Indoor cycling is given a whole new spin with weights, core exercises and top volume EDM
THE WORKOUT: Flycycle, from RM60 for one class (packages are available) at Verve Shops, Mont Kiara.
THE CLAIM: Indoor cycling is taken to the next level at Flycycle, which has spinning at its core, but with an added full body workout. Each session lasts 45 minutes, during which your legs, core and upper body muscles are targeted and strengthened with various moves, sometimes small hand weights, all to the beat of the music. Whether you're seated on the stationary bike or pedaling standing up, the goal of the session is to improve your overall fitness and engage rarely used muscles.
THE VERDICT: Before I begin, let me address a common question about Flycycle: there is no flying involved and no bikes suspended in mid-air. Co-founder Crystal Ng explained that the name was derived from what Flycycle represents: a holistic workout that disconnects you from your busy life. They're aiming for that uplifted feeling you get after a yoga class. Being a complete newbie, I did the session for beginners. The idea is to cycle together and there are ceiling-to-floor mirrors for everyone to keep in sync. An upbeat playlist, darkened room and neon lighting creates the mood of a dance party, except everyone's on bikes. My instructor made it look effortless, but it was harder to keep up with the music than to simply pedal at my own pace. Most of the time, I was standing up, doing pumps, bending low, straightening up, doing more pumps, rinse and repeat during booming choruses. You spend very little time actually in the saddle.
After what seemed like hours (but was really only half an hour), I was told to set my bike to the maximum resistance for the core exercise set. With my legs firmly on the pedals, I was led through a short series of workouts targeting the abs. It was then time to cycle again, but it seemed like my stubborn legs had finally warmed up to the bike, and I breezed through the final set of familiar pumping movements and weight routines. In the end, I realized it was just a matter of getting used to pedalling to a fixed rhythm.
Fair warning: Flycycle is not for the totally unfit, but there's no reason to be discouraged if you're curious. The Flycycle team urges everyone, of all fitness levels, to try it. Even those who work out regularly may find it difficult to keep up – to burning thighs, the beat is fast and 45 minutes is a lifetime. There's also no shame in cheating a little (I did) and going slow when you need to. When the studio is full, the energy is infectious, so motivation will be the least of your concerns.
Four days after cycling, my thighs still can't handle stairs, but I won't forget how energised I felt throughout the day. As opposed to jogging alone or riding in a gym, the point of Flycycle is the fun and camaraderie. Their motto isn't Ride As One for nothing.
Stay streamlined with sharp monochrome gear
From left: REN mist, RM139; Mara Hoffman tote, approx. RM770; Ivy Park sports bra, RM149; H&M tights, RM99.90
This article first appeared in the September 2016 issue of ELLE Malaysia.