It's quarter to eight on a Friday morning and I'm sweating from head to toe in a basement room off Oxford Street. My feet are strapped into pedals and the neon lights have been turned off. Jay Z is telling me he's got 99 problems but this morning certainly aint one of them: I'm having the best workout of my freaking life.
A few weeks ago I was asked by Psycle if I wanted to go and try one of their new classes for Guac & Roll. A full body work-out, Psycle's classes are so far removed from the standard spinning sessions I've been to before that I can easily see why the 7.30am slot I turned up to was already packed with regulars.
I use exercise every day to regulate my mood, pace out some anxiety or just go looking for a great hill to cycle down really fast. My 18 mile commute to work is full of these moments where you reach the top of a mile-long incline or turn on to a network of deserted streets. I love that cycling makes me hungry, gets me to sleep at night and allows my brain time to do some thinking I didn't know it was possible to achieve whilst travelling in rush hour. So when I read how much this philosophy supports what Psycle's classes are set out to achieve, I didn't give trying it out a second thought.
Created with wellbeing and lifestyle choices in mind, the 45 minute session was seriously the best kick out of exercise I've had in months. Everything at Psycle is geared up to give you that awesome TGI-Friday-feeling you get from a really tough workout. It was barely daylight when I got to Mortimer Place at 7.15am, but every member of staff I met were helpful, approachable and happy to explain everything I needed to get set up in fifteen minutes. Despite loving cycling and running, I haven't set foot in a gym for... actually nine years! And I was a bit nervous about locking all my stuff away without a key or turning up in totally the wrong gear. But the mood was resolutely positive and easy going, and the cleat shoes I was a little hesitant to try on were in fact really comfortable and made for a much easier time in the saddle.
Our instructor for the session, Rhian, was super helpful and sorted everyone out with towels, weights and locking our shoes into the peddles, and her motivation techniques to keep everyone going were flawless- no cheesy chants, just good advice on how to keep the tempo up and follow her lead. Although I didn't get time to chat afterwards, Rhian is also a naturopath and nutritionist, and has worked on a range of food from The Detox Kitchen, (whose vegan detox I tried out a few months ago), and Pure Earth juices to compliment the workouts at Psycle. By taking time to look at the entire holistic process of exercising and eating well to aid well being, you essentially feel like you're in safe hands the minute you step into Psycle.
So as much as I love cycling everyday, I realised by the end of the class that there is a lot more I could do to aid my fitness and well being that my commute is never going to fulfil. The weights, pace and increased resistance on the peddles, not to mention the reps and speed at which we were going at, were a world away from cycling through traffic on a busy morning. I realised as I was changing that I'd worked out harder than I could remember, and in just 45 minutes.
Psycle is everything a modern workout should be- there's no corny music, intimidating instructors or over-involved membership subscriptions. Everything is simply focused on making you feel great. It might not be easy, but it does feel damn good.