Always wanted to try spin but intimidated by how toned and muscular people in class look, and how intense it sounds?
Fear not! I wanted to faint after my first class, and was not even able to clip in to the bike properly. I wanted to quit, but hesitated. I knew that I had a lot to gain from the classes, and did not have a regular workout routine at the time. I couldn't bring myself to go to the gym to go through the same boring routine. I'm glad that I persevered because I grew to love spin. The community vibe, energy, great playlists, motivated instructors screaming at you, non-stop low-impact cardio and variety of movement keep things exciting. There's nothing quite like it.
Spin sessions are now my addiction, a way to get pumped up on weekends and feel rejuvenated after a long day at work. They have transformed my mindset and body.
These classes don't come cheap, and might set you back over $20 a class, and hundreds per monthly membership. However, take advantage of the free or $10 per first class offered by many studios. Classpass also offers a selection of spin studios. Try out different classes to find your favorite before committing!
Here's the rundown on some of my favorite Vancity studios:
Ride Cycle Club - One part bootcamp, one part nightclub
I'm most familiar with this spin studio - I went twice a week because of free lessons from work. It's one of my favorites due to the high-energy beats, dark ambience and awesome, unique instructors.
Ride "challenges the status quo of indoor cycling...each ride is a full-body workout combining an intense cardiovascular sweat, micro bike movements and full body toning reinforced by the authority of music."
Their classes incorporate different movements and even weights to provide you with an intense experience. Riders focus on following the rhythm of the music. Every class brings them through a series of steep hills and low dives. Instructors all plan their classes differently to provide a unique experience. One thing's for certain though - everyone is sure to push themselves to their limits and get sweaty.
Why you should try Ride Cycle Club: Can you really say no to a Bieber-themed class?
Spin Society - All about celebrating community
Located right by the Granville Bridge, this turquoise-themed studio is intent on empowering and transforming riders.
I chatted with Emily Lee, Spin Society instructor. She is obsessed with spin because of the "energy from the music, the adrenaline, the people, and the place. When you walk into the studio there's a feeling of excitement you get from the environment and the people that ride at Spin Society... no matter how often you go or even if you feel tired before coming - you will always feel this inexplicable energy."
Spin Society is different from other Vancouver studios because "the community here is so diverse." While Emily's classes are "a combination of electronic dance party and soulful motivational meditation, some instructors rock hip hop and others are all about those house beats. You'll always find an instructor you click with and enjoy."
Emily advises newcomers to come to class early. "It helps to calm you especially if you're nervous to be prepared. The squad can walk you though the studio to familiarize you with lockers, water station, washroom, etc. We can also use the bike at the front to help show you how to safety set up your bike and learn how to clip in so you are familiar with our bikes before you even enter the spin room."
Knowing that Emily is also a retail connector and bootcamp instructor at the urban athlete clothing store Ryu Apparel, as well as UBC Kinesiology Major, I had to pick her brains about lifestyle changes to complement a spin routine. She emphasizes that "clean eating is very important to anyone trying to get fit. I'm a believer in a lifestyle that is 80% diet and 20% exercise focused. Vancouver is the perfect place to find inspiration for easy clean eating through trendy restaurants and lifestyle bloggers (such as yourself)! As far as sports go, mix things up and try new things - when you find something you enjoy stick with it. When I moved to Vancouver I tried basically every type of fitness class and sport available. Everyone is different and it's about finding what makes you excited to exercise. My other fave hobbies happen to be yoga and bootcamps."
Spin, eat, work out, repeat. Sounds like a good mantra to me!
Eastwood Cycle Sanctuary - Sweat to find your zen
"Our middle eastern vibe, our entire experience, and our class variations: The Icon, The Athlete, The Mamacita, and The Cyclist" are what Jill Sheridan, founder, believes distinguishes Eastwood from the others.
"If you’re entering into an Icon class get ready to ride to the rhythm [party on the bike] and if you’re entering into an Athlete you will be challenged beyond measure to get you cardio ready for the road. We offer a variety of class styles and instructors that bring their own flare and music. Everyone is truly unique."
Jill reassures newbies that "this workout is for you and you only. Have fun, push yourself, but know your limits. We have a ton of new people each and every day so you won’t be alone."
As for exciting new developments, Eastwood is launching "guided meditation classes as well as boxing classes this spring in our downtown location, both which are incredibly complementary to your cycle regime".
Cadence Vancouver - Rise, shine and sweat!
I was privileged to be able to speak to the owner and one of the original founders of Cadence, Natasha Lowe. Cadence was the first spin only studio in Vancouver and have been in operation for around 6 years.
Natasha loves that spin "allows her to be surrounded by so many amazing people and positive energy everyday", as well as "seeing the positive changes (both physical & mental) that happen to people throughout the ride."
Cadence "focuses purely on spinning. Expect a fun cardio workout that follows the beat and the flow of the music, integrating lots of hills and high intensity intervals. We don't do any upper body work on the bike, we prefer to just focus on the cardio aspect of the workout. We spin with dimmed light in the room because we want to give people the opportunity to take a mental break (without distraction) and just focus on the workout."
Typical classes "start with a 4-5 minute warmup at which time our instructors will go over all the basics of spin and provide a quick heads up on what to expect throughout the ride. From there, it's up to each of our individual instructors. Expect a fun mix of sprints, hills, and tempo intervals. Each class has a carefully curated playlist designed by each instructor, and every class/playlist is always a little different."
The friendly studio encourages guests to work at their own pace and achieve their own fitness goals. For newcomers, "spinning is a great beginners' way to get into working out, but it's also a great way for experienced athletes to cross train and improve their fitness for other activities and sports they might be participating in."
Cyklus Vancouver - Serious cyclists ahead
During the class I attended, riders competed against one another. We could see our results on a large television screen. This made me work even harder and (hopefully) burn more calories during a gruelling class.
Cyklus sets itself apart by offering classes such as Go Fondo and IRONride. The latter class is taught by an instructor who has completed a full ironman. It invites you to join in on increasingly lengthy and challenging classes.
Try different kinds of classes - from beginner to advanced at this studio located in Chinatown!
So now that you know what spin is all about, get ready to rock and roll to some serious tunes, and sweat it out while you're at it!
Comment here or on the Facebook page about why you are interested to try/love spin and stand a chance to win a free spin class!