The lowdown: Forget what you thought you knew about spin class. The folks at 7Cycle are all about making fitness fun, unpretentious and non-intimidating. Indoor cycling in the dark with music blasting through the speakers might not be the cup of tea to some skeptics, but according to instructor Amanda Dale, it works. You'll never get hit by a car and can do so much more on a stationary bike — stretch and simulate race conditions — taking the best elements of outdoor cycling into a 45-minute class.
Dale cycles at the front of the 30-bike amphitheatre-style studio, facing the class. A spin teacher for 10 years, the American also has a PhD in Sociology, which means her expertise in studying people and using motivation to get them to spring into action really helps. Dale doesn't single you out if she spots something wrong — instead, she gives out collective cues that really help you to stay focused: "Chest up!" "Don't look down!" "Looking good, guys!"
After a brief warm-up on the upper body (which we wish lasted longer), Dale launches into the class proper. Guiding you as you take on a simulated road track, you crank up the resistance on your bike accordingly as a little computer screen acts as your guiding light, telling you how hard and fast you're going by tracking your revolutions and watts per minute. Your performance data is then consolidated at the end of each class to estimate your calorie burn. Dale shares that depending on your body type, you can easily burn from 400 to 800 calories by just one class — and with this advanced class, you're already starting to build that endurance.
What I loved about the class: 7Cycle uses cleated shoes which stay on the pedals as you work them non-stop, which means you'll never slip. It might be tricky to slip them into the pedals' buckles, but once you're in, you stay in. As for the playlist, Dale picks out hiphop and pop tunes of the '90s and '00s — in fact, she warms down with Boyz II Men's End of the Road, which is a bit on the nose, but so fitting. The music's a great way to build momentum, tune out or motivate when resistance gets really tough — Kanye West is particularly useful when he tells you to go "harder, better, faster, stronger."
It's great for: Those who are looking for a high-intensity but low impact workout while building cardio-vascular endurance and lower body strength. While 7Cycle's Signature classes are designed to be a bit easier, their road classes are intended for a seasoned cyclist. For this class, the timed races, high gear and heavy hills are equivalent to doing squats — it tones the same muscles and builds strength. As opposed to something like running, which just builds endurance, the road class also builds lower body strength. Target areas include the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Dale shares that by doing more of this exercise, it also protects from shin splits.
If you enjoy group classes but still require some privacy, the dimly-lit room particularly helps if you're self-conscious. It's also a good class to take just before a night out or day in the office — the changing rooms and showers are stocked with John Masters Organics hair and body care and the little things which really matter: Q-tips and cotton wool pads.
Name of session: 7Cycle Road
Try it out here: 7Cycle
Duration of session: 45 minutes
What to expect: Non-stop cycling, with high intensity routines interspersed with varying resistance.
As part of #BuroGivesBack, you can sign up for a 45-minute charity class on 17 April, Sunday at 2.30pm at 19 Anamali Avenue #01-01. All proceeds will go towards supporting Children & Youth first. To register, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and quote "Buro 24/7".