“The trend right now is to do high intensity training like cross fit, but it’s tough on knees. This is still high intensity, but it’s very good for your joints,” explains Villeneuve.
What can you expect from Spin City? An experience. For those unfamiliar with Soul Cycle, it involves constant peddling in addition to putting your arms and core to work, as well as dim, but colourful mood lighting and fabulous music.
As I entered Spin City, I really took in the transformation that had occurred from the time when 203 Bank Street was occupied by Wallack’s Art Gallery. A garage window had been built into the store front so it could be opened on sunny days and in the place of easels are white counters where smoothie-making-magic happens. These can be ordered ahead of time to be ready for when you finish your ride.
Making my way in, I noticed how lovely the women’s change room was – it was fully stocked with the usual soaps, creams, shampoos, and conditioners, but also with some items that many women will appreciate: hair elastics, bobby pins, razors — it was as if I was in a candy shop. (And, although I did not go in, I was assured the men’s change room is just as nice.)
I opted for a Wednesday’s 11:30 a.m. ride with Deanna Renzi. Every bike in the studio had a clean towel laid out. As I’ve been spinning for a few years, I popped my spin shoes on (they have them available to rent for $2) and set myself up on the bike. We did a quick warm up and then Renzi turned off the main lights, leaving on only coloured ones that dashed around the ceiling and a few candles.
She took us through a sweat-inducing workout that included sprints (pedalling very quickly with low resistance), hills (turning resistance up), presses (doing push-up motions on the handlebars), dips (tricep push-ups), and even using weights for one of the tracks.
Renzi’s music choices were on point, helping us power through, and her energy was contagious. Although she often teaches at least two times a day, she was able to continually motivate us (talking AND pedalling), sometimes getting off her bike to walk around and cheer us on, and even jumping up and down to the beat. Her excitement was infectious.
After a 45 minute workout, we stretched and were on our way. We didn’t even need to wipe down our bikes (someone else takes care of that). I left class with my legs still intact and feeling very much energized despite the hard work. As I waved goodbye to owners Beausoleil and Lemay (and his adorable dog, Diva), I thought about how well this style of cycling helps you reach peak endorphin levels. The music, the energy, the moves all combine to create a great workout experience.