I’m not sure if you guys know this but, I’m basically the most worldly, experienced spinner ever!
Ok just kidding - that’s not true at all.
But I have had the chance to spin in quite a few different places. Along the way, I have picked up a few tips, tricks and tendencies. In my spin journey, I’ve hit 5 different countries, 5 different US states, and most major cities in Canada. Not to mention, I’ve done spin classes in French, Spanish & Hungarian!
So I’ll share my 2 cents…
We are pretty damn fortunate here in YYC. We have some awesome studios and some totally amazing instructors. Before I decided to open up Stax, one of my favourite activities would be to try out new studios around the city, following my favourite instructors around wherever they taught. It’s safe to say that I am the definition of a “Spin Fan Girl”. But there is no denying that we see some major influence from the big name studios in the states.
New York City
So let’s start with the original creators of the boutique spin industry: Soul Cycle.
Ever heard of it??
Ya, they are sort of a big deal. Like the boss biotch of the spin world. The vibe at Soul Cycle is super positive. I’m talking straight rainbows and sunshine and feel good empowerment all day err day! And the crowd? They sure get into it!
Soul instructors often have backgrounds in performing arts or motivational speaking - and they sure know how to command the attention of a room!
Their 50-minute rides are a full-on dance party on the bike, with all the feels. You may laugh, you may cry, you may have a complete meltdown as their spiritually astute instructors make you re-evaluate every life choice. Either way, you're in for an emotional rollercoaster, and perhaps some of the most unique and original choreographed tracks in the world.
(Sidenote. I was lucky enough to ride in a TKW foundation fundraising ride last year at one of our favourite studios in town “The Sweat Lab” with the amazing Angela Manuel-Davis. Seriously, let me tell you straight from someone who balled my eyes out front row, it was like going to freakin’ church!)
On the more competitive side, there are studios like Fly Wheel. This studio is more results driven, and they focus less on feelings and heart warming quotes. The bikes have built in monitors and flat screen TV’s to see watts, RPM’s, distance and calories. You also can see where you rank among your classmates. I love doing one of these classes every now and again to get in touch with my inner competitive-as-hell athlete and challenge myself to the max.
One of our favourite studios right here in Canada that provides a similar ride is Wheelhouse Cycle Club in Regina. These guys have nailed the hybrid ride perfectly balancing the down-to-earth, fun riding style a la Soul Cycle, but with a competitive, measurable influence like Fly Wheel.
Anybody watch reality TV? Heard of Cycle House LA?
They have 2 locations in Los Angeles and have a huge celebrity following. Fun fact: I rode with Mel B (Scary Spice NBD) & Jessica Alba (girl crush).
You will also catch a ton of athletes in their classes too; I’ve seen a couple LA Kings and some Oakland Raiders, grinding it out mid week in preparation for their games.
This is definitely because of the hard-core style of their classes and instructors.
You might get sworn at. I did! You might get called out for slacking. I did! You might cry a little. I did! But at the end of the day, this is one of the most athletically challenging classes I have ever been too.
Cycle House doesn’t believe in lead leg movements, not do they coach those pumps, dips or other upper body choreo. The focus is riding like a boss with your ass back and shoulders square till your booty burns and you contemplate faking illness or injury to get out of the class. They go heavy and hard!
My spin class experiences over in Europe were amazing. Imagine free access to multi-level, sophisticated facilities with spin & weight rooms, fancy day spas and juice bars - sounds like heaven on earth right?
These facilities are beyond anything that I’ve seen in North America. Thank God for that eucalyptus steam room, which soothed my bleeding ears after being screamed at in Hungarian for an hour in a jam-packed class where all we seem to do is standing races. But hey, I probably burnt over 1,000 calories as a bonus!
As diverse as Calgary’s spin scene is, there are other variations out there that wouldn’t look as familiar as what we see here. I’ve done Aqua spin, which is where there are bikes in a pool! It’s surprisingly challenging!
I’ve also done some spin in Atlanta that had as much dancing/twerking off the bike as it did on. (I’m pretty sure most clients in that class spun on poles as well as bikes but, hey, I wasn’t judging. Gotta pay for college somehow!)
Throughout my ongoing spin journey, I have learnt there are so many variations and styles of spin, and there is no right way to teach it as long as you're being safe and smart. In my opinion, the best instructors out there deliver their classes with influence that is obviously from outside of their studio walls - whether it be some soulful yoga talk, some precise barre timing and cueing, or some road cycle imagery.
So go ahead get a little spin slutty and try out different instructors and studios wherever your travels may take you - you might be surprised!
*Stax is not responsible for providing emotional support for those who decide to take Nichelle Hines’ class and cry for the rest of their vacation.