I hate spinning. There, it’s out there. The only spinning class I attended was over ten years ago, at the David Lloyd gym that I used to frequent lazily before marriage, babies, and life took a swirling pace which ultimately left me quite unfit and a couple of numbers above my ideal dress size (if I only knew then what I know now…) And that spinning class was simply horrible, boring, exhausting and truly put me off spinning for good.
So, when Nadine, aka the wonderful trainer who puts me through my paces on the Model Method at ThePilatesPT, suggested I try Psycle for a great cardio work-out in a super convenient format (45 minutes sessions, just a couple minutes away from my office), I snorted, then vehemently vowed I would never set my bottom on a stationary bike out of my own accord. Ha ha. All it took was a free class which one of my younger (and fitter, dare I admit it) colleagues signed me up for in late December, and I was hooked. Really. Since then, I have been at least twice a week, sometimes more if my schedule allows it.
What’s the hype? The work-out is unlike anything I had imagined. The room is dark with neon lights, very much like a nightclub (I know, this is quite the trend it seems, see my post on Kobox), only the floor is occupied by rows of stationary bikes and instead of a “DJ booth” there is a little platform with a bike with some overhead lighting for the instructor, so the class can follow what is going on. After I manage to click my special shoes on the pedals, something which took me a few sessions of practice, I’ll admit (don’t judge, yesterday I did a class where the guy next to me gave up unclipping the shoes and just left them there, so it is a common issue at first…), I start pedaling to warm up, and, as soon as the session starts we are all told to follow the beat: right, left, right, and so on. And that, my darlings, is what I love about this class: between pedaling to the beat and the rhythmic upper body movements, this looks and feels very much like dancing on a bike. If you’re the instructor or one of the expert trainees, that is… In my case I think I must look more like a spastic seal dripping in sweat trying to cycle for dear life, but who cares, it’s dark and I’m not here to look good!
Each of the classes I have been to includes some speed intervals (to get the heart going and the little chubby pockets melting, thank you very much), strength work where you push the resistance of the bike up until your legs pretty much refuse to push, and lots of fun upper body work including some weights towards the end. Throughout, the instructor reminds you to stay focused and let go of whatever negativity has crowded your day, a welcome reminder in my case, seeing as my mind tends to drift back to mull over grey thoughts, pretty much all the time. I have come to think of some of the sections as meditation, on a bike. Each instructor has their own playlist and gives a different vibe to the class, after a few visits I know which ones suit me best. By the end of 45 minutes it feels like my whole body has been given a pretty hard ride inside a tumble-dryer, but the sense of achievement and peace is pretty high!
Also, the space in itself is pretty fantastic, very modern and sleek in an industrial kind of way. They have the coolest (if a bit small at crowded times) changing rooms I have seen in a while, complete with Bumble & Bumble products and GHDs for all the hair-conscious riders out there, and lockers which are big enough to accommodate my massive LLBean tote with all my day’s necessities, and then some. As you come out there is a little energy kitchen where you can order some pretty delicious restorative smoothies, perfect for a breakfast on the go after my Thursday morning session when I don’t really have time for much more before heading to the office.
If you’re looking for a super effective and convenient work-out to fit around your busy schedule, then Psycle is for you. The classes are available to purchase online by packages with no membership fee, so it's not too onerous to try a couple to see if this is your thing; you can book online, the schedules go online every Monday at lunchtime (a pretty popular time for the website which did crash this week!) and the classes run really early to really late, so it's super practical. Don’t be put off by how tough the first class will seem, by class two it will already be much easier and at class five you’ll be breezing through (sort of…)
Check it out here: http://psyclelondon.com/