Indoor Cycle Class: what motivates you?

I am an indoor cycle fan and I have been for what seems like forever.  I remember my first classes at Bally’s; instructors diligent about form and some wearing their outdoor riding gear.  I loved these classes with music and lively crowd participation. I invested in bike shoes and really hit my stride going to classes at least a couple of times a week. Eventually the lights started to go off and the music got louder and more motivating.

After trial and error, I found my favorite instructors and followed them to whichever location and at whatever time they taught.  I was getting up at 5am to hit a Tuesday class with Austin and 7am on Saturdays just to ride with Angel.  They would kill it with the music and moves for an hour.  The energy in the class was so contagious that I didn’t even feel the effects of only getting three hours of sleep the Friday night before.  This was definitely a workout format that would be a staple for me.

Flywheel Mixed Things Up

I knew this was a workout format that was here to stay. There were fights over bikes; sign-in sheets became the norm but there was no early booking! You physically had to be there to sign up.  So it made sense that Soul Cycle and Flywheel saw an opportunity in the indoor cycling space.  While I had taken SoulCycle a couple of times on NYC visits, we didn’t have any of these indoor cycling boutique fitness studios so I stayed loyal to LA Fitness (they changed from Bally’s).  Then Flywheel came to town and I tried it and I loved it – the ambience, the knowing exactly how heavy to make the resistance, the lights, the screens and the torque boards.  I was competing with people in the class even when they didn’t know it.

I didn’t fully unclip at LA Fitness right away. My 60 minute classes were free with my $12 membership but I did add a weekly 45 minute Flywheel class for $25 a pop to my routine. Two factors eventually moved me to more rides at Flywheel: more time options (all cycle all the time) and I found two instructors that I loved – Candy and Sho.  The instructors, their music and the torque board made it worth the investment. Flywheel became my go-to for indoor cycling and for any fitness options on holidays. When everything else was closed, I could count on Flywheel for a Thanksgiving and Christmas ride before the festivities.  Happy me!

Then the Move

I waited with baited breath for Flywheel to open in DC after I moved here.  When it finally arrived, I took a couple of classes but found myself less motivated to attend.  Through trial and error, I found an instructor I loved but it just wasn’t the same.  The energy in the studio was low.  I dragged my husband there for my birthday and he thought it was a good workout but he was bored by the music. I continued to go sporadically but just couldn’t commit to a routine.

Along Came SoulCycle

Admittedly SoulCycle had been here all of the time (I’ve been here).  I took a class or two but it was not convenient so I just didn’t go often.  When Soulcycle finally opened other locations that were more convenient, I started to take classes more frequently.  It wasn’t that I found it to be a better workout, actually Flywheel is harder to me, but the energy in the studio was motivating and I loved the instructor.  I discovered the instructor on my first DC Soulcycle visit.  His class was filled with hip hop and every bike was taken.

My husband joined me one Sunday (it was like pulling teeth).  He “liked it”, he said, but he didn’t put up a fight when I asked him to join me again.  The day I realized he actually loved it was when he asked me if we were booked for class on an upcoming Sunday.  It became our Sunday ritual and I loved it.

But like the saying, “all good things come to an end” and this was no exception.  The instructor left Soulcycle and I was now on a quest for a new instructor not only for me but for my husband as well.  After more than one miss, I decided that maybe we should look for an indoor cycle class outside of Soulcycle.

On to Zengo

Today I took him to Zengo cycle, a DMV indoor cycle studio franchise.  As I described it to him, it was a mashup of Soulcycle and Flywheel.  The class had the setup of Soulcycle and the color scheme of Flywheel.  While on our 50 minute ride, I looked frequently at my watch not just for my heart rate but for the time.  The Zengo instructor and her music were great and motivating; it was the other riders that affected my enjoyment. My husband agreed that the class lacked energy but he had even more critiques.  He complained about the locker area, towels and bikes.  I chuckled out loud and told him he was bougie.  I should have started him off at a indoor cycle class in a gym like when I first started taking classes.

What We All Need for Indoor Cycle

I told my husband that the majority of group fitness exercisers aren’t paying $24 to $32 a pop for an indoor cycle class.  And that even without all of the fancy lights you can still get a great workout when there are a few key things:

  • good bikes
  • great instructor (that teaches to your style preference)
  • great music (that you enjoy)

And for me there is a fourth, great group energy.  Fitness Snob will help you find the right indoor cycle class or other group format class that is personalized for you but the energy you take into the class is up to you.  Remember that when you are riding, kicking, dancing and/or lifting, your energy motivates or demotives someone else.  I’m not suggesting you judge someone else’s workout, just be the judge of your own workout but know the affect it might have on someone else.

What motivates you?