Local fitness club takes to their bikes to fight cancer


On Sunday, The Edge Fitness For Women on Broad Street will be participating in Pedal to End Cancer, a fundraising event for the American Cancer Society consisting of individuals participating in spin classes for up to three hours.

The Edge owner Natalina Earls participates a number of charity-driven physical events, but this one is extra special to her because her mother is a cancer survivor; she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma when Earls was a teenager.

“I love any physical event that goes towards a good cause,” said Earls.

This will be Earls’ second year holding a Pedal to End Cancer event at her fitness center, because it is only the second year she has had bikes. During last year’s event, The Edge team raised nearly $2,500. At the time, the center only had seven bikes (she now has nine), but all seven were filled for all three hours; a few girls even participated for the full three hours and plan to do so again on Sunday. Other funds were raised through a donation class Earls taught on the same day, as well as donations coming in during the weeks leading up to the event.

The Edge opened in January 2012, but Earls was initially hesitant to offer spin classes because she was not a fan of the popular workout class.

“At first I didn’t like it. I brought it in because clients were asking for it,” said Earls, admitting after about three weeks she was hooked. “Spinning is really weirdly addicting.”

Earls said spin classes are incredibly popular, especially during the winter months when many runners and cyclists have to find comparable workouts inside.

“You’re in your own zone; it’s your ride,” said Earls, explaining that her spin classes take place in a basement room with very little light to allow spinners to clear their minds and concentrate on their ride. “It’s very individual, which is funny because we’re such a community here.”

Participants in Sunday’s Pedal To End Cancer have the option to sign up to participate in all three hours, or one of the hour blocks. A different instructor with his or her own unique teaching style teaches each hour.

“All of my instructors are donating their time,” said Earls. “Every instructor is so different.”

Earls does have a few girls signed up to participate in all three hours of spinning, which she admits is a tough workout.

“By the time you’re done, you’ve worked between a half-marathon and a full marathon [between 13 and 26 miles],” she said. “It’s something you train for.”

Because Earls’ studio only has nine bikes, interested participants should call The Edge to reserve a spot. Currently, there are spots available in all three-hour blocks. To reserve a spot, or get more information, call 749-3134.

All participants must also register for Pedal To End Cancer through the American Cancer Society by visiting www.pedaltoendcancer.org and searching for The Edge among participating clubs.

In addition to three hours of spinning for the cause, Earls will also be offering two of her popular fitness classes during the event for others to enjoy, in exchange for a donation to the ACS.

At 10 a.m., Earls will hold her hour-long Donation Bootcamp workout class, followed by an hour-long Donation Ballet Barre, which she described as a standing pilates class using a ballet barre.

“People who come in don’t pay for the class; just donate what you can,” said Earls.

She offered the Donation Bootcamp class at last year’s event and found it to be popular, while Ballet Barre is a new class offered at The Edge.

In an effort to raise even more funds, Earls has created a “Burpee jar” at The Edge. For every dollar in the jar by Sunday’s event, Earls will perform one burpee. A burpee is an exercise move consisting of dropping from a standing position to a crouch into a push up and jumping back up. They are one of the most dreaded moves in a Bootcamp class, so getting the chance to have their instructor endure the move multiple times has proven a popular fundraising tool.

“There’s already $20 in there,” said Earls with a nervous laugh.

While The Edge usually offers classes specifically for women, Earls explained the Pedal to End Cancer event is open to all, clients and non-clients. Last year, she found it was a good event for her clients to bring their husbands, significant others and friends.

At The Edge, Earls offers smaller classes such as kickboxing and Strengthen and Tone, capping each class at only 10 participants, as well as personal training by appointment. Earls said she gets to know each of her clients on a personal level, giving her the opportunity to better serve their strengths when it comes to working out and to provide a friendly, welcoming environment.

The facility is also mainly for women, providing a no-mirror, no-scale environment.

“It’s one of the most meaningful things I’ve ever done. Every day I come here and I get to hang out with these awesome women with so many different life experiences,” said Earls.

Although The Edge is dedicated to women, Earls also offers personal training sessions for men, a co-ed spin class once a week and a boot camp class for children.

For more information about The Edge, visit its website, www.theedgefitnessforwomen.com, or call 749-3134.


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