32, who operates a second gym in Humana Inc.'s offices in Miramar. "I envisioned a class that took our riders on a 50-minute interval journey, keeping their bodies in an anaerobic state to maximize results paired with the energy and intensity of a live DJ to keep them motivated along the way."

He built a DJ booth in the back of the gym on North Federal Highway, spending $12,000 on a mixer, sound equipment and other record-spinning gear, "the same equipment they have in a nightclub," he said.

Then he taught himself how to spin records and put together his own personalized soundtrack to energize his spin class.

"I wanted a class that moved to the beat of the music," said Ware, 32. "If I speed [the tempo] up, everybody speeds up. If I slow it down, everybody slows down."

He eventually got so good, "they started booking me at nightclubs" in Miami, Hollywood, New York City and London. He said he continues to DJ on the side.

nbrochu@tribune.com

If you go

The spinning classes are included in the NRG Fitness membership, or unlimited classes can be purchased for $60 a month. The gym also offers private fitness instruction and boot camp classes on the beach. For more information, go to mynrgfitness.com or call 954-522-4674.