So, I write about food. A lot. And whilst that’s wonderful, it’s January and people want to hear less about the latest fancy burger place or where you can enjoy the best bottomless brunch (although I can’t promise to cut that out all together…) so I thought I’d share a little info about another passion of mine, which is a little more January-friendly. Fitness crazes come and go and whilst some disappear quicker than you can say power-plate, others are here to stay and that’s why in 2016 you should give spinning a go. London is now awash with super cool spin studios, offering high-intensity workouts that you can squeeze into your lunch hour or even before work so you can strut into the office with that smug feeling that can only be achieved by a morning workout.
Here’s why you should spin: it’s low impact, so easy on your knees and joints, it builds muscle tone, increases your cardio indurance, burns heaps of calories and it’s also freaking fun. Epic soundtracks, disco lights and enthusiastic instructors keep up the energy even when you feel like you might have a cardiac arrest. It’s a huge adrenalin boost and will leave you feeling euphoric for hours afterwards.
So now you know why you should do it, here’s where you should do it….
Firstly I can’t write this post without mentioning ClassPass which has revolutionized the way I work out and is an amazing solution for fitness fanatics who like variety. It includes all the spin I do plus my yoga classes under one subscription and I can work out anywhere in the city from Peckham to Paddington. Read more about it here: www.classpass.com
I’ve taken classes in almost all the spin studios in central London and here’s a roundup of my absolute favourites. Most of them have great intro deals so you can try them all before deciding.
A Psycle spin class is like the best party you’ve ever been to, but on a bike. The soundtrack is bang up to date, the lighting is epic and the instructors have an insatiable enthusiasm which is pretty infectious. The energy is extremely high. It feels like a nightclub in the studio and despite all the hard work, it’s hard not to have the time of your life in there. There are no monitors so you rely on following the beat of the music and the instructor’s guidance. The changing rooms have everything you could need from GHD straightners to Bumble & Bumble shampoo and conditioner.
Location: Oxford Circus
Cleats (clip-in cycling shoes) and towels are provided free of charge.
This city studio tends to attract the more serious cyclist – you know the kind with the cycling jerseys and heavy-duty lycra. That saying, I love it and it’s one I visit regularly now. The beat board at the front of the studio works well for the competitive types out there, listing your performance on a screen at the front of the class. You can judge how you’re performing in comparison to your peers which is tracked by your power output (you can choose to opt out having your details on the screen.) You then receive an email after the class with all your stats – a great studio for those who like to track their progress and who are motivated by working that little bit harder than the cyclist next to them. The instructors are all incredibly passionate about cycling and the reception staff are lovely and helpful.
Cleats and shower towels are £1 each to hire.
Voted number one gym in London by GQ magazine, 1Rebel have developed a winning formula, offering spin workouts which are upbeat and very challenging. The studio itself is brilliant, with a high-tech lighting and sound system, you get nightclub vibes in here but you will never leave without a full sweat on. Their theme rides are great, with options such as old-school garage, girl bands and hip-hop rides. This is another studio which doesn’t use monitors but the teachers will give you all the cues you need to make sure you’re working to full potential. There are swanky, spacious changing rooms kitted out with great products and styling equipment.
Location: Liverpool Street
Cleats and shower towels are free of charge.
Edge Cycle offers classes which combine spin with resistance exercises. Straight into burpees from a sprint on the bike was a painful process but you certainly feel the results afterwards! Add pushups, ab work and dumbbell exercises and they guarantee you a full body workout. They also do pure spin classes for those who like their cycling straight up. Try Sam’s class for a great RnB soundtrack.
Location: Chancery Lane
Cleats and shower towels are free of charge.
Another very cool studio, this one in Holborn. Their edgy branding helps attract the kind of work-hard, play-hard Londoner who likes their workouts fun but challenging. The teachers are brilliant, the soundtracks are always great and they offer a very full timetable of classes.
No monitors again here. There are separate shower and changing cubicles but the changing rooms are unisex spaces.
Cleats are £1 per hire, shower towels free of charge
This sleek Kensington studio provides upbeat spin classes in a modern space. Their bikes have monitors which read your RPM (revolutions per minute) acting as a guidance for how quickly you should be pedaling, along with the gear you’re working on; the instructors are great at guiding you on what resistance and speed you should be aiming for. There is a huge lounging area upstairs and the changing rooms are kitted out with GHDs, fluffy white towels and top beauty products. The instructors work you really hard and they only seem to employ a host of extremely good-looking teachers. It helps, I promise you.
Location: High Street Kensington
Unfortunately they don’t provide cleats here but shower towels are free of charge.