I’m not crazy about cycling. I’m more of a kickboxing chick.
Don’t get me wrong. I like bicycles. In fact, I own a big one named Steel that is currently in ICU, aka, the corner of my living room. Hey, the glass on these Brooklyn streets was a little too real for one of my leisurely rides.
But when it comes to most spinning classes, I’m just not feeling it. For one, the seats are rarely comfortable, leaving my backside and in between my thighs feeling exceptionally sore. Secondly, I don’t like to work so hard to not go anywhere. I like to ride Steel (get better soon, boo!) because I can take in the scenery, the kids at the playground–the world around me. In a spinning class, the best view I can get is the sweaty butt in front of me. Thirdly, that shit is also just way too hard.
So when I was asked to check out a class at Peloton’s cycling studio in Chelsea, I was terrified. But as one always up for a good fitness challenge (I did just try surfing and horseback riding a few weeks back), I threw on my tights, my loosest shirt and prepared to sweat.
I sweat more in the span of that 45-minute class than I have during any other workout in my life. No lie. That has everything to do with the fact that Peloton Cycling, unlike many of the alternatives in the city, is competitive. While you don’t get the fresh air and calm scenery that you would riding my beloved Steel, you are definitely going somewhere–you’re trying to get to the top of the leaderboard.
You see, what makes Peloton different is that they have live-streaming classes that even people who own the snazzy bikes can take part in while working out comfortably at home. There are screens on every bike. Each lets you know how you, and those riding with you, are doing. Those working out at home are doing battle on their bikes against those participating in the studio, sweat running down their bodies, rented shoes on, pedaling for dear life. At least, that’s what I remember from my experience. That, and kicking ass with a soaring cadence, and high resistance levels. If you were really lucky, the instructor (mine was Lisa Niren) would shout you out if you were killing it, whether you were in front of her in the studio or pedaling in your living room. I’m a competitive person, so I was all for it, and it unquestionably pushed me to finish one of my best workouts in a long time.
But with all workout experiences, there are ups and downs. One thing I didn’t love was the temperature of the room in the studio. It was an extremely humid Tuesday evening, so I was expecting the cycling room to have the air on full blast. Not the case. In fact, there were times where I literally had to stop cycling altogether just to catch my breath so I wouldn’t fall out. This probably isn’t an issue during cooler months, but during summer in NYC? C’mon, Peloton! Crank up that air-conditioning! There was also the issue of the shoes I was given being a little too tight, which made instances where we all stood up to propel ourselves a bit uncomfortable. But I pushed through. I also would have loved a towel, as most spinning classes I’ve been to leave a fresh one on the bikes. But I missed the memo where you were supposed to grab one before entering the class. I was left to use my shirt as a rag. So if you try Peloton, be sure to remember that.
Despite all that, the workout itself was fantastic. In 45 minutes, I managed to burn more than 530 calories and walk out feeling not only like I stepped into a pool, but like a true champ as well. I had a great deal of energy after the fact (enough to take a walk around local shops), and I definitely felt accomplished.
If you go to classes earlier in the evening, Peloton has a Jack’s Coffee open where you can pick up a post-workout smoothie. If you go in the morning, you can get coffee, lattes, cold press juices and a wide variety of other things. Go around lunch and you can get baked goods, as well as sandwiches, soups, and salads. You can’t beat that at other studios. But if you care more about your appearance than food, the locker rooms offer face washes, flip flops for shower use, body washes and an array of popular beauty products to help you get it together before work or for a night out on the town.
Basically, Peloton Cycling is what’s up. And most importantly, the bikes are phenomenal. I didn’t wake up the next morning feeling like a donkey kicked me in the butt, so count that in the win column when it comes to the seat cushions. Plus, the screens are easy to read and navigate (and also water resistant). And the bikes are comfortable, quiet and push you to work hard. They also have a spot to store your phone…score!
While my first trip to the studio wasn’t flawless, it was worth it and one of the most intense workouts I’ve ever taken part in. I’m down for a second ride. Who wants to go with me?
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