Two years ago I moved out of Williamsburg, quit the Greenpoint YMCA, and decided to go whole hog and become a real gym rat. I joined Crunch. They have unlimited towels. Sometimes they’re warm.

The best thing about joining a real gym is spin class. The best thing about spin class is the music. The best thing about the music is that it’s personally curated by emphatic, fabulous instructors who were clearly candy ravers (substitute culturally relevant term) in their younger years.  Spin class is part motivational speaking, part beat matching, and also—as one classmate said—”…it’s like going to church.” I’d like to add here that it’s a very gay church. E.g., one instructor encouraged us by yelling “WORK!” and then spelled it out, to the beat, “W…E…R…Q”.

My favorite instructor Nathalie likes to use tracks with polyrhythms so that everyone can find their own pace. As you might imagine, there is a lot of late 80s faux-horn vocal house and afrobeat. Somewhere in between these two is Art Jones’ Umhlaba featuring SHANA. Not freestyle Shana. Simply Hot and Naturally African SHANA.

Nathalie introduced this South African dance track by having us envision a hill that we were climbing. Days later, on solid ground, it’s still giving me that kind of lift. And you?