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!

IMG_0028

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

           IMG_9925

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).

IMG_9928

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.

                                     IMG_0196

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.

———————————————————————————————————————-

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!

IMG_0085

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.

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

IMG_5176

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.

img_5175.jpg

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!

img_5174.jpg

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