Fitness Travel

RIDE Cycle Club – Dance On!

Call me crazy, but when a friend that lives halfway around the world is visiting a city reachable in less than 2 air hours, it only makes sense to book a last minute ticket and hop on a plane.  So when I heard my girlfriend from South Africa was going to be in Toronto…cabin crew, prepare for takeoff.

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True friendship is irreplaceable

Being back in Toronto (see CYKL in The 6ix) excited me for other reasons as well. It gave me the opportunity to check out new local workout digs. This time around, I had the advantage of chatting with my girlfriend’s cousin, who lives in Queen West, and could give me some insider 411. Score! After much discussion, I landed on RIDE Cycle Club, also in the Queen West neighborhood.

The Studio

Walking in, ok that’s a lie…literally running in, because I used the Toronto Bike Share and couldn’t find a hub to save my life. (Sidenote: there’s a hub just down the street from the studio, I’m just blind). Anywho, running in, the first thing I noticed was the crispness of the place. Almost everything was white and shiny. The friendly woman at the front desk got me signed in and handed me a complimentary pair of spin shoes…which is key to us spinners who love to travel but don’t want to carry around yet another pair of shoes. Oh and did I mention, first class is FREE!

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Crisp! And awesome gear!

The locker room mirrored the clean white vibe from the lobby, and was a fair size with a handful of showers and hairdryers. And you guys…I totally did NOT plan my outfit (case and point, I was traveling), but when you vibe, you vibe (mind the selfie..but I had to).

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I match the decor!

The Sweat

 From the time you walk into the studio you feel welcomed and a part of the team. Either the instructor or another member of the team is available to assist in bike setup if you are new to cycling or haven’t used Schwinn bikes before.

I took a class with Cat and it was a legit party. If you have ever taken a Soul Cycle class, think about the tap backs, push ups and crunches on steroids. She had us bouncing around the saddle for almost the entire class. While the music was great, I found it hard to get “into” the ride with so much moving around. The beauty of a cycling class, though, is that if you aren’t feeling a movement or if your muscles don’t want to do something, your workout is in your own hands. Instead of a push-up, work in a jump. If you don’t want to move in 3rd, keep your bum in the saddle and pick up the pace. And like I said before, the music was top notch…which, let’s be honest, makes or breaks a class. Cat’s energy was also contagious and kept you feeling engaged and ready to push.

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The Results

Saying I left that class sweating is one of the biggest understatements of the year. Try dripping, pouring sweat. Ya…definitely more accurate. Between the constant movement on the bike and a great arm weight track, my body was feeling pretty worked – a great way to start off the day.

I would recommend trying out this studio if you are into the ‘dance-like’ format, but traditional cyclists beware. Knowing that each instructor has their own style, I would return for another class and see what others have to offer.

In Sweat and Health,

Buda

Fitness Travel

Sweating with Zeus, Apollo and Athena

It feels like it has been an ETERNITY since my last post! Over the last couple months, I have been enjoying the beauty that summer brings to Boston as well as taking some much needed vacation. If you’ve been following my Instagram (@willtravelforfitness), you may have noticed that I was recently in Greece. Let me say, what an incredible experience! But I have to be honest, vacationing can get you out of your routine, especially when traveling internationally and navigating cultures that are different than your own.

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Tree posing at the Temple of Zeus – Acropolis in the distance

Living in Boston has spoiled me. There are fitness studios on every block, and no matter what hour of day, you can always find a fun and challenging workout. In Athens, Greece, it was a little different. The studios were few and far between, and while Street Workout Athens was very intriguing, our schedule did not allow for it. This is where creativity is key. Luckily, our hotel the King George Athens had a small gym where cardio and strength exercises were possible. It’s important to remember, though, that it doesn’t matter where you are; a workout is always one step away.

King George Hotel

During one of our days in Athens, we visited the Panathenaic Stadium – which is literally made entirely out of marble. If you ever want to be in awe, make this a stop. The 2004 Olympics graced this amazement of a venue, so to get in some exercise you HAVE to run the track. If you don’t…were you even there???

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From Athens we travelled to Crete. Now, we didn’t do the typical island tourist visit. Instead, we stayed in this small village of Choudetsi in the center of the island to get the feel for how true locals lived. We stayed with Evangelia at Villa Memories who not only provided personalized assimilation to the village (yes, we drank Ouzo with the locals…or as we liked to call it, “fire water”), but also owns Rhous Winery. Talk about the royal treatment…some of their wines are even sold at Milos in New York City! We were given a private tour and tasting, which reaffirmed my love for international wines. Oh and sidenote…Grecian coffee….hands down the best I’ve had thus far. Cappuccino Freddo needs to be in my life, always.

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Enjoying Rose amongst the vines at Rhous Winery

And let’s be honest…with all the hills in the countryside of Crete (and there are A LOT), I had to take advantage of the breathtaking views…which resulted in a magnificent, yet tiring, run.

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Santorini was a little more tricky from a fitness standpoint as we stayed in the town of Oia. Being one of the most popular destinations, and renowned for the MOST beautiful sunsets on the island, it is tourist haven. However, since the town sits on the caldera, there are cliffs and hills like no other. To get to Amoudi Bay, you have to walk down 200+ steps…and watch out for the donkeys because they literally have NO sense of personal space! While riding them looked like quite a fun experience, I saw the opportunity to get in some stair sprints. Long strides and fancy footwork (watch out for donkey poo!) make running up these stairs both entertaining and tiring! Don’t mind the weird looks you get from passersby…they’re just jealous you’re getting in a workout. Piece of advice…wear sturdy shoes/sneakers.

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Donkey rides from Oia to Amoudi Bay

 

Overall, this vacation was about immersing ourselves in the culture, relaxing and enjoying life. While I did not get in a daily sweat, my body thanked me for the recovery and rebuilding. When traveling, it’s important to find the balance and not stress out if things don’t go according to routine. When on vacation…get in that sweat, but be creative while you do it!

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Cheers! Yamas!

 

In Sweat and Health,

Buda

Fitness Travel

CYKL in The 6ix

I’ve been traveling for work this month, which has brought me back to part of my roots….Toronto, Canada. While I love traveling, it seems to always break my routine, both fitness and meal-wise, and it drives me freaking bonkers. Even though it may take extra effort, I’ve found that keeping one small piece of your day the same helps overcome the “blahhhh” feeling. For me, it’s spin classes.

While looking to get my exercise fix, I was surprised to see that the number of workout spots in the Financial District were limited. Where does everybody get their sweat on before/after work?? If you know the secret, please share! Anywho…I decided to go on a little journey and took a 25-minute walk to the west.

As I was craving a good spin class, this place called CYKL caught my eye…

The Studio

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If I hadn’t done a little research ahead of time, I would have taken one look at the outside of this studio and ran for the hills. It looks like a run down building with random exposed pipes along its storefront. Knowing you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, I took a deep breath and walked inside.

Talk about “no frills!” The inside was just as rustic as the exterior. Think unfinished basement vibe. Crumbling concrete, peeled paint and the like. The studio is one big room with a section in the back for class, which holds about 30 or so bikes, a little side area with cubbies and benches, a space up front with a couple TRX straps, and a small spot by the window with merchandise for sale. Although the ambiance may be a little less glamorous, the equipment and sound system is on point.

Downstairs there is a small locker room (don’t forget your lock) and two showers. Piece of advice, don’t go down there. It’s deeper into the basement and unless you’re smaller than 5’4” and 110lbs, the shower sitch will be a challenge.

Since I left my spin shoes at home, I was happy to hear that they provide shoes complementary. Granted, the shoes are a thousand years old, but cycling is so much better when clipped in as opposed to with sneakers, so suck it up, Heather.

The Sweat

The bikes at this studio are RealRyder® bikes which are cray-zy. They MOVE with you to simulate more of a “real bike” experience. It definitely takes a bit to get used to, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like I was going to fall off a couple times, but it was a really cool feeling nonetheless.

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I took a Wednesday evening “CYKL Top 40 Ride” with Diana. She started class by breaking down the structure of the ride bit by bit. Now, if you’re someone that likes to know what’s coming up, this is really helpful – especially because she put the layout up on a whiteboard at the front of the room. On the other hand, if you’re like me and like to be surprised at what’s coming next, this portion of the ride could have been better left out.

The ride itself was fun. There were no silly “push-ups” or “crunches” on the bike – AMEN. Instead, we took off on a course mixed with heavy hills, fast sprints, bends in the road and a combination thereof. The bends I found to be particularly challenging because you have to guide the handlebars to one side with your arms and abs and hold it there without letting them snap back to the front.

Diana was a very low key, calm instructor. No jumping up and down, dancing or yelling for this one. Personally, I love the energy instructors bring to class so it was a little hard to keep up the motivation, but she was technically strong and still kept me engaged. She cued on point, when needed, but otherwise didn’t talk much.

The Results

Overall the class didn’t make me sweat, huff and puff like others have, however, when I went to get out of bed the next morning my abs were on fiiiiire! Being suspended on these RealRyder® bikes really forced me to keep my entire core engaged throughout the 45 minutes. Kudos!

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If you aren’t looking for a spa-like studio with state of the art bathrooms and beautiful ambiance, and want a raw, classic ride, try out a class at CYKL. Your first ride is only $12 which is a really nice break from the regular $25-30 normally charged for similar classes. Couple words of advice though….bring your own shoes.

In Sweat and Health,

Buda

Fitness Travel

Thirsty For Juice – Miami, FL

I love juicing. Not so much the, don’t eat anything else for 3-7 days, type of juicing – I’ve tried it and was so ravenous I couldn’t even make it 2 days – but as a snack or post workout quencher, I am all for it.

My favorite time to grab a juice is after a workout. Now before you start yelling at me about the need to replenish your nutrients and get some carbs and protein to repair your muscles directly after a workout…Chill. Out. It’s vital to recovery, I know that, but after spinning for 45min or running 5 miles, the last thing I am thinking about is a protein heavy sandwich. As long as the bigger nutrients are replenished within the 2 hour window following a workout, go ahead, have a juice.

Sill with me?? Great! I’m a sucker for a good green juice. Not all juice is created equal, so when I was visiting Miami, FL, I went on a mission to find what the Brickell neighborhood (home of the Four Seasons) had to offer.

Stop #1

Cold Pressed Raw Kitchen

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Think light woods, whites, cushioned benches, and potted greens. They prep and bottle their juices once a day so you better get there early because it is first come, first served.

I learned the hard way and got my hands on one of the last juices called Zen-ahoria. Carrot, orange, lemon and ginger. Refreshing, with a bite. Order it. Thank me later.

If you haven’t heard – Avo Toast is so hot right now, and I.Am.Ob.Sessed. When I saw it on the menu, it was a no brainer…I had to try it. The menu originally listed a house pesto, but when mine arrived with balsamic vinegar in its place I couldn’t complain (I actually think it made it even better). It added a pop of acidity to the creamy, buttery avo spread. While presentation was a bit to be desired, my tastebuds, and muscles, were saying thank you.

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Stop #2

Brickell Fresh Cafe

Talk about an adorable hole in the wall. This place is legit a little window surrounded by wooden planks and plants galore. Their juice flavors vary by day, so I tried the “SP2” juice – spinach, coconut water and pineapple. That’s it! And seriously, that’s all that was needed. If you’re looking for hydration, this is it.

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Their menu consisted of quinoa/rice bowls, salads, and smoothies, which catered to both vegetarians and carnivores. If I am ever back in the area, I am 100% returning, testing out the menu, and bringing whomever I can with me!

Stop #3

GreenLife Organic Bistro

Patio seating. Check. Water fountains. Check. Fresh juices. Check.

If a menu has a green juice called “FCK Cancer 2” you buy it. No questions asked! It had spinach, cucumber, lime, green apple and celery. Jackpot. I had found true bliss.

Upon checking out their website, I was happy to read that they utilize ingredients that are “free of genetically modified organisms, pesticides, hormones, and anything that doesn’t belong in our food much less in our body.” Yes, GreenLife! Good in = Good out.

It was almost lunch, and I was hungry, so I decided to take a peek at the food menu. One piece of advice – if you are a pescetarian like myself, you may not be impressed. The salads and sandwiches were limited, and honestly quite boring. And alert, their tuna contains fat-free mayo. Not sure how you feel about mayo, but it freaks me out.

One thing that you absolutely cannot miss….If you want the taste of…I can’t believe I’m going to use this word….moist (*cringe*), orange cranberry bread, without the guilt, Oh Em Gee, you MUST try the Chia Ballz. 100% whole, natural, organic ingredients that you can read without a translator! Chia seeds, almond butter, shredded coconut, honey, cranberries, orange and salt. I must learn how to make these. Make sure to carry some floss when eating these, though – chia seeds are sneaky little buggers that like to get stuck in your teeth!

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There were several other spots that were on my list that I just did not have the time to venture to. My apologies…the lounge chair, sun and Mexican Mojito won. See below for those that didn’t make the trip and leave a comment if you’ve been to either of these!

Overall I was highly impressed with Miami’s juice game, and I cannot wait to see how it stacks up to other cities!

In sweat and health,

Buda

Fitness Travel

Sweating in the Magic City

Earlier this month, I escaped the cold, rainy New England weather and headed to Miami, FL for an impromptu solo vacation. If you’ve never travelled solo before, I seriously encourage you to try it. There’s something very freeing about it. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Freedom!

The minute I stepped off the plane, I felt like a cat finding that one sun spot in the house. Head up, eyes closed, Purrrr.

Besides soaking up all the sun I could (and believe me, this pale Boston skin needed it), I wanted to get in on where Miami locals hit up their Saturday morning workout. Being the “spinesta” that I am, I knew I wanted to find a Florida based cycling studio. Not one of those national, cookie cutter chains, like SoulCycle, but a true local company.

Enter RedBike

The Studio

Ok so I totally overestimate how long it would take me to walk to RedBike in Brickell from the Four Seasons. Needless to say, I was there 30 min early. The previous class was still going on and I was the only person waiting.

That didn’t matter though, because the woman at the front desk was SO friendly. She told me a little about the history of the studio; opening couple years ago, and my soon-to-be instructor was the maestro behind the launch of the organization. There were couches to lounge on between class, and (my fav part) a smoothie bar called RedBoost which, get this, you can order ahead of class and they will have waiting for you by the time your class is done! Talk about service!

As I was putting on my spin shoes, which they provide complementary, Albert Ghitis, RedBike creator and instructor extraordinaire, and I started chatting. Turns out he used to teach at a studio in Wellesley, MA, a couple miles north of Boston! Small world! He was so welcoming and gave me some tips on what to expect during his class – Think pushups, crunches, and arms.

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This is Albert. Photo courtesy of redbikestudios.com

While waiting for class, there is a comfy nook with a couch, chairs and magazines to make you feel right at home. If shopping is more your style, you can check out their apparel wall which has amazing merchandise that I had to use my ultimate willpower not to purchase.

Post-sweat, there is a moderately sized locker room with showers (and towels) to suds up, and they offer wonderful L’Occitane amenities to make you smell just fab. 

The Sweat

Classes at RedBike are a legit P.A.R.T.Y. Between the colored lights and bumping beats it’s hard not to have a good time. I’ve been so many classes where it’s 200 mph, 100% of the time and I’m sorry but that is NOT cycling (cough, SoulCycle, cough). I appreciated that Albert utilized the beat of the music to mirror leg pace, and had a mix of heavy climbs and fast sprints. Thank You!!

The energy than ran through the entire room was electric. Now, it may have been partially attributed to Albert boogying down to the music every now and then, but to say he was engaged with the class is an understatement. He walked throughout the room, encouraging the group to push harder, dig deeper, and get lost in the beat.

Disclaimer: Traditional cyclists, as I mentioned above, there are pushups and crunches on the bike, and a song dedicated to working your arms with weights, so this may not necessarily be your cup of tea. The great thing about cycling at RedBike, though, is that if you aren’t comfortable with a movement, you can modify and still have a blast!

The Results

Without question, if you’re ever in Miami, FL, get your ass to RedBike. While I didn’t feel as exhausted as I normally do walking out of a spin class, I still had an absolute blast and know that I challenged my muscles and worked up a sweat. I was having one of those indestructible, conquer the world, nothing can stop me workout days!

Have you been to RedBike? How about another local Miami spin studio? Tell us about it!

In sweat and health,

Buda