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Meet Me at the Gym: Release inner 'guroo' at Naples cycle studio – Naples Daily News

Editor’s note: Meet Me at the Gym is an occasional Tuesday column about Southwest Florida group exercise classes. Wellness reporter Shelby Reynolds finds the newest workout crazes, unique locations and the interesting people behind them, then gives them a try so you know what to expect. Have a suggestion? Email shelby.reynolds@naplesnews.com.
There’s something hypnotic about the pumping music, the dimmed lights and the side-to-side motion of cyclists, each peddle synchronized to the beat.
It’s energizing and perfectly contagious.
I was hooked after my first indoor cycling class at Cycle Guroo, with Charla Goodnight chanting inspiring motivations.
“Be OK with where you are,” she shouted over the music. “Because showing up is half the battle.”
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A native of Immokalee, Goodnight was only 13 years old when she first felt drawn to physical fitness and its physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits.
“I have vivid memories,” she said. “I was sitting in my house, in my bedroom, with a Thighmaster, and being like ‘Oh my God, this works your body, what is this about?'”
Years later, she started dreaming of opening her own cycle studio. Cycling, she said, is accessible to anybody. It’s low-impact and injury-free.
“When I was 13 all I wanted to do was share movement with other people because it felt so good and I know what it does to the body when you move,” Goodnight said. “It releases chemicals in the brain, it gets you feeling better, when you feel better you can treat other people better. It’s a cycle.”
She opened her own studio four years ago off U.S. 41 and Rosemary Lane in Naples. It was called Time Trial Cycle at first, but she found that many clients thought it was some kind of competition, so she changed it to “Cycle Guroo.”
Goodnight said she’s always been a spiritual person, so she aspired to help people conquer their goals and release their inner “guroo.” Cycling, she says, is designed to help riders reach new limits in life and in exercise.
“If they can walk out and feel totally in their body and release energy that no longer serves them well, then mission accomplished,” she said.
Group cycling classes are offered seven days a week, 365 days, “unless there is a hurricane,” Goodnight joked. Each of the 45-minute classes follow the high intensity interval training model — moments of high intensity movement interspersed with moments of recovery. This method has been shown to increase metabolism and burn more calories throughout the day
The “Time Trial Body” class includes hand weights during recovery to provide a full-body workout, “Time Trial Power” is straight cycling, and DJ Cycling includes a live DJ spinning tracks right in front of the class.
This one is offered at 8 and 9:30 a.m. on Friday mornings, and it’s one of the most popular classes, Goodnight said, so I decided to give it a try.
I was excited and nervous. As I slipped on the funky, clip-in cycle shoes — which are available to rent at the studio if participants don’t have their own pair — one of my classmates suggested to “go at your own pace.”
In the lobby area, there were bathrooms, showers and changing rooms, plus lockers for your belongings. Towels were provided, and you’ll certainly need one. Maybe two.
Inside the studio, the back wall is a mural of a beautiful mountain range with splashes of deep oranges and purples. It was dark inside, with purple and orange spotlights. I was bike No. 17, second row, right in the middle.
Goodnight adjusted my seat so that my knees were in line with my ankles. She showed me how to increase and decrease resistance, and then clipped my shoes into the pedals. There was no going back now.
The bikes use some kind of high-tech system to transmit results in real-time onto flat screen televisions mounted at the front of the room. Here, you can compare your RPMs and other stats to the rest of the class, which can be beneficial to a newbie, like me, to help determine the targeted range.
Feeling shy? You can have your name removed. 
Throughout the class, Goodnight was the best hype girl. She hooped and hollered, and even hopped off her bike to dance along to the music. It felt almost like a night club.
Even though it was my first cycling experience, and I was entirely out of shape from the holidays, I was able to keep up with the class. As somebody suggested, I went my own pace. I only added a quarter turn on the resistance knob when Goodnight said to add a half turn. I took my time going in and out of the “saddle” when I started to lose steam.
Most importantly, I had a blast doing it. 


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