There’s not much I haven’t tried… when it comes to fitness that is. I’ve been at this rodeo for long enough that it’s tough for me to try a fitness trend that’s completely new. I’ve been flipping tires, with a heart rate monitor, in bare feet while simultaneously carb loading and low carbing, since the late 80s. But yesterday I tried something completely new to me. On a day trip to the Motherland, my NSLP and I went to a class at Ride Cycle Club, a workout for your body and mind. Similar to SoulCycle and Flywheel, it’s not just a spin class, it’s meant to be a spiritual journey.
Things are changing in the fitness industry. Big box gyms are going the way of the dinosaur (thanks god). New studios are highly specialized boutiques that aim to not only provide high-quality training sessions but build a community around fitness. Instructors are becoming celebrities and the community of followers tend to speak about their workouts as transcendental.
- Vibe. The dark room, super-loud music and absence of cell phones was awesome, forcing you to focus solely on the workout. Because we were in the back row, there were times when every rider was perfectly in sync which looked super cool and did make you feel like you were part of a tribe.
- Lots of classes. These new studios typically offer 6-10 sessions per day which means no excuses.
- Amenities. The studio offers cycling shoes, towels, spa products in their shower rooms, filtered water for your water bottle, ear plugs (necessary) and of course, monogrammed plastic bags to transport your sweaty gear home, fully recyclable of course.
- The absence of any outside stimuli meant we were in this kind of vortex where time and space ceased to exist. As such, I had no idea how much time had passed or was remaining. I didn’t like it. I was pushing as hard as I could, I guess, but didn’t know how much to leave in the tank for the rest of the workout. Did we have 30 minutes left or 3?
- This is not at all like real road cycling. In these classes, you are encouraged to get up out of your seat and move your entire body while bouncing to the rhythm of the music, the exact opposite of what you want to be doing when you’re on the road because… splat. Once I let that go and appreciated that this was a completely new experience, it was much more fun.
- ummm… these classes are not cheap. Is it worth it? Yes. Health and fitness are always worth it. But, you have to have it to spend it so I’d love to see some community outreach with these new clubs, especially these that have a bit of money backing them.
It was a loud, dark, high energy workout that left me with ringing ears, a red face and pouring with sweat. Was it a spiritual journey? No, but I see how it could be.
One final observation: every single person in that room was beautiful. Especially this little muffin standing next to me: