Studio Review: REPS Fitness Studio

This morning I signed up for a 30-minute spin followed by 30-minutes of abs in hopes I wouldn’t get stuck with an instructor trying to squeeze in an entire muscle conditioning class on a spin bike. Sadly, I was disappointed and found another studio I won’t be coming back to. This journey with Class Pass is definitely helping me eliminate a lot of studio options!

I was greeted by the instructor as I arrived and she was friendly and helpful but the first issue for me was the model of spin bikes. I really don’t enjoy LeMond spin bikes. I feel like the set-up is a little funny, the resistance never feels quite right, and the pedals have jagged edges that destroy your sneakers and cut into the arches of your feet if you are not wearing cycling shoes. This is probably the main reason I will not revisit this studio. You could be a spectacular instructor but the bikes ruin it for me personally.

The instructor seemed “new” to me. I felt like she might not be very experienced for a variety of reasons. She did cue proper form but she counted a lot, used the same verbal cues over and over, the same “motivational” cues over and over which mainly consisted of saying “dig” to the beat of the music.

  • There was an entire song that she counted from 1 to 20 and then 1 to 10 and repeated that for the entire song. Her monotone counting drowned out the actual great beat of the music. Once I noticed I worked harder when I ignored her and went to the beat of the music.
  • When she told us to get out of the saddle and sprint for two minutes it was another sign of inexperience. The maximum amount of time the average person can sprint is approximately 30 seconds before the body switches over to a different energy system and physiologically has to slow down.
  • The last song was slow and she had us finish with a sprint which was poor playlist planning.
  • She never told us what level we should be working at and instead told us to add half turns and full turns. Resistance on every bike is different depending on the wear and tear of the brake/resistance pads so adding turns on is not the best approach. She barely had any resistance on while I was climbing the steepest hill – it would have been nice to say whether we were on a flat road, windy, climbing, etc.

Between the bikes and the instructor I noticed myself checking the clock three different times hoping the thirty minute bike portion would be over soon. The core workout was okay. She basically repeated the same four exercises for thirty minutes and threw in about three other exercises. There was a lot in the plank position and she kept telling us to keep our butts up…the opposite of where you want it to be so that seemed quite strange to me. She didn’t use very many form cues during the abs and when I looked around peoples form was terrible and could have used either adjustment or cues to help.

All in all, I won’t be back. This is starting to become a trend in Boston spin studios! I have been using Class Pass for a week and I think by the end of the month I may be able to pick just one studio I actually want to join.

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Studio Review: Cyc

This class reminded me of the TV show “Psych”. I felt like they were subliminally saying that although we thought we were going to a cycling class to get our bodies in better shape “cyc” – fooled you – we are going to do stupid things you should never do on a bike to compromise your body and possibly injure you.

It was probably the worst customer service of any of the studios I have visited. The front desk personnel was on the verge of being rude and could definitely not be considered friendly. The instructor was nice though and she seemed to have our best interest at heart.

The bikes were nice and the studio was nicely lit but the bikes were more cramped together than comfortable. The music was decent but it wasn’t memorable. The ride was ridiculous. They had us out of the saddle with only one hand while the other hand was doing rows with a two-pound sandbag. Exactly how much of an upper body workout do you really think you are going to get from rowing two pounds compared to the risk of injury from torquing the body in order to balance while pedaling and rowing. We also sat on the bike and boxed with the sandbags, did bicep curls, front raises, tricep extensions and push ups. Did I feel like I got an upper body workout? No. Did it make the class more interesting? No. Did I feel like I was going to get injured? Yes, which made me stop at certain times and do what I was taught in my certifications. I was the only one not doing the exercises and I suppose because the studio lighting was a bit brighter than others this time I felt a bit guilty.

I honestly don’t really understand this trend in spinning. The traditional spin certification teaches us that all these moves are unsafe and unacceptable. If you want a cardio workout go to a spin class, if you want a total body and cardio workout then go to a boot camp class. I looked around at people’s form during the exercises and it was horrific. I wanted to take a video sooooo badly. I think there is more than one reason that cell phones aren’t allowed in the room.

Studio Review: Lyfe Cycle

IMAG0279Today I decided to stay local and try out a spin studio in my neighborhood with the added challenge of running to and from the studio. The mile and a half run was a great warm-up but I was pretty beat on the way home!

Lyfe Cycle is a small studio with 16 Schwinn bikes that have monitors so you can track your RPM’s, mileage, time and calories. The studio had a feminine vibe about it – not to say that men wouldn’t be welcome. There are no mirrors, it is pretty dark, and you definitely can zone out into your own world without judgment. They offered complimentary lavender towels to refresh and cool down at the end of the ride.

I definitely felt like I got a much better workout here than at Turnstyle. The instructor was awesome. She had great energy, put together a well structured ride, gave us cues on form, and had the music and microphone at just the right volumes so you could clearly hear all instructions.

She added in the “choreography” that I hate with push ups on the handlebars and standing crunches but told us we didn’t have to do anything we didn’t feel comfortable with. I tried one set of the push ups but I really felt that my legs were going so fast and keeping my core engaged and shoulders pulled down made it pretty difficult to get much out of the push ups. I don’t go to a spin class for an upper body workout, I go for the cardio. I think it would be much more effective to do a set of push ups and crunches before and after class than to do it on the bike with your legs spinning away. I looked around the room to check out the form during push ups and although there was no head banging there was pigeon head. I am not sure you will understand what I mean but a pigeons head bobs back and forth which is what happens when any one with rounded shoulders or forward head posture tries to do a push up on a spin bike. I even see it at the gym when people are using the eliptical. I’m not sure what has changed since I got certified but none of these moves used to be allowed because of the risk for injury. I still think it is for entertainment value so people don’t get bored. I felt very comfortable doing my own variations during the periods of choreography though.

Overall I thought Lyfe Cycle was great! It was the best spin class I have been to in a long time and I will definitely be back.

Studio Review: Turnstyle

Today I went to my first spin class in months and my first class in Boston in years. I definitely hold Boston fitness classes to a higher standard than when I am in a small town in Maine or off in a third world country. Unfortunately, my expectations may have led to my disappointment.

I arrived to the studio and was delighted the front desk staff was so friendly and inviting. She provided me with shoes and asked if I needed any help with my bike set-up. Generally I always arrive to classes early but I had trouble finding parking and was right on time. This meant the lights in the classroom had been turned off and it was almost impossible to see. I felt around in the dark for the knobs so I could adjust my bike seat and handlebars. I am not used to such a dark studio but it definitely ensures nobody will be gawking at you or judging you during your workout.

The playlist was perfect for my taste and that is a major key in my spinning motivation and really keeps me from getting bored or tired. The only issue was that the music was louder than the teacher’s microphone so there were many times I couldn’t hear what she was telling us to do but quickly figured it out.

My main disappointment was caused by the “choreography”. The class quickly began out of the saddle and with what looked to me like head banging push ups on the handle bars. I immediately cringed. All I could think of is the unnecessary stress the instructor was putting on her body and the terrible form she was encouraging her students to mimic. This was a trend in the class. There were several different moves that didn’t really improve the workout but I assume they were put in to keep people from getting bored. I tried a couple of the moves but found just focusing on my form and truly engaging my core gave me quite the workout without adding in any compromising moves. We did one song with light dumbbells but only did front raises for about five minutes straight. We brought our arms straight in front of us at shoulder level and just pulsed at different tempos. It seemed silly to only work our shoulders when there are a wide variety of exercises that could have been used but I’m not sure what to think after just one class.

The instructor gave us words of encouragement but not a single cue about form. Most people are in a seated position most of the day, have a forward head from looking at screens and phones, and tight hips that pull on the lower back which means spinning just replicates these bad postural problems. Without proper alignment spinning can do more harm than good, especially when you add in crazy push ups and jerking the head forward.

I have to say that I felt comfortable doing what was best for me and not what the rest of the class was doing, I got a sweaty cardio workout and felt great driving home. I will try Turnstyle again but I will be checking out other instructors in hopes that they do care about form and injury prevention.