It took me a fair bit of time to get into spin classes. The first time I tried one I thought it was tantamount to some sort of torture. 45 minutes of relentlessly pushing as hard as you can whilst sat on an exercise bike in a darkened room – not my idea of a good time. It didn’t help that the first class I did was in a gym that used the same Europop CD for every single session, without fail.
Then I went through a sort of spin renaissance. I actually started to get into the whole thing. I basically trained myself to shut out the constant sweat and pain and just power through until the end of the class, at which point I’d stumble out; sweat dripping on the floor as I nodded weakly at the instructor. I’d managed to just class spin as a fixed period of time in a room that would make me fitter.
That was ages ago now. I actually haven’t done a spin class for well over a year, so I was a bit apprehensive before heading over to try out a class at FIRSTLIGHT Cycle. I’ve spent the majority of the year running and doing weights, so memories of that first painful spin classes flooded back before I headed over to Westfield at Shepherds bus.
So, what exactly is it?
Well, it’s basically a nice spin studio. It’s a beautifully designed space that sits proudly amongst the high-end shops in Westfield with three studios to work out in. Aside from that there’s also a fancy concept angle that uses rather nice visual technology to make every session mimic a full day at specific locations.
What does that mean? Behind the instructor (called “maestros”) is a massive screen backdrop that has high res silhouette of a location – mine was New York. The start of the class uses lighting effects to mimic a sunrise continuing through the various points continuing the day until its eventually night-time. The music, motivation and general mood throughout the 45 minute session is focussed around the part of the day (“at 1pm its peak sunlight, so it’s time for us to peak as well”).
Is it any good?
As spin studios go, it’s a very nice set-up: large, spacious and visually pleasing. The spin studio I was in was massive and the bikes were quite spread out, unlike some cramped places I’ve been to in the past. The screen and lighting concept works quite nicely. It’s definitely a nice thing to look at while you’re working out and have a nice sense of positive methodology to the whole thing. I imagine the idea would work very well in America.
The idea is that you’re spinning for yourself, so you can go as fast or slow as you want. It isn’t the kind of spin class where you have scores on a big screen in front of you (which is actually the sort I prefer, what with being ridiculously competitive).
There was also a short weighted section in the class I did where we took out a couple of weighted bars and did some upper body movements.
Did I enjoy it?
I did actually. I was pleased I didn’t feel compelled to go all out and try to beat someone else’s score, so the experience was a lot more relaxing that I was used to. The “maestro” was also really nice and had a surprisingly good selection of dance music (I say surprising because I rarely know the kind of R&B I end up listening to in spin classes normally). The whole space is also a very enjoyable place to work out, partly due to the amount of space but also because it also seems so clean.
Who’s it for?
Based on the rather quickly developing area of Shepherds Bush, the studio is inevitably filling in for the fitness needs of the residents. It’s a similar concept to Boom Cycle and Psycle, with the focus on understanding your body and working to your own abilities.
How much is it?
1 credit costs £20, with various option available to save on bulk buying. You can also try it out for an introductory price of £20 for two sessions.
To find out more or to book a session, head over to the website here.
Picture credits: FIRSTLIGHT Cycle