8 clubs in 2 months…The Rundown

gyms

With spring firmly here, the gyms are busier than ever as everyone reminds themselves they won’t be able to hide behind long drapey cardis and sweaters for much longer. And with so many new cool fitness classes popping up in Sydney, I decided to embrace feeling like a newbie, leave the safety of Fitness First and embark on a little tour of health clubs lovingly named the #8x2challenge. It was fun, cheap and an awesome way to get me out of my comfort zone. Here’s my review of the 8 I chose to get me through winter – perhaps there’s a couple here to motivate you to get active for your spring edit?

KX Pilates – Bondi Junction

I’ve been a gym bunny for a looonnng time but I can’t believe I’ve never tried a pilates reformer machine before. WHAT a workout. Really enjoyed the instructors, the tunes and the intro deal was super affordable.

Xtend Barre – Naremburn

As an ex-ballerina/ dancer (Ok just up to a teenager) I was pretty excited to try this out and boy did it deliver. An awesome workout I could feel the tightness for a few days afterwards and it wasn’t too complicated either. No pas-de-chats thank goodness.

Flow Athletic  –  a premium-feel gym in Paddington, I’d be eyeing this one up for a while. Super friendly, chic and so many classes to choose from. I checked out Bike Asana which is 30 mins spin and 30 mins yoga. The yoga studio is the nicest I’ve visited in Sydney. If I lived closer I’d definitely look in to their options.

Body Mind Life – Bondi Beach

This was probably one of my favourites – mostly because it’s just such a good deal at $48 for a month of unlimited yoga (or pilates ) – I certainly got my money’s worth. During chilly July there was nothing nicer than going into a warm studio – I even went a little early to have a wee savasana solo time. Bliss.

Centennial Health Club – Moore Park

A girlfriend told me about this one – mostly because she was excited about the childcare options but I was impressed with the very different styles of classes and the two workouts I did I felt for daysssss. If you live or work near here I recommend trying it out. Also compared to my usual big gym where no one really speaks to each other, I really noticed how friendly people were.

Agoga – Bondi

I had been wanting to try Agoga for ages but was worried I was never fit enough however I did survive. The two intro classes I tried were both really good – my favourite was their signature class which really tested all parts of me including my will power. Super friendly and a nice bunch, I’ll go back for sure.

Vicious Cycle – Bondi Beach

While my road bike collects dust during winter months I do love a good spin class. This is a custom built spin studio with very flash spin bikes – the only thing missing is the meters which are becoming more common now. The $25 for 2 weeks deal was awesome value to get a sense of different instructors. A few even have a bonus core/ stretch segment which was worth staying for.

Coreletics – Darlinghurst/ Bondi

Coreletics is a holisitic core workout where Emma takes into consideration your overarching goals and what’s going on for you on the day. One session was completely pilates based with a reformer machine and boy did the thighs feel it the next day.   The second sesh I hit up 98 Riley St where we went through some basic functional movements (the new buzz in fitness) then finished off with a heart racing HIIT session. Phew! Everyone loves a personalised approach especially me.

 

All the new pass options like Body Pass and K Fit will mean a lot more variety and affordability for your workouts. I still haven’t quite managed to give up my ‘big gym’ membership but I’m sure it’s going to happen soon. Next week I’m off to try F45 in Bondi to see what all the fuss is about. But there’s at least 8 more on my list to try out – aerial yoga anyone? Let me know if you have any recommendations!

The soulful spin.

I doubt anyone could miss the lycra phenomenon taking over the streets at crazy early hours in the last 10 years specifically all those MAMILS! I have even been drawn in myself (aka ‘All the gear and no idea’).  And I’m sure we’ve all heard of, attempted or are addicted to spin classes – which when you explain it sounds completely absurd.  “Come on lets go biking to nowhere in a sweaty dark room with loud techno beats and an instructor yelling at you. Fun!”

On a recent holiday to the US however I wanted to try out Soul Cycle. You probably think I’m mad exercising on my holiday but I really recommend it. Especially somewhere like the States where they are up for trying a lot of weird and wonderful classes. More ideas here.

From a love of exercise, branding and holistic well-being  I was curious (and nosey) to find out how a brand of spin classes could have developed such a cult following.  Many instructors have become minor celebs – John Mayer even had a fling with ‘Lauren’ from LA according to reports . There’s a clothing range (yes I made a small purchase) and I just missed Jake Gyllenhaal in the NYC West Village class by one day. Gutted!

So what is it that draws people (ok mostly young females in the 20-40 age bracket) to soulfully spin to their hearts content ?

I turn up eagerly early and for a start as with most customer experiences in the US, they are soooo friendly. And this is one country (& potentially the only) where my kiwi accent seems to benefit. “OMG I love your accent”. When you sign up for their introductory offer it’s $20. Sweet. I grab my free towel & spin shoes (imagine that Fitness First & Les Mills!), pick my bike position in the room and sign my life away. I then clamber inn the dark past dozens of the latest spin bikes to find my spot. After fannying about for some time and scoffing at the 2kg handweights hidden at the rear of the bike I hop on, clip in and observe the instructor stage where candles are a blazin’. Next I unsubtley watch the clientele pouring in. All athletic keen bean bubbly young lasses – interestingly very similar in NYC and LA. The assistants leave the room, its darkened even more (can just make out my hands).’, the music get louder and like a musician entering on stage the instructor arrives, the excitement lifts and the mantras begin…

If you’ve done spin before it’s not a massively different except for these key three things.

  1. The instructors don’t scream at you to GET MOVING! Instead they offer positive motivating language, reminding you to be grateful for your body’s abilities and encourage you to step up your energy levels and make it count.
  2. There’s a couple of pretty weird up, down and sideways ‘dancing on ya bike’ type moves which even after years of ballet and modern dance training I could not sync up with. In fact I felt a bit like a turkey with indigestion and I wondered how Jake got on with this move?
  3. The hand weights. Towards the end you do a little routine with hand weights. And while I had dismissed it at first my little arms did actually hurt and hey, I’ll try anything to eliminate bat wings.

Overall it was a really fun, inspiring experience. It was uplifting and I came out feeling puffed, positive and converted to this way of exercising. I’m impressed Soul Cycle and looking forward to a version  reaching the Aussie shores soon.

spin