Posts Tagged ‘spin’
On Thursday evening Revolve hosted a group of local bloggers and fitness personalities for a special spin class. There have been quite a few recaps of this event from other bloggers out there, but I wanted to throw in my two cents because it was such fun and unique evening.
First things first, let’s clear the air. This was an enormously bizarre experience at first. Picture it: walking into a room full of people you have never met in real life, but know everything about. I could have hovered around the room and yelled out excruciatingly-specific details about every single one of their lives. Like how I loved their wedding invitations, drooled over what they made for dinner last night, also enjoyed watching reality tv while foam rolling, or wondered if that new puppy was still chewing their running shoe collection. And yet, I have never spoken a word to any of them. Utterly bizarre. So very 2013.
Introductions went something like this: “Hi, my name is Meaghan” *blank stare* “…I write DC Fit Crasher.” *eureka* It was wonderful to finally meet the personalities behind those blog posts and tweets that fill my queue each morning. Call me old fashioned, but there’s just something lovely about good-old-fashioned talking. I wish we had more time to mix and mingle and meet – but since this was an event geared toward fitness fanatics, the clock struck 7:45 and it was time to strap on our bike shoes and get down to business.
Tonight’s activity: a “body ride” class with Francina, who totally owned us for 45-minutes of leg-spinning, iron-pumping, music-blaring craziness. The class is about 40 minutes of spinning followed by 5 minutes of arm exercises with free weights. While Francina confessed to being nervous leading a class full of reviewers, once the lights went down, she led like a total pro. From the awesome music playlist, the verbal cues, the singing-along karaoke moments, and the dancing on stage…I was sold. It was so much fun and honestly one of the most enjoyable spin classes I’ve been to. It takes a special personality to lead a class that feels more like a party than a pain-train. Hats off.
Seated to my left was Deanna Jefferson, owner of the Fab Body Factory and a Nike personal trainer. I first met her at a free Monday night workout at the Nike store in Georgetown where she worked me into a puddle of sweat in under five minutes flat. Impressive. And to my right was Anne from one of my favorite healthy-lifestyle blogs, fANNEtastic food. After reading her blog for a few years, I was a bit star struck to see her jump off the Internet pages and into real life. Bloggers really do exist!
And here is Sara from Magia e Pasta and Allison from Wicked Healthy Washingtonian. So great to meet you too!
And one more shot of a few other bloggers and fitness personalities posing with our fearless leader, Francina. This was after the class, mind you. Who looks that fabulous after a spin class…WHO? You ladies are unreal. I’m a fan.
There were many other awesome guests at the event who I didn’t get a chance to snap a photo with. What does that mean? It means we obviously need to do this again, stat. And perhaps with a built-in happy hour after. Speaking of which, we were all treated to some delicious post-sweat treats from local vegan sensation Goûter. I reviewed a few of their tonics back in December and have been a huge admirer since. It’s been fun watching their family-owned small business grow and thrive – can’t wait to see what else 2013 has in store!
V brought a few of her best-selling tonics for us to try, including my favorite Mexican “hot” chocolate and a brand new blue concoction called “Protect.” That’s not blue gatorade you’re looking at, it’s a hand-craftic tonic with high-grade spirulina. How cool is that?
Nothing like ending a sweaty evening with a sweet nugget of raw, vegan goodness. Thanks Revolve and Goûter for the wonderful evening!
Last week, Sculpt asked me to come by and crash their new monthly class called the “Sculpt Lab.” If the name conjures memories of that dreaded high school course when you were partnered with the kid with sweaty hands, don’t fret. While there won’t be any chemical mixing or mitochondria modeling, the hour-long class is definitely a bit of a mad science experiment in the fields of stamina, calorie burning, and sweat.
So what exactly is Sculpt Lab? Each month, the studio chooses one of their instructors to piece together a Frankenstein workout based on participant requests. While Sculpt focuses on spin and yoga classes during the week, the Lab class are a wild combination of any and all workout options put on the table by the instructor. This month, Anita sent an email to everyone signed up for the Lab class soliciting votes on what we would like to do. We chose from the following: body weight exercises, yoga, pilates, kick boxing, spin, plyometrics. I’m not entirely sure there was any choosing or voting, because we ended up checking all of those things off the list in one crazy, calorie-burning hour.
We started Lab in the spin studio with 25 minutes of intense intervals. There were flashing lights. Standing climbs. Eye-closingly-intense seated sprints. And then there was “Dirty Pop” by NSYNC – which Anita swears is one of the most challenging spin songs of all time. I can’t say I disagree, but I was too busy signing and channeling my 14-year-old self to notice. This first part of class definitely was not a warm up – we cannonballed right into the deep end and never looked back. With shaky legs and sweat pouring everywhere, we moved on to the second part of class in the yoga room.
Don’t let the yoga mats and mood lighting fool you – this was not a cool down. Anita turned up the music and we began with plyometric moves (think lots of jumping). We transitioned into kickboxing, followed by a series of push ups and planks. I’m not going to lie, after the kickboxing part I was starting to really feel fatigued and pushed to my limit. This was tough. Think muscle confusion meets bootcamp meets a crazy and twisted decathlon.
We ended with a few signature Pilates moves focusing on abs (not the easy ones I was hoping for) and then, as if the giant Buddha head decided to show mercy on us, we cooled down with some yoga. Oh boy, Sculpt Lab, you crashed this crasher in the best way possible.
This was tough, fun, and totally unlike any other class I have taken before. If you go, remember to listen to your body and monitor your heart-rate’s roller-coaster ride. I will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for the March Lab to see what kind of insane combination you piece together next. And for those of you who have never taken a class with Anita – do it. She teaches an enormous variety of things ranging from spin to breakdance yoga at gyms all over DC and is a total ball of energy.
One other thing to note: I haven’t been back to Sculpt since they did a bit of remodeling downstairs to help maximize the space. The landing on the ground floor is now much more open, with only one cubby cube and a bench. This helps reduce the claustrophobia of everyone standing on top of each other trying to get to their lockers at once.
The lockers now line the hallway wall leading from the changing area to the spin studio. This is such a big improvement in their use of space and general flow. I’m a fan.
I’m also digging this new piece of artwork hanging on the wall. Oh, it’s so true. If only all watches looked like this.
Sculpt Lab: eureka or scary?
Crash Course: Revolve is a spin studio located just a few blocks from the Clarendon metro stop. Their “real ride” class is a traditional 45-minute spin workout, complete with loud music, mirrored walls, and lots (and lots) of sweat. There weren’t any upper body shenanigans, and the ride focused mainly on quick intervals and climbs. Bike shoes are required and can be rented at the studio. Classes typically fill up fast, so be sure to sign up early on the Revolve website to secure your spot.
where: 1025 North Fillmore Street, Arlington VA
bring: water bottle, bike shoes (SPD and Look cleats)
perks: limited free parking, combination lockers, filtered water, bike shoe rental
sweat score: 9 out of 10
wear: recommend spandex bottoms, bike shoes required
instructor: Grant Hill
cost: drop in rate is $18
Revolve opened in Arlington in late 2011, making it one of the first boutique spin studios in the area to help DC kick off its love affair with indoor cycling. If it’s any indication of how popular this workout is, six other studios have opened in the greater DC area since. Washingtonians must have a penchant for punishment, because being packed shoulder to shoulder in dark, steamy rooms with low lighting and dance-club level music while whirling your legs wildly to the commands of a microphone-clad teacher is not everyone’s idea of a good time. That said…it just happens to be a pretty darn good time.
The Revolve DC studio offers three different classes to choose from: real ride, barre ride (a two-for-one special combining spin and ballet barre), and body ride (spin class using upper body weights). The space is bright, sleek, and clean, with iPads greeting you when you walk in the front door for easy sign-in and sign-ups. Tip: many of the instructors have a cult-following and classes fill up fast. Be sure to sign up early to get into the class you want. Also, you will be asked to sign up for a specific bike. I made the rookie mistake of picking one in the front of the room (thinking it was the back), so double check the numbers. Lower numbers in the front, higher numbers in the back.
The studio lobby area has a small retail section selling Revolve merchandise and a few spin-centric items like socks, water bottles, and headbands. After passing the front desk, store your gear in the row of white lockers to your left. They have built-in combination locks (love these!) for extra security. It can get really crowded in here with lots of students buzzing about, so if you’re running late and a bit frazzled, just be prepared to find some zen before walking in the door.
There is only one changing room and it is all the way in the back of the studio to your right. It’s nice and big, so you have plenty of room to transition from work/street clothes into your spandex-clad spin-superhero gear (at least that’s what I told myself it was). To save time, I recommend changing before arriving if you can. Bathrooms are located outside of the studio – go out the back door and make a left down the hallway. They are bright, clean, single units.
You cannot wear gym shoes on the bikes at Revolve – bike shoes with Look or SPD clips are required. If you don’t own any, don’t worry, they rent them in the studio for $2. Before heading into class, fill your water bottle at the filtered water spout located just to the right of the spin studio door and grab an extra towel or two – you’ll need them once class starts.
Like many other spin studios in the area, the bikes are packed tightly into a small, mirrored room. Find your bike number and get settled in. The lights turn down once class starts, so try to make any adjustments before the door closes.
Grant Hill led the Real Ride class I crashed. I have been following Grant on Twitter for quite awhile now, and was very familiar with his motivational attitude and favorite phrase, “don’t stop, don’t quit.” Because the class was just under an hour, we wasted no time getting knee-deep into climbs, intervals, sprints, and (everyone’s favorite) tabatas. Let’s just say you won’t have any problem getting warmed up during the first song. Speaking of songs, I hate to admit that I didn’t recognize one single song Grant played. This was actually kind of refreshing, since the soundtrack at every other studio I’ve visited has been a mix of current and past pop hits. While I did miss singing along to familiar favorites, the lack of any recognizable tunes returned my distraction-seeking mind to the task at hand: working hard and spinning like crazy.
Things that didn’t make my wheels turn:
- I had a really hard time hearing Grant, which made following along to his prompts especially difficult. This seemed to be a combination of microphone fuzziness and loud music. It helped that I was in the front row so I could follow his lead, but for riders in the back, I bet it was difficult to figure things out sometime. If you are new, I’d recommend trying to be up front.
Things that spun my fancy:
- Free parking. For someone who commutes by car, this is a huge incentive to stop by Revolve on the way home from work.
- Everyone – riders and Revolve employees- was incredibly friendly from start to finish. They helped me set up my bike, figure out where to dump my used bike shoes after class, and helped me laugh off my jitters when I discovered I had reserved a bike smack dab in the front row. The
- The class was a solid spin workout with no funny push-up business (if you read my ZenGo review, you know what I mean). I never once looked at the clock, and when Grant called out “last song,” I was in shock. It flew by and packed a calorie-burning wallop.
On the hunt for the perfect spin studio for you? Be sure to check out my other spin studio reviews:
Off Road DC
Crash Course: ZenGo is a spin studio with a work-hard play-hard hardcore attitude. I have never been to Soul Cycle – the cycling studio in NYC with an enormous, cult-like following of sweaty spin devotees willing to shell out $35 per class – but from what I have heard of its intensely energetic, full sensory experience, ZenGo seems like it’s on the same wavelength. Loud music, use of upper body weights, lots of movement on the bike, all set in a mirrored, sweaty, candle-lit studio. Weekend classes sell out in less time than it takes to brew your morning cup of coffee, so be sure to plan this visit at least a week in advance. Click here to see the full schedule.
where: 4866 Cordell Avenue, Bethesda Md.
bring: bike shoes with clips if you have them
perks: shoe rental, fresh towels, showers, lockers, first class free
sweat score: 9 out of 10
wear: recommend spandex shorts and tank
instructor: Melissa K.
cost: drop in rate is $21*
Driving up to this quaint little Bethesda building on a sleepy Sunday morning, I spent a few moments bracing myself for impact. I had seen news stories about ZenGo and knew it was going to be a loud, sweaty, in your face experience. This seemed to be the pied-pipper of spin studios, where students flocked week after week to the feel-good sweat-party vibe. After crashing at each of the three spin studios in the District, I was interested to see what all the buzz was about and how ZenGo would compare.
The entrance to the studio sits below street level, so keep an eye out for it when you pass by. When you walk in, you are immediately greeted by bright colors and lots of energy. I attended what I thought was an “early morning” Sunday class at 8:45, and people buzzing about, chatting in corners, giving high-fives as if it were a Friday evening.
There is a big, bright lobby area lined with combination lockers for storing your gear. I love that the lock is already embedded into the locker and I don’t have to lug my own around. In the corner is a filtered water spout to fill your water bottles – believe me, you’ll want to bring at least one with you to class.
There is also a clean and lovely women’s locker room, complete with two showers, a changing area, and a few items to help you get ready (hairdryer lovers rejoice). With the amount of sweat spin classes create, this is an enormous perk when you’re on the go and want to freshen up after your workout.
I did not get a look at the barre studio, which is all the way in the back of the building. But here is what the spin studio looks like in an unusually tranquil, empty moment.
So what do you need to know about signing up for a ZenGo spin class?
- When you register for a class, you will be asked to register for a particular bike. Check out the seating chart and find a spot that’s comfortable for you. I sat in the back right corner and had no issues seeing the instructor.
- You must wear bike shoes to class with either LOOK or SPD clips. There are no cages for regular shoes. If you don’t own bike shoes, you can rent them from the front desk for $3.
- Weekend classes sometimes sell out in minutes. If you want to snag a spot, be sure to get online on Monday at 1 p.m. when reservations open for the week.
What do expect during a 45-minute class:
- The music is really loud, and some folks even brought ear plugs. I didn’t think it was any louder than other classes I had been to and was most on par with the decibel level of Biker Barre or Sculpt DC, but just know that it’s similar to being in a night club.
- Enormously energetic instructors. I was blown away by the intensity, passion, and sheer enthusiasm that showed up at 8:45 on a Sunday morning. It truly felt like a religious experience at some points, when instead of yelling out instructions, she yelled out motivational phrases and self-empowerment quips. At times, it felt like someone should have shouted back, “Amen!”
- There is an incredible amount of moving around on the bike. Every song contained some combination of standing, sitting, and pushups. All of these are done fast. If you are looking for a more traditional spin class focusing on cycling only, I wouldn’t recommend this class as your top pick.
- Each class uses free weights to complete a series of arm exercises toward the end of class.
- You will sweat….a lot.
I don’t think I’ll be making this class a part of my regular schedule because of the location and the price. I’m also not a huge fan of freeweights or pushups on the bike – call me a traditionalist. But it’s a great option for those in the Bethesda area who want to experience a “party” class on a spin bike. Let me know if you’ve tried it and what you thought.
After class, I made a pit stop at Puree Juice Bar. I have been hearing great things about this place, and since I was in the area, it was a perfect opportunity to check it out.
It is bright, clean, and absolutely adorable inside. They had an extensive menu of juices, smoothies, and some food items…but since I just sweat in a hot room for 45 minutes, I craved something cold and refreshing with lots ingredients to help me refuel.
I couldn’t decide because everything looked so good. While I stood in awe in front of the menu on the wall, the woman behind the counter offered me a sample of their home-made kombucha. I’ll take it! They had two kombucha flavors on tap, just like you would see at a bar – how cool is that? I tried the ginger flavor and it was really good.
After much hemming and hawing, I settled on a best-seller: the coconut greencicle. It had whole pieces of raw coconut in it, along with kale, orange, coconut water, and some other yummy and fresh ingredients. It wasn’t sweet and tasted very healthy. I don’t think I’d order this particular smoothie again – mostly because I realized I’m not a huge fan of coconut – but I will certainly look forward to going back to Puree to try something else. Cheers!
Be sure to check out my reviews of other spin studios in the area: