Fitness Travel

Baxter – San Diego loves you!

Gaslight San Diego

Hi friends! Long time no talk – which I am seriously sorry about. As someone that is in public accounting, I tend to get a little crammed Jan-Mar but that means that come late March I am ready to get out and explore! This year, I was planning to go to Miami, sit in the sun and sweat it out at some local studios, but then I learned that it was the Ultra Music Festival (not my jam), pricing was through the roof, and clientele was more ‘spring break’ than it was zen relaxation. So I decided to pack my bag and travel cross country to San Diego, CA. Knowing that it wasn’t going to be sit by the beach and tan yourself weather, I wanted to explore the spin/avo toast community during my 2 days there. I hope you find some inspiration!

Rush Cycle

Originating in 2011, Rush Cycle opened its first studio in La Jolla, San Diego, CA. So it only made sense for me to pay Ian, the owner, and his crew a visit. While located right on La Jolla Boulevard, the studio offers an intimate, community driven setting and a rock-solid instructor team.

I popped into Paulina’s Friday afternoon class ready to get my legs moving and my mind lost in the music. Rush offers two styles of class: Rush and Interval. Friday’s class was a Rush Ride, which is driven by the beat of the music and incorporates full-body moves (think tap backs, push ups, crunches, etc…). To say the ride was heart pumping is an understatement. Paulina’s expert timing of queues, motivational words and #fire playlist kept my muscles guessing and my soul smiling.

I was able to catch-up with Paulina after class and she explained how all Rush Ride instructors are required to take an intensive 3-month training course, specific to, and originated by, Rush. This helps maintain a consistent, high quality ride regardless of which class you take. From what I experienced, the blood, sweat and tears….ok maybe not the blood and tears, but for sure the sweat, pays off for us in class.

I also had a pleasant conversation with Ian, who made it a point to welcome me personally, offer any assistance, and connect about my being from out of town. Brownie points, Mr. Owner. Well done! But honestly, after talking more with him, it didn’t surprise me. Ian is so passionate about being the outlet people need in their day. Their “me-time”, their “escape.” He mentioned that the culture of Rush is to make each rider’s day a little bit better from when they walked in. As someone who eventually would love to open her own studio one day (can’t believe I put that in writing!) it is that leadership I hope to replicate. Inspiring others, one ride at a time. That’s the dream, isn’t it!?

As with all rides, if you aren’t using spin shoes, you really aren’t getting the most out of your workout. Personal opinion – but true. What I fully appreciated was that Rush provides them for $1 if you don’t bring your own SPD compatible shoes. For a fitness-loving traveler who already packs (way) too many shoes as it is – THANK YOU!

Overall my experience at Rush was awesome! If I had one small asterisk, it would be that there were no showers – so make sure you plan for that if you are on the move after class. However, the close community vibes that radiate from all staff members, the top shelf studio lighting and sound system and the make-your-heart-pound classes put this on my list of “must visit” studios while in San Diego.


Friday was an exhausting day. After a run around Mission Bay and a killer spin class at Rush, I am pretty sure I was asleep before my head even hit the pillow at 9P. Early to bed, early to rise! Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I woke up Saturday morning and made my way along the Mission Bay path, walking this time – my shins were on fiiire from the day before. Note to self and everyone out there, “training” shoes are NOT meant for a 5-mile run. You’ve been warned. Anywho, I was in search of my love….Avocado Toast. I mean, I’m in California so they must have delicious choices on every corner. While that wasn’t necessarily the case, to my own dismay, I did find the most incredible coffee shop – Better Buzz Coffee – in Mission Bay that was for sure a highlight of my trip.

I walked in to Better Buzz around 8am, like I said – I was up early, and ordered a Cold Brew “on Nitro” and one of their two, that’s right….TWO, avocado toasts. I got the 3-seed avocado which had mashed avo, sesame seed, chia seed, hemp seed, lemon, crushed red pepper & micro greens on thick cut multigrain toast. Let me pause for a moment and let that all sink in…

Holy YUM!! 3-Seed Avo you rock my world

Needless to say, it was heavenly and honestly one of the best avo toasts I have EVER had. They have four locations in San Diego (and others in Pacific Beach) so if you ever visit, make sure to stop on in. I was so happy I arrived early because by the time 8:30A rolled around the place was packed. Like, line out the door packed. Clearly their motto, “Life’s Better Buzzed” has caught on.

better buzz

Saturday, after breakfast, I made my way Downtown to Pure Indoor Cycling on West A Street for a Pure Rhythm ride with Rachelle. I signed up prior to leaving Boston and man am I happy that I did. The class was full by the time I arrived on Friday afternoon. Pure opened a little over one year ago, and is a beat-based cycling studio. I just happened to be visiting at the end of their Insanity Week, which is a challenge to ride 5 times in 7 days. I loved seeing the wall of people’s names near the entrance of the studio who had reached their goal – visible encouragement never goes unnoticed.

Saturday was the final day of the challenge and man did I luck out! I walked in and was greeted cheerfully by a handful of staff who got me situated with complementary spin shoes – maj points for us travelers – and they had a free braid bar by Wash which I obviously took advantage of. Oh, and after class…bubbly and Pressed green juice – if you make a cocktail out of it, it’s still healthy, right!? Sidenote – If you want, you can use your own spin shoes as the pedals are equipped for both SPD and Look Delta cleats.

The studio is equipped with Stages bikes, which if you have never used them before, just let me say…they are awesome! They have a “SprintShift” which enables you to go from Light to Moderate to Heavy in one quick flick of a lever. No more turning the dial and wondering if you’re at the right resistance. The lighting system was also on point with stadium seating for optimum viewing capacity (mirror and instructor). Don’t tell me you never look at yourself in the mirror when you’re in class. I do it all the time and in all honesty it actually makes me work harder because I feel like I’m competing against myself.

Ok now about the class. I think it was fine. The choreography were guided through was on par with what I would expect from a well-trained trendy studio; pushups, crunches, tap backs, etc. I must caveat this with a disclaimer that the class I attended was Rachelle’s first class outside of the training room – so I understand the nerves and emotions that occur at that time. That said though, I felt like there was no emotion or encouragement during the first 40 minutes of the 45 minute class. It was more robotic, cuing dryly on what is next. The motivation comes with time so I would not discredit taking a class with her – but I am speaking from my initial experience and it could have been better. Especially since it was the last day of the challenge, I would have thought a more seasoned instructor would have been rocking the bike.

PSA announcement – I almost lost it on one guy in the class. If you are taking a spin class, and you are out in 3rd position and your legs are moving at more than 120 RPM…you’re ruining your body and doing absolutely nothing beneficial. Ya, you’ll be out of breath and your legs will be burning, but that is not safe in any environment. Don’t be a dumbass, you’re not impressing anyone. Exercise smart.

As a studio, Pure itself is crisp, clean, and has a small merchandise area when you first walk in to get your swag on. Also – very important…there is one shower for those of you who plan to head out on the town (or to work) after class. Anything you need to get ready for your day is provided; just remember to bring shower sandals and a bag for your sweaty clothes.

If you work downtown or are visiting the city, I would recommend taking a class at Pure. The feeling of community at this studio is overwhelming and I love when you walk in as an outsider and don’t feel out of place.


To finish my trip, I ventured a short walk towards Petco Park (super cool ball park btw) to Skybound Coffee on West Market Street. Again, I had a hankering for avo toast…surprise surprise. Caprese avo toast and a fresh squeezed dragonfruit/passionfruit (ya, you read that right) mimosa was exactly what the doctor ordered…hey, it was the weekend and I already broke a sweat. Balance my friends, balance. The staff couldn’t have been more personable; I felt like I was a regular and I had only walked in 30 seconds prior. The place has several different seating options, couches, tables, outside, and a nice rustic vibe.


Also on my list of studios to visit were Sparkcycle in La Jolla and CycleOM downtown, however, given that I was only there for the weekend, I did not have the opportunity to check them out. Looks like I’ll have to go back another time! Until then…stay classy San Diego.

In Sweat and Health,




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


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.


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!


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,


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.

This is Albert. Photo courtesy of

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,