Even serious petrolheads will have twigged that London has gone bonkers for biking. Latest to hop on the two-wheeled bandwagon is fitness company Edge Cycle, which has created a funky indoor-cycling studio in the heart of the capital. It promises a new twist on the trend, with a bootcamp-cum-spinning workout that claims to burn up to 1,000 calories during a 45-minute class.
Before the lunchtime session starts, my instructor Louise guides me towards the hand weights – 3kg in grey and 1kg in pink. She tells me to start with the grey and if they get too much, move down to the pink. I carry them back to my cycle station and am surprised by how heavy they seem.
Louise dons her mouthpiece and shouts, “Let’s go, guys!” and we are off. As the main lights dim, the fluorescent-coloured disco lights and belting dance tunes crank up and give the studio a nightclub ambience. I feel pumped.
Louise shows us two different moves – “hill climbing”, where resistance is turned up and we lift our bums off the saddle and lean forward in the pro-speed cyclist pose; and “sprinting”, where we turn the resistance down, sit in the saddle and pedal as fast as we can. Both are knackering. Leaning forward on the handlebars engages the core and I can feel my abs working overtime.
Repeatedly, Louise reminds us to engage our core and keep our backs straight. As we fluctuate between resistances for each move, my legs tremble and sweat pours off me. But the synchronised moves and music, and Louise’s calls of encouragement, are enough to keep me going. Heart pounding and struggling for breath, I reduce the resistance and settle into a cruise. Before I know it, the endorphins are rushing and I’m having a great time – I even let out a “Whoop!”
The next 15 minutes are spent off the bike, working the whole body by doing weighted lunges and arm presses, push-ups, planks and crunches. It is the typical military-style interval-training regime that targets all the key areas: bum, tum and arms. I feel my muscles ache.
The ever-effervescent Louise shouts at us to keep our knees lifted during the press-ups and only to drop down if we collapse. I find the routine quite tough, and do collapse a bit earlier than some others around me. Just as I think I can’t go on, it’s time to hop up (or rather clamber breathlessly) onto the bikes again.During the final 15 minutes back on the bike, my legs turn to jelly. I have to lower the resistance to keep going. As Louise calls out to sing along with Queen’s anthem Don’t Stop Me Now, all she gets in reply is a lot of puffing and panting.
To get us through the last few minutes, she changes tack and tells us to focus on why we are there and what we want to achieve. I think of slim thighs and find a last burst of energy.
The bottom line:I left Edge Cycle in a puddle of sweat, my body tingling and aching. But I felt elated from the surge of endorphins.
There was a high level of interaction with the instructor, which ensured I maintained the correct technique. The class is said to improve posture, which I can well believe, as my core was well and truly put through its paces.
The class was a challenge, but felt suitable for seasoned cyclists, novices or those just wanting to tap into the trend of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in a new way. I’d definitely go back to shake up my interval-training routine – this is a low-impact, high-intensity cardio workout I could get used to.
Spa Junkie is the founder of FaceGym. She pays for all her own travel, accommodation and therapies.