Fitness Travel

Spin in The ‘Dam

Traveling through Europe for a month can be an exciting and exhilarating adventure. It can also be mentally and physically taxing – especially if you are like me and find comfort in routine. So two weeks into my European Freedom Tour (yes, that’s what I called it), I was getting the itch. 

Canals of Amsterdam

While I was in Paris (see Paris Spinning post here), I was able to spin almost every day. When I ventured into Belgium, however, there were no spin classes to be found. Now don’t get me wrong, running around Belgium was incredible, both Brussels and Bruges are electric cities, but there’s something about sitting next to strangers in a dark room and sweating your ass off while someone guides you one, two, one, two. 

Arriving in Amsterdam was just what I needed. Not only did I have friends that live there (yay familiar faces!) but one of them was a regular spin goer. AMEN! Through my research leading up to my trip, I had heard that Rocycle was a good studio not far from where I was staying. To have someone who frequents the studio affirm it is the best in the city (thanks Gabriella!), made me even more excited to try it. 

Rocycle 

With three studios in Amsterdam (and one soon to open in Utrecht in 2019), Rocycle is a spin haven with an endearing origin story. In what started in a KITCHEN (that’s right!) in 2015, has grown to a prominent fitness establishment in one of the most known cities in the world. See Rogier’s story here.

While in Amsterdam I attended classes at the City Center location. You can get your first 2 rides for only 18 Euros and individual classes are only 12 Euros each! This beautiful studio sits right along one of the city center canals AND it has a juice/smoothie bar where you can order drinks ahead of class and they’ll be all set for you when your sweat sesh is crushed. 

Vibe: Classes are structured very similarly to SoulCycle; beat-based, motivational, choreographed – and in English. Shoes are provided and they have Stages bikes which are top quality! The locker rooms have all the shower amenities you need with yummy Zenology products. 

Class: My first class on Monday with Luuk was fine. He used a lot of quick movements with significant speed and cuing was a little off. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of 80% being balls to the wall speed – but it may work for others so this is just my opinion. Aside from the style, Luuk was absolutely lovely. His attitude and motivational cues were PHENOM. He can really hit you to the core and make you feel the ride. Fun fact, he is also a stage performer outside of teaching spin, something I learned chatting with him after class – if anything, he’s a wonderful person to know. 

Tuesday I woke up early and crushed an 8AM class with Rowen. Oh. Em. Gee. SHE F’ING ROCKS. Motivation, counting the beat, “stage” presence – whatever it is, she had it. She introduced me to this AWESOME new drill called a Pyramid. Think alternating between a push in 3rd and a shift back for 8, 4, 2, 2, 4, 8. For those of you who take my class…you can thank her for this heart pumping move ;)! Lots of high energy movement and all the feels. If you are ever in Amsterdam…GO TO HER CLASS! I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

I obviously took advantage of the juice bar both days and was quite impressed by the guidance I received from the nice gentleman manning the bar. I explained what flavor I was looking for and he provided wonderful recommendations. Monday was the “Pro Juice” which had apple, fennel, lemon and probiotics. Great post-sweat fuel. On Tuesday, I was looking for something with more zing so went for “The Reset” which included grapefruit, cucumber, lemon, ginger, cayenne, and orange…YUM!

Vélo Amsterdam

While I did not attend any classes at this studio, I wanted to give it an honorable mention. Vélo Amsterdam is located in De Pijp, a very cool neighborhood bustling with restaurants and coffee shops. 

Classes run similarly to Rocycle in that they are choreographed beat-driven rides with an arms set. With each class, you receive complimentary spin shoes to ensure the ultimate riding experience, and in the fresh white & wood locker rooms you can find all your post-class shower needs. 

I truly appreciate when studios have an intro pack that includes two classes because honestly, you may not love the first instructor you take. But that doesn’t mean the studio isn’t great! Having a multi-intro pack allows the rider to experience the studio more like a regular and Vélo has not skipped a beat. Offering your first two classes for only 14 Euro (!!) and single classes for 12 Euro. I must say, the affordability of Amsterdam spin is ON.POINT.


Coffee Sidenote: If you do find yourself wandering De Pijp, please do yourself a favor and stop into Coffee & Coconuts. This coffee shop is a little slice of Heaven on Earth. Multiple floors with comfy seats for gathering with friends or working. Try the Lavender Coconut Milk Latté – it was divine.


In love and health.

Fitness Travel

Spinning in Paris

Some people throw a party. Others go out to dinner. So when my 32nd birthday came around this year, what did I do?? Bonjour Paris!

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After quitting my job of 10 years this past fall, it did not take long for me to return to the city that has captured my heart. This time around, I had different plans for my trip. Touring like a local is more my style and having hit all the big monuments 2 years ago (Tour Eiffel, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, etc…) – I was ready to GET.MY.SPIN.ON.

Fitness? Travel? Music to my ears. The idea of experiencing indoor cycling classes in other countries had me bouncing with anticipation – and seriously organizing and reorganizing which workout outfits I would bring. (Sidenote – I am a TERRIBLE overpacker. Probably doesn’t help that I had to buy a separate dresser last month for my leggings and sports bras…woops!)

This year, my goal was to hit all five spin studios in the direct city limits and experience indoor cycling, à la français. Needless to say, the city did not disappoint.

Below you will find a breakdown of each studio, in order of when I attended. Enjoy!

  1. Kiwill Indoor Cycling

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Set in the 11thArrondissement de Paris (Roquette) right next to Le Marais, Kiwill is a delightful little studio with a crisp/natural feel hidden from the main street.

All the necessities are available in the locker room, including shower products by L:a Bruket. They provide shoes with each class and your first ride is FREE!

Overcoming jet lag, I took myself to a Tuesday 12:30P class with Emeric. He challenged the body with sprints galore. While it was a little difficult to hear him on the mic, it wasn’t too much of an issue as I only understood about 2% of what he was saying. Personal opinion, if you speak no French at all and aren’t a seasoned spinner – go to Dynamo instead (see more below).

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The class was similar to a SoulCycle with jumps, shifts, and pulses and the arm segment was a killer! Overall, I was happy with the class and felt I got in a good workout.

  1. Dynamo Cycling

Dynamo has four locations throughout the city; Opéra, Boétie, Oberkampf and Lafayette and each of them ROCKS! If you’re familiar with SoulCycle, you will feel right at home. Over the course of 45 minutes, your body will become one with the rhythm of the music. With movements ranging from sprints and climbs, to crunches and tapbacks, you are guaranteed to walk out of class reinvigorated – and sweaty! Oh and don’t forget the arm song where a 2kg dumbbell never felt so heavy 😉

Classes vary from 40-50 riders in size, depending on location, and while most rides are taught in French, there are English classes offered a couple times a week at the Opéra and Lafayette locations. If you’ve taken spin classes before, comprehension of the French language is not required. Ya, you may be behind a couple beats but just take a bike towards the back of the room and you’ll be just fine!

All locations offer full amenities including Malen & Goetz shower products and all the Bb hair styling goods you need. Shoes are offered with each class – a fitness traveler’s dream – and each studio is equipped with Schwinn bikes. Your first class is only 10Euro or if you’re a fitness fiend like myself, you can also get a 3 class beginners-pack for 45Euro (2 week expiration).

Opéra

Vibe: Crisp and natural – all white with wood floors and potted greens. Very small locker/shower area.

Class: Wednesday 12:15P with Karine did not disappoint. She had so much excitement and encouragement in her voice (while a lot of it was yelling it actually wasn’t unbearable) it really kept you honest with yourself.

Oberkampf

Vibe: Clean cut industrial – white with concrete floors and countertops, exposed structural columns and air ducts, and potted greens. There’s also a little seating area in the lobby with a juice fridge for post-class goodness.

Class: Thursday 7:30A class with John was packed and full of energy! If you’re looking for a fun and challenging arms track…John is your man. My muscles were burnnnning!

Boétie

Vibe: Clean and crisp – white with potted greens.

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Class: Saturday 11A Tyga vs. A$AP Rocky ride with Vince….FIIIIREEEE!! Not only did Vince have amazing energy, and a packed class, but the music was awesome and the choreography was both challenging and fun. My favorite class of the entire week!

Lafayette

Vibe: Most gorgeous entrance – down this cute courtyard that just screams…Welcome, I’m here for you.  Industrial/rustic vibe similar to Oberkampf. And of course, potted greens.

Class: Sunday 12P with Cyril. Good class and killer arms track – he had us holding our arms out straight for long periods of time! There were also small random interjections of English throughout the class which made me giggle.

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My favorite part of the entire experience was that each instructor, no matter where I was, hit us with the Droit, Gauche, Droit, Gauche (Right, Left, Right, Left). It made me smile every time. No matter where we are, in spin, we are one.

Let’s just say, if (when??) I lived in Paris, I would be here ALL the time! So, clip in and let the music take over your soul. Rayonnez!

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Sidenote: When searching indoor cycling studios in Paris, you may come across Let’s Ride. In February of 2018, Let’s Ride announced its merger with Dynamo Cycling to further extend its business and impact. More about the merger can be found here. Alors, if you come across Let’s Ride, it is now Dynamo Cycling – Lafayette.