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Spinning creator Johnny G returns — at a less intense pace — with In-Trinity

Spinning creator Johnny G returns — at a less intense pace — with In-Trinity
In-Trinity class in Long Beach. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

In-Trinity is in many ways the polar opposite of Spinning, the popular pedal-to-the-music classes created and launched by Jonathan "Johnny G" Goldberg in the 1990s.

Instead of pulse-pounding rivers of sweat and blaring music, In-Trinity is stretching and flexibility on a simple wooden slant board with a touch of meditation, done to calming music speckled with outdoor sounds of birds and rivers. The difference reflects Johnny G's personal transformation.

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After moving to the United States from South Africa in 1979, and spending the next 25 years as a personal trainer to the stars, Goldberg was wildly rich, famous and fit. Then, in 2003, it abruptly ended.

Years of over-exertion and relentless worldwide travel compromised his immune system. A heart virus led to cardiomyopathy. He had heart failure in 2004 and almost died. Bedridden for a year, he sold his interest in Spinning and took an interest in yoga, Pilates and tai chi. "No more high-intensity stuff — ever," he said.

The idea for In-Trinity came up on a vacation in Brazil. Awakening from a nap on a sloping riverbank, Goldberg did a spinal twist, then had an epiphany: "We're used to flat ground, but the gravity of the slope adds more leverage," he thought. "And if I could reach below the ground, I'd get even more."

Home in Santa Barbara, he set a bench on an uphill slope in his backyard garden, glued rails under the edge for more grip, incorporated straps and tai chi sticks into exercises, and for years played with stretching-strengthening routines.

It's called In-Trinity because it's his third product, behind Spinning and the Johnny G Krankcycle, a hand-cycle for "Kranking" workouts. In January, In-Trinity won a prestigious product of the year award at the ISPO Munich sporting goods trade show in Germany.

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