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I’m trying out a different workout class each week and reporting back for your entertainment every Wednesday. Homegrown fitness concepts all the way up to the big national franchises. Follow along here, browse our fitness archives for more, send class suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Location: 401 N. Tryon Street
Class schedule: see schedule here
Class duration: 45 minutes
Drop-in rate: $23
Monthly membership: N/A. Classes are sold in bundles of 5 ($105), 10 ($200) or 20 ($380)
Pros: Beautiful space. Inspiring teacher. Well structured class. Easy to follow cues.
Cons: No digital reader on the bike so you have to gauge resistance and RPMs yourself. No shoe rental.
How to dress and what to bring
Wear whatever you’re comfortable in. For me, regardless of activity, this seems to be leggings and a tank.
At present, CycleSouth does not offer cycle shoe rental, but owner Erica Fenlon says they’re considering it since clients have expressed interest. This means you have to bring your own cycle shoes to clip into the bike or ride in the stirrups with regular tennis shoes. I borrowed Erica’s clip shoes for my ride.
What to expect in class
Class is taught in a mirrored room with dimmed lights and loud music. Our instructor Ansley was fantastic–uplifting, funny, intense. The workout is structured around the music with a different choreographed ride for each song. For example, one song might be a slow hill climb with high resistance and the next might be a sprint to the beat. Cues were direct and easy to follow.
Towards the end of class we had what Ansley described as the “savasana” (or final rest in yoga) of cycling. It was a mellow, self-paced ride that she told us to do with our eyes closed.
After that calm ride she hit us with one more all out sprint to wrap up the workout on a high note. Class ends with some light stretching off the bike.
Where you’ll feel it the next day
Legs, specifically quads. They mixed in some “crunch” moves for core but I don’t think I was activating that correctly. You’re also supposed to have your core engaged the whole time regardless and I probably missed that memo too.
Locker room situation
CycleSouth has lovely stark white locker rooms with showers and spaces to store your belongings.
This class managed to balance fun with a pretty intense physical challenge. I felt like I was working but not like I hated working.
This is perhaps thanks in part to the instructor’s ability to push us physically and then also lift us up inspirationally. During that slow “savasana” ride at the end she told us to “focus on who you were before you tried to be everything else to everyone else.” As hokey as it feels even just writing that, it hit me in the right place at the right time so I felt fired up for our last sprint ride. I live for inspirational fitness-related mumbo jumbo. I really do.
Another thing I noticed here was that despite being a very new studio, it felt like it had already fostered a strong community feel among regular clients. That’s a big win.
From a sports medicine pro
Along with strength and flexibility training, cardiovascular endurance is paramount to overall wellness. Achieving that with low impact is a huge plus. While I was able to saturate my shirt, get my heart rate up, and occasionally gasp for that next breath I didn’t leave CycleSouth feeling a ton of muscular soreness.
From an orthopaedic standpoint, I would definitely recommend this to patients with articular cartilage disease (read “arthritis”) of the ankles, knees and hips. Often, when I have the difficult task of telling an athlete that long distance/high impact activities isn’t recommended for the future overall health of their joints they become dejected. This may be an avenue, for that particular population, to pursue.
Get more great tips from Aaron Hewitt here.