Friday, 20 February 2015

Fitness: Psycle Review

In my quest to keep fitness fun and exciting I am always looking for new classes to try out so last week I popped into Psycle to see what all the hype was about! First of all I must mention that I am not a spinning pro. I attended a few sessions at Cyclebeat two years ago and the odd spinning class at my gym, but I have never been a hardcore spinner as I was concerned about overdeveloping one muscle group and just building my (already sizeable… thanks mama) thighs. Psycle, however is a totally different approach to the spinning sensation!
The Psycle workout is specifically designed to strengthen the body's core and tone key body parts whilst burning maximum calories. Light hand weights are used to tone the upper body whilst movement out of the saddle increases the engagement of core muscles and raises the heart rate. Everyone is given cleated shoes to wear, which promises to increase the connection between the leg and the bike, engaging the hamstrings and glute muscles resulting in lean, toned legs - and no big thighs (hooray)!

The music in the class is also a major element. I always listen to music when I workout so I loved it when the lights were turned down and the tunes turned up as it really helped to just get lost in the music and forget how hard you were working. The playlists are tailored for each different class making sure they are suitable for the time of day and week. As my session was on a Thursday night it was very much a club soundtrack - pushing us faster and faster into the weekend.

One of the things that makes Psycle stand out from other spinning classes is there is no competitive element or performance measurement. There isn’t even a resistance gage on the bikes! At Cyclebeat there is a leader board that plays to everyone’s competitive natures and the instructor gives recommendations of resistances for different tracks, but at Psycle novices and conditioned athletes can ride side by side, getting what they personally need from their workout experience. I would say that I fall somewhere in the middle… there are certain things I am not competitive about, but when it comes to sports I think a little competition is very healthy, especially when competing with yourself! Therefore, I do like to know my resistance and wear a heartbeat monitor to see how hard I have worked and try to use this to push myself further next time. Others may be happy feeling like they have done their best and not worrying about the stats and Psycle works perfectly in this case!

I really enjoyed my first Psycle class, despite the simple fact that I found it so much harder than I thought I would! Most of the 45 min class was spent out of the saddle with a lot of pumping in the arms, which was not something I was used to. It really helped to work my arms, shoulders and core and I truly felt like I had an allover body workout afterwards. As I normally do weights and a bit of cardio the repetitive pulsing and holding a lot of weight on my arms for longer periods was definitely a challenge. However, the music really helped with my endurance and I found that as long as I stayed with the beat it was easy enough to follow! The instructors (I had Becky) are super enthusiastic and really motivational, which was another big help!
The studio itself was great. The changing rooms were clean, with good sized lockers and lovely ila products. Though if I’m completely honest as mine was a full capacity evening class I could have done with a little more bench space to get myself sorted, so it’s worth arriving a few minutes early if you can. I loved the fact that the cleats are provided as it saves you lugging around trainers all day and I felt so much more secure on the bike (especially with all the movement out of the saddle) knowing that my feet were not going to slide off. The cycle studio is crammed full of bikes and does look a little intimidating, but with the lights down low it’s easy to forget about everyone else. Despite everyone working away the studio still felt cool and air conditioned and even had a fresh scent (lemon grass maybe), which definitely made a change from my normal gym and I very much appreciated! Though this may have been aided by the class being 90% ladies too…

Overall, I really enjoyed the Psycle experience and would recommend it for anyone looking to add variety and fun to their workout. My silly heart rate monitor decided to die half way through, but I estimate I burned at least 500kcal in the 45 minutes session.

Have you ever been to a Psycle class? Are you a fan of spinning! I would love to know your thoughts!!
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