TOP 3 SPINNING CLASSES IN TORONTO
The best spinning classes in Toronto will make you the toughest thing on two wheels. Though indoor cycling is known for attracting hardcore athletes and fitness buffs, many of the city’s top spin studios will gladly welcome spinners of any fitness or experience level (though they won’t exactly go easy on you).
To get you into the spirit, you’ll find motivating instructors, driving soundtracks, and, often, the kind of camaraderie with your classmates that comes only from sweating your face off side-by-side. A gyms go the distance with extra technological bells and whistles like HD-video scenery, progress-monitoring computers, or bikes that twist and swerve like the real thing. Whether you choose to take your cycling outside during the summer months or keep it to the stationary bike, after a few classes at these gyms, you’ll be more than ready.
Here are the top three spinning classes in Toronto.
Quad offers two Toronto locations (King West and Riverside), plus one in Oakville, for your spinning pleasure (or agony, depending). The vibe varies at each – vibrant-yet-upscale on King, peaceful and spa-like on Queen East – but both offer a range of classes, from beginner to three-hour endurance spins, and even sessions soundtracked by a live DJ.
Quad Spin on King West is one of three Quad studios. This central location is as swanky and hip as its King West surroundings. Themed music spins keep it fun (we’re having fun, right?). Quad also provides personalized weight management training.
Best for: social butterflies, the before/after work crowd
Soundtrack: live drummer, Michael Jackson theme spins
True to its name, the Junction gym makes spinning a part of a wide slate of offerings like Gravity, TRX, and Tribe training. The gym focuses on small class sizes, and makes newbies feel welcome while working old pros to the limit. (Their flexible rate plans, based around their in-house RPM card system, are a bonus.)
RPM Spinning Studio in Bloor West Village is a sunny, 3-level spinning studio also featuring large-capacity Gravity classes (full-body resistance training AKA “hell-but-worth-it”). Conveniences like child care services and the RPM Card payment system eliminate excuses.
Best for: moms, training (RPM is the official trainer for Ride to Conquer Cancer)
Soundtrack: Mix Tape
3) Rocket Cycle
The energy is contagious at this brand-new St. Clair West spinning gym, which keeps its classes to 50-minute bursts designed to blend cardio and strength – and occasional 60-minute classes for serious spinners.
Rocket Cycle is the Cadillac of spinning studios – or maybe calling it the Porter Airlines of spinning studios is more accurate. The studio’s space is elegant and immaculate, but without pretention. Everything about the studio has been designed to make it welcoming to all, creating as seamless a rider experience as possible. Partners Dana Rocket and Rory Pederzolli are on a mission to remove the intimidation factor from indoor cycling.
You sign up for classes online and you can even chose your bike. In order to avoid bottlenecks at the front desk before classes, you can sign in using their wall-mounted iPads by punching in your cell phone number. Don’t have cycling shoes? You can borrow theirs. Grossed out by sweaty spinning bikes? They clean the whole studio between each class.
Located in my ‘hood, on St. Clair at the top of Christie, right above neighbourhood landmark World Class Bakers, Rocket opened quietly this summer in a community not yet saturated with fitness facilities. I tried the Rookie Ride on a Thursday morning at 10:30am. Although I’ve been spinning a long time, the class fit into my unorthodox schedule. Who can attend a spin class at that time, besides self-employed folks like myself? Well, apparently, a lot of people! The 9:30am class just finishing when I arrived was packed, and a dozen of us filed in for the Rookie Ride.
Lots of people are scared off of trying spinning because it is perceived to be only for elite level athletes and very fit folks, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is an activity well-suited for individuals of all abilities and, actually, has a short learning curve as there is no complicated choreography to master. In addition, it is a completely non-impact exercise perfect for individuals with joint problems or other musculoskeletal issues that limit what they can do.
I believe that the intimidation factor is driven by the attitude you get at a lot of spinning studios, which is largely driven by the outdoor/competitive cyclists who use spinning as off-season training. These folks tend to hold very rigid beliefs about what spinning classes should be like (i.e. should be solely designed to mimic outdoor cycling).
The problem is that type of training is incredibly monotonous, and generally soundtracked by obnoxious ‘club’ music. The majority of spinners are just group fitness enthusiasts looking for a good workout, and if said workout is not fun, we’re not coming back. Music should be stuff that I would enjoy listening to in any other context, not just stuff with a strong beat that is reminiscent of drilling cement.
The class, co-taught by Rory and instructor Amy, was definitely both fun and a good workout. The music was awesome. Although designed to be appropriate even for the most novice spinner, advanced-level riders will also get a killer workout. It’s kind of retro-style spinning which I remember from when spinning first got popular in the late ’90s: variety, energy, personality and good coaching. The big different between beginner and advanced classes is simply the level of instruction geared toward those still getting used to the technique, positioning and terminology.
Both Dana and Rory have been thrilled by their fast success and amazed by the friendliness of the community. Even other businesses have been welcoming and encouraging. If you have ever thought of trying spinning but were too intimidated to do so, I urge you to check out Rocket Cycle. You will feel comfortable, regardless of your fitness or experience level.
Classes can be purchased individually for $20 each, or in packages of five ($95), 10 ($180), 25 ($399) or 50 ($750). Special discounts are available for students.