Well, 2017 certainly arrived quickly, and along with it, my exploration into the world of wellness has begun. Since the winter period can sometimes leave us a little more fragile, and depending on where you live a LOT more cold, I decided to kick those winter blues with a trip to Psycle.
With studios in Central London and Canary Wharf, Psycle is the UK’s answer to the American SoulCycle craze, combining spinning with low lighting and loud dance music. It’s cycling, but if your favorite route was inside a nightclub.
I was a little intimidated the first time I walked into Psycle, put me in a dance studio and I’m fine, surround me with long time cyclists and dedicated spinners and I don’t know what to do with myself. I picked a spot at the back, mildly embarrassed that I didn’t know how to clip the special shoes I was given into my bike, but my mind was soon put at ease. The instructors are understanding, upbeat and happy to help, and the room began to fill up with a variety of people. Amongst the long-timers were other newbies like me and a mix of ages, genders and body shapes.
Turns out Psycle’s appeal pulls in a diverse crowd. Classes are 45 minutes, and not the cheapest because it’s London, but I have to say, you definitely feel every minute. Once settled in the basement studio, lights off and beat pulsing, I quickly realized there was no clock. And no leaving if I found it too much because that would be way too embarrassing. The only way through is through.
Spinning at cycle also involves weights, arm movements, bouncing in and out of the seat, and often pedaling faster than feels physically possible. I’m not going to lie, as a non-cyclist, it’s brutal at times. But boy, it’s fun too. With the relentless music and the group push to keep going, it’s a perfect blend of mindless fun and meditation. As I bopped somewhat ungracefully (really, bikes are not my strongest suit) around my seat to Lady Gaga I was both exhausted and weirdly elated from trying to keep up, but also calm. In the studio time and stress don’t exist, just the bikes and the music and the next move. It’s wonderfully cathartic.
When class ended reality returned somewhat as I made my way back upstairs with slight jelly legs, but I Psycle eases you back into the real world with beautifully minimal showers and changing area, and the chance to stop for a quick superfood smoothie from the Energy Kitchen. I felt like a cliche, but I kind of loved it. You can tell that they’ve thought long and hard about how to cultivate the perfect vibe; despite the fact that I was exhausted merely ten minutes ago downstairs, sipping on my smoothie is a tranquil, calming moment. I left Psycle feeling energized, squeaky clean (the showers really are great), and healthy both physically and mentally.
Okay, so maybe it’s kind of a lie to say you never leave your seat. You spend a good portion of the class out of the saddle, but Psycle really is one of the funniest ways to work out, especially in the new year. Though it gets torturous there’s no easy way out, and that pushing through helps you feel twice as accomplished when you’re done, as well as helping you push through those January fitness woes. And honestly, when the next song comes on and it’s a great tune, there’s nothing like it to keep you going. My first new fitness adventure: a success!