It’s so fun to “rediscover” a workout. That has been happening to me recently with spinning. As I’ve mentioned (here), I taught spinning in college and for a couple years after. In fact, before I discovered running, spinning was my go-to cardio of choice. But since I stopped teaching, I’ve lost some of my fire for it. I just preferred teaching to participating, mostly because I got to pick the music 🙂 Also, every time I go to a spin class at a gym, they have no less than 25 fans going in the room. I really hate that because I like to get drenched in sweat when spinning (personal preference… I know not everyone likes that, hence all the fans). I cannot do that with hurricane force winds blowing on me from all directions. But when I tried Soul Cycle in NYC, it totally relit my spinning flame!
When I came back to DC, I really wanted to try out another studio style cycling class. This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending Francina’s Extended Body Ride at Revolve Cycling in Clarendon.
Revolve offers three different styles of class – Real Ride, Body Ride, and Barre Ride. A single drop in class is $18 with the option to purchase class packages of 5, 10, and 20 classes. For first timers, you can purchase an intro month membership for $59. (More info on pricing and memberships here) In the interest of full disclosure, I was given a complementary first class, but I think that’s just because I connected with them over Twitter about my interest in trying the studio. Clips are required to ride and you can rent them for $2 (which is what I did… I really need to just invest in a pair of clips already).
Towels are provided, which is awesome because my sweaty self cannot spin without at least one towel (I usually use two because I’m just THAT sweaty). I broke out my cycling shorts for this class and OMG what a difference they make. I totally forgot how much the padded seat helps. Anyways, before I knew it I was clipped into my bike and off we went!
Extended Body Ride was a 60 minute class that included two tracks of upper body strength training. The cardio tracks were great! I personally prefer more climbing / resistance work in cycle as opposed to “spin your legs as fast as your possibly can,” and Francina totally delivered. I was sweating and breathing hard by the end of the warm up. Her music selection was great, which earns major points in my book (if the music isn’t good… seriously… what is the point?)
The strength training part is really interesting to me. I had never included that in a spin class before Soul Cycle and I was super intrigued by it. Revolve provides a larger selection of weights, which I definitely liked. I ended up grabbing 8 lbs weights to get a more serious burn. The only thing I didn’t LOVE was they use these weighted bags instead of actual dumbbells. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them but my hands were really sweaty by the time we got to strength (yes it’s gross my hands sweat a lot, let’s move on). I kind of felt like I was going to drop them the whole time because the bags were so smooth. To be fair though, they did have free weights and Francina told people they could grab them before class if they wanted to. In the future, I probably will since they will likely be more comfortable for me.
Final Summation: I had a blast at Revolve. If you’re looking for the studio cycling experience, I definitely recommend checking them out. As a runner, spinning is a great way for me to get a kick-ass cardio workout while giving my joints a break from pounding the pavement. Revolve wasn’t just a workout, it was an experience! Surrounded by other riders in a dark room with pumping music, I was able to completely release the outside world and focus on my workout. I think there is a class pack at Revolve in my future…
Questions for you guys:
- Runners – what do you use for cross training?
- Have you ever attended a studio cycling class before? What did you think?
This weekend I had the distinct pleasure of making a trip up to New York City to visit my many friends who live there. We all went to college in DC, so I thought we’d all hang here after graduation. WRONG. I am the sole DC survivor. But that’s ok 🙂 It just gives me more excuses to travel! I grew up in New Jersey so I went into Manhattan often. However, I’ve gotten a much different appreciation for the city just going to hang out with friends, instead of going for some special event.
I love working out when I travel because it gives me an opportunity to experience different things. I wrote this post forever ago about working out on vacation if you’re interested. You might also remember that I participated in the Run to Recover in Central Park after Hurricane Sandy. This trip I decided to try out some of the classes I’ve been salivating over reading NYC fitness blogs (including Losing Weight in the City and A Healthy, Happier Bear). Here’s what I thought:
Saturday morning my bff Sarah and I teamed up and went to the 9:30 am Uplift Strength class at Uplift Studios. This is a women only facility, so we left Mike reading a newspaper in Starbucks. I think he was very happy to not be dragged to a class with me. Here’s what you need to know – if you live in NYC and you are a lady (though I noticed on their website they do have boys night) GET TO UPLIFT IMMEDIATELY. They offered a “first timers” discount of $16 which was amazing. We arrived early because Sarah was on the wait list and the women working at the studio could NOT have been nicer or more accommodating. They got Sarah into the class, which made me a very happy girl. They also provided water bottles, towels, coffee, snacks, phone chargers, locker room products, everything! This is a full service facility.
As far as the workout, I think I might still be sore. We had Michelle as our instructor and she gave one HELL of a class. She was super high energy and provided a superbly efficient workout. We worked each muscle group to fatigue but only performed each individual exercise once. I loved that! Every exercise I could say to myself, you never have to do this again so PUSH IT. Mixed into the class were three rounds of high intensity cardio tabatas (Here’s info on tabatas if you’re not familiar… they rock). I love mixing high intensity cardio in with strength because it makes my heart pump and my whole body pour sweat. I ❤ sweating. The very small class size was ideal for correcting form and not feeling “lost in the crowd”. Also, the music rocked.
Final summation: I will be going back to Uplift every single time I go to NYC. Besides being ridiculous accommodating on every level, the workout was top notch. In the words of Liz Lemon, “I want to go to there”
In the interest of full disclosure, I was a little skeptical going to Soul Cycle. People who attend classes there are SO in love and obsessed with it, I was certain there was no way it was going to live up to the hype. I also was a little shocked by the $34 / class price tag, but I went ahead and signed up for Emma’s 10 am class on Sunday at the E 83rd Street studio. My first impression upon walking in was, “woah, this is a pretty intimidating environment.” However, after I checked in, I felt much more at ease because they guy working there was SUPER nice. He gave me a pair of shoes and directed me to the locker room to drop my stuff. Then began my completely humiliating attempt to figure out how to work their super high tech lockers. I couldn’t figure out which ones were taken or how to work them. Finally, someone helped me. I basically need a babysitter whenever I leave the house.
When I got into the room, I was shocked by how close together the bikes were. I taught Spinning for 5 years and this was new to me! Mercifully, I reserved a bike in the back so I clipped in a prayed to God I didn’t die. Well let me just tell you… this class left me with NO doubt about why people love this so much. At first I was a little thrown off by all the moving around and syncing up as a whole group, but once I got the hang of it I was totally feeding off the energy in the room. It was a dark, sweaty mess in there and I loved EVERY minute of it. Emma was nuts in the best way possible, dancing all over the place. It was basically a dance party on a bike. I also loved the little strength training part, which we never did when I taught Spinning. It was just something different and I dug it.
Final Summation: Soul Cycle will give you one hell of a workout but it’s going to cost you. If you want to treat yourself though, this class ROCKS. It definitely made me want to check out other cycling facilities in DC too!
Questions for you guys:
– Ever been to Uplift or Soul Cycle? What did you think?
– Do you workout on vacation? Why / Why not?