Spinnin’ Steve

| December 2, 2010
Steve Duncan

Spinnin' Steve Duncan

It took Gerald Palmer almost a full year before he dared venture inside the Spinning studio at the local mega-gym where he worked out, even though the former University of Louisville football player knew something electric was going on inside.

Palmer navigated around the crowd of people who congregated outside the room well before the class had even begun, noticing how it seemed to increase in size week by week. He caught glimpses of the men and women focused intently on Steve Duncan, the long-haired instructor at the front of the room. He listened as Duncan led the packed room through intense one-hour sessions, cajoling them to keep going, to not quit on themselves, often citing his favorite inspirational quotes. And always, Palmer couldn’t help but bob his head a bit when he passed by each time and heard the heart-pumping bass and beats reminiscent of his favorite nightclubs. They were mixes Palmer soon learned Duncan made on his own, a new one before every class.

“The thing that attracted me was the music,” said Palmer, whose regular workouts had included solo running and treadmill work, in addition to weights. “I took my first class and I died. I did.”

Duncan told Palmer – as he does all Spinning newbies – “You go at your own pace, but you want to at least keep pedaling. You’re not going to walk out of here … and quit on yourself.”

Palmer eventually lost about 20 pounds. “The key is I lost 9 percent body fat,” he said.

Steve DuncanPalmer was hooked on Duncan’s class. Only problem, dozens of others were too.

“At first, I’d hope I don’t get in a wreck so I can get there (in time to fit into the limited-number class). Then, I would call to see how many people were signed up already. Every day. Every. Day. When you walked in (to the gym) at least an hour before, there was a line that literally wrapped around the lobby with people waiting to get into Steve’s class.”

It was funny at first, said Palmer. And then it wasn’t. “I didn’t get in one time and the laughter turned to straight anger.”

Then it turned into an idea. “When I heard of people who’d go to work early just so they could leave work early to get to Steve’s class, that’s when I knew this could be something,” Palmer said. Now fast friends with Duncan, Palmer set out to return the encouragement he’d been given in the form of support as Duncan contemplated opening up Still Spinnin’, the area’s first Spinning-only studio.

“It was the hardest thing to do to leave the gym,” said Duncan, “but they always say your passion never fails.”

He’s banking on that adage.

Duncan started spinning himself after going through a tough, tough breakup.

“At first I was like, I don’t know about all this bike stuff.” Soon, though, he was hooked and began taking classes six days a week in lieu of other forms of exercise. One day, when the instructor didn’t show because of an emergency,,  a buddy volunteered Duncan to head up the class.

“I just winged it, but after class, everyone told me how good it was. I was sold.”

Steve DuncanDuncan also had found a new love and got certified as a professional Spinning instructor.

“I never really had a passion before this. Once I found it, man.,  “¦ I don’t want to be one of those people who hates what you do for a living. Stress relief? Confidence? Yeah. Spinning is all that. I’m finally good at something – you know? – and nobody can take it from me,” he said.

Duncan uses his own journey from pain to passion when his students consider giving up and hopping off the bike.

“When you walk out because its too hard, I’m like, come on man. No risk, no reward. Take a chance. I’m big on the quote thing. You just can’t give up.”

Duncan will hold a grand-opening of Still Spinnin’ during Bardstown Road Aglow on Saturday, Dec. 4. The freshly painted studio features stenciled quotes from famous figures, including Muhammad Ali, a beautiful, spray-painted skyline of Louisville that connects three walls of the main Spinning room and top-notch LiveStrong Matrix Spinning bikes.

For now, Duncan has given up mixing his own music and has hired a professional. DJ Fluid (aka Yao Money) will spin the music – on a metal table designed by metal sculptor Tony Viscardi – while Duncan teaches his Spinning classes. “You’re not going to get bored with the music,” Duncan said.

If you’re anything like Bill Vandiver, you won’t necessarily notice it either, because the draw is Duncan, not his tunes.

“Two years ago, when my wife and I were taking his class at (the local mega gym), you knew you really did something afterward,” he said.

“It’s hard, especially at first,” said Vandiver, 50, who’s lost 45 pounds without changing his admittedly “average” eating habits (ie. cheeseburgers aren’t on his “do not eat” list). He looks forward to resuming class with Duncan, as do his wife, Alice, and Vandiver’s “60-something”,  half-sister. “Everyone’s going to want to do it,” he said.


I eat every three hours. No red meat, no pork. Smoothie King is in the ritual, you best believe that. I get the Gladiator. All protein.

Out “˜n’ about

I like to go to Sapporo. I do the same eating, same thing all the time. I go to the same places: PRIME Lounge,
Fourth Street Live!, Molly’s in St. Matthews. I don’t know, I just do the same things.


How much do I get? (Laughs.) Not enough. Average four to five hours, that’s bad. But at the same time, when you’re opening a business, you have so much stuff you don’t think about that you have to think about.

Music love

Jay-Z, that’s No 1. Lil Wayne. The whole Young Money Entertainment, Lil Wayne’s label. But Jay-Z really tells it all.

Spinning 101

What is it?
Spinning is the trademarked name for an indoor cycling program. (ie. Kleenex is the trademarked name for a type of tissue.)

What do I need?
Comfortable workout clothes, a water bottle, a gel seat cover and/or padded bike shorts are recommended.

What’s the benefit?
On average, participants burn about 400-500 calories in a 40-minute workout, but beyond that, many people experience weight loss, fat loss, the cardiovascular endurance, increased muscle tone and more.

Sources: www.spinning.com and www.livestrong.org.

Still Spinnin’
1745 Bardstown Road, located next to Swabek’s Highland Fitness
(502) 451-6555

photos by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | Voice-Tribune

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About the Author (Author Profile)

Angie Fenton
Angie Fenton is Managing Editor of The Voice-Tribune, a Blue Equity company. She is also an entertainment correspondent for WHAS11′s new morning show, “Great Day Live!”, which debuted August 22 on Louisville’s ABC affiliate. Additionally, Angie is an entertainment correspondent for the Saturday Morning Show with Ron ‘n’ Mel Fisher on 84WHAS (840 AM) and has served in the same capacity for Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks; Breeders’ Cup; and Circuit of the Americas during the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in November 2012. Angie also serves as an emcee, host, voiceover professional and on-camera commercial talent.

Angie has a bachelor’s and master’s in English from Central Michigan University and began her career as an adjunct professor at her alma mater. She is the youngest of five — four of whom were adopted, including Angie, and none of whom are biologically related. She is also a Michigan native who moved to Kentucky in June 2002. Angie is owned by two dogs — Herbie and Yoda — and feels lucky to have loved and been loved by many more, including Pooch, Jessie, Onyx, Jack and Big Bud, who took his last breath on Christmas Day 2012.

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