In Toronto, spin studios are a dime a dozen so when I moved to Vancouver this summer and learned that the city’s first spin-specific space was opening up, I was both shocked (how has this city lived without this for so long?) and relieved (I had after all, just started getting into the activity). Robson’s newest ambassador, Mike Porter and I must have been on the same page. He quit his 9-5 to pursue his passion and opened the doors to his new studio, Cadence, just two months ago.
what is spinning?
It may be just like riding a bike but it certainly isn’t a leisurely jaunt along the seawall. Spinning is typically a 45-minute, high intensity, cardiovascular workout done on a stationary bike. The bikes are equipped with a system that allows you to control the tension on the wheel mimicking hill climbs, flat terrain or sprints. An instructor motivates and guides you through every up-hill battle and if the studio is a good one, the pumping tunes will drive you to the ‘finish line’. The quick in-and-out workout makes it ideal for those who are looking for a good sweat (about 600 calories!) but are also tight on time.
why a specific spin studio?
Many fitness facilities offer spin along with other group exercise classes but no one else in Vancouver offers the true spinning experience. The atmosphere of a studio – everything from the music to the lighting – plays a part in getting the best ride possible. For Mike, creating the right experience was key, so he’s gone as far as to include spin shoe rentals in the cost of the class. While they aren’t mandatory (regular sneakers will do), proper footwear enables you to get a greater workout because being clipped into the pedals allows you to make more powerful strokes.
spinning for cross training
Getting bored of just you, your runners and the open road? As a competitive marathoner, Mike uses both spinning and yoga to complement his training. After running the BMO marathon last spring, he had taken a six-week break and focused just on spin. He was surprised to find that when he went out for a quick 10k after the hiatus, he was able to keep his heart rate and perceived exertion at the same levels as when he was at the height of his training. Spinning is a great way to mix up your training without compromising the plan.
I’ve had both bad experiences (spinning in what felt like a hot yoga class) and amazing experiences (great tunes and motivational instructors) and have come to find that the studio really makes all the difference. Have a favourite spin studio in your community? Share it below so our newbies can discover the best of spin!