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

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