A year ago today I walked into my first spin class. I was so nervous, having no idea what I was in for. To say I’m a couch potato would be an understatement. I’m more like a bed potato. Actually, let’s fry that potato part–I am a bed fry. (‘Sounds delicious!). Before this past year I was as inactive as it gets. I was never happy with the way I looked or felt, I’m not sure anyone is ever satisfied with the way they see themselves. I’m no exception to that. I just never had a clue where or even how to start getting into shape. Getting engaged was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I had been reading up on the kind of workout I should get into if I was going to see results by the wedding day. Running was an immediate no. Kudos to you if you can run for however many miles or kilometers or whatever. But also, gross and please keep it to yourself. You’ll only catch me running if Posy has somehow weaseled her way out off of her leash. Getting a membership to a gym was also something I was not keen on. I know me. If I was not going to be held accountable by being expected to show up to a class, I knew I was not going to commit. Spin, or indoor cycling, was something I was seeing all over the place. Namely SoulCycle but this was back when Houston didn’t have a one. Bloggers and friends were raving about the way it made them feel, how much fun they were having and the physical results they were seeing because of it. I went on to Yelp to find the next best thing.
Ryde River Oaks was at the top of the list. It had awesome reviews and I was happy to see it was a five-minute drive from home. I called before committing to my first class just to get their take on my situation. I was assured I would be comfortable even at my skill level.
I walked into the studio for the first time where they gave me a pair of cycling shoes. I was shown where the lockers and restrooms are and a team member showed me to my bike and how to clip my shoes in. Even though the music blasts and the room is dark, I made sure to get a seat in the far back corner to be certain I would not embarrass myself. The classes are only 45 minutes long. I struggled to clip out of my bike when it was over and I walked, legs shaking and clothes drenched, out of the room. In hindsight I think I can say that I shocked my body that day. Between the sprints, climbs, attempts at the choreography and weights, I had never worked so hard in my life. The only thing more difficult than that first class was going back the next day but I did and things only got better from there. Yes, this bed fry got a taste of the cycling Kool-Aid and she is here to tell you that it’s delicious.
In honor of my 12 months and in the effort of continuing the cycle (pun intended), I have rounded up 12 reasons I love cycling at Ryde:
1. Anybody and everybody can do it. Had whomever I spoke to on the phone a year ago said you’ve never been to a spin class before?! I probably would never have signed up. You can walk into the studio having no experience with either stationary cycling or group classes and still really enjoy yourself. There is no one type of person that goes to Ryde. Everyone is on their own bike and controls their own resistance so you truly go at your own pace.
2. It’s therapeutic. Whatever might be stressing me out at work or bothering me at home takes a back seat during class. I focus on nothing but myself and keeping pace for those 45 minutes. The lights-or lack thereof-cause me to lose my sense of time so it’s nice to get lost in the music and choreography for a bit before getting back to life.
3. I typically leave itching to look up a song or two that played during class. The instructors keep an ear out for the most current music available. The best part is that Ryde uses Spotify for all of their playlists and releases a monthly Best Of playlist for followers to listen to. I am an avid Spotify user. 98% of the music played is EDM but that’s what everyone listens to nowadays! There are throwback classes most Thursdays and special classes featuring a certain genre or artist if that’s what you’re into too.
4. It makes a difference. All good things are worth waiting for so even when I wasn’t seeing any physical results at the start, I felt better about myself. I had more energy and strength and the will to make better decisions about what to eat and drink. I go often, so I continue to see major differences in my body. I was happy with the way I looked for Josh and in our pictures at the wedding, so mission accomplished! I am still not where I want to be but I am not where I once was and that progress is what is most important.
5. I can go as much as I want to. Unlike lots of other studios, Ryde offers payment plans with unlimited classes. The more I go, the less expensive each class gets #math. I typically try to go three or four times a week.
6. I used to not know what the world looked like before 6 AM. I thought that anyone who managed to pry their eyes open before they really needed to was crazy. Let alone anyone that voluntarily left their home to exercise *shudders*. Now, early morning classes are my favorite kind to go to. It is still difficult to wake up early but some of the best instructors hold their classes in the AM and getting to and from the studio is so peaceful. I feel so accomplished at the end of the work day knowing all I have left to do is go home. And here’s the real kicker: I prefer the 5:30 AMs over 6:00 AMs. I have more time to get ready for work and I sleep like a baby when the day is over.
7. The equipment is pretty nifty. All 44 bikes in the studio have consoles that track everything from calories to RPM. I get an email after every class giving me my performance results. This way I can be competitive with myself by going for a personal best or I can log into my Ryde account and see how I ranked against others in class. In fact, the consoles were upgraded yesterday so I can’t wait to see what cool new tricks they will do!
8. Classes are short and sweet. If I make a decent effort to speed up and change the resistance as my instructor tells me to, I will be a sweaty, huffy, puffy mess by the third or fourth song. It’s meant to be challenging but it’s not so challenging that it’s too much. From warm up to cool down, it takes only 45 minutes yet I leave feeling so accomplished.
9. There is always something fun going on at the studio. I mentioned Throwback Thursdays and themed classes but there are also celebrations and challenges. Everyone was encouraged to wear green on St. Patrick’s day. Some Sundays they will serve mimosas after class. In January there was a New Year New You challenge. The goal was to finish 25 classes in 30 days to get a t-shirt and be entered in a drawing. I didn’t win the raffle but I did finish which felt pretty sweet (and exhausting).
10. The instructors make the class. I am always in control of my own pace but the style of the class is changes depending on who’s teaching. For example, I’ll opt for one instructor over another on a day I have a lot of energy because I know they will give me a challenge. Some have better music than others and some are a little more easy-going for days I’m feeling tired.
11. The Ryde team is great. Front desk workers, instructors and those that help with bike setup and cleaning are always happy to help. I was once in a class that took a funny turn because a girl on a bike next to me started calling for help. Our instructor ran over and asked what was wrong while still leading the class. Apparently a roach was climbing up the wall close to this girl who turned out to be extremely afraid of bugs. She was moved to a new bike and the show went on from there. Another example is this morning. I had a 5:30 AM but when I got to the studio the lights were all out. Apparently the whole building was experiencing a power outage. They had us sign in before we left so they could send us gift cards as a sorry for not being able to hold class.
12. I hold myself accountable. I mentioned earlier that I needed a workout I knew I would be able to stick with. I enjoy cycling so much that I actually go to the classes I sign up for. I come back for more every month and I don’t intend on changing that any time soon.
Lots of love,