I’ll be honest, it’s been a hot second since I’ve taken a spin class and I was a bit nervous about how my cardio endurance is doing these days. Yeah, I work out a fair amount, but spin intervals can be ROUGH and I’ve just been super focused on strength + yoga lately.
I couldn’t resist hitting up Cycle House when I was in LA– it’s been on my to-do list for years. I’ve heard SO much about it and from what I gather it’s the fan favorite in Los Angeles, even more so than SoulCycle and Flywheel which dominate the NYC indoor cycling scene. I had to visit and see for myself.
Disclaimer: As a blogger I always try to focus on the positive and highlight that while I personally may not enjoy a particular workout, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it for yourself as well. I strongly believe that there are all kinds of workout classes and instructors out there that appeal to different people. What works for me might not work for you… and that’s totally fine because we’re all individuals and have our own preferences.
I honestly did not enjoy the class I took at Cycle House, but the point of this review isn’t to tear the studio or instructor apart, that’s not my goal as a blogger and instead I love promoting these small businesses and individuals. The point is to highlight what I experienced so if you are interested in taking a class at Cycle House, this is a bit of a preview of what to expect.
Who knows, just because it wasn’t my jam doesn’t mean you won’t love it!
The class was terrifying and empowering and overwhelming and a whirlwind… all at once.
As far as the methodology of the class goes, I’d say it’s a healthy mix of SoulCycle and Flywheel, the studios I’ve had the most experience with in NYC. It’s has the music focused elements of Soul Cycle and a tiny bit of “dancing” (nothing like Soul though) but feels a bit more rigid and form focused like Flywheel, even though no metrics aren’t being calculated.
In a spin class it’s all about the instructor, I’ll argue more so than any other fitness class. They control the class room, the energy, the music, everything, and if you’ve ever been in a terrible spin class, you KNOW what a difference a good instructor can make.
So, my instructor Nichelle…
I probably should’ve done my research before signing up, but I signed up for class with Nichelle because it worked with my schedule for the day. You might know her from the TV show Hollywood Cycle. Having never seen the show I had NO idea what I was in for. I also thought that hey, it’s Los Angeles, people are super laid back in California, how crazy can this class be? Oh, I was wrong.
I’m not easily offended, if you’ve been reading this blog for half a second you know that I’m not afraid to curse. I’ll even say that using the F-bomb during a fitness class doesn’t offend me, one of my favorite instructors at Uplift Studios makes the whole class scream F*CK YEAH! in union before the final cardio interval, and I kind of love it.
But getting screamed at to “Get the f*ck up” when not everyone was up in third position (your butt is supposed to be hovering over the saddle as opposed to sitting) was one step too far for me and one of many moments that I thought “Wait, did that just happen?”
Other interesting gems:
- One person was clearly a regular of Nichelle’s but has been traveling to NYC a lot for work lately. I know this because Nichelle beckoned “They don’t work out hard in NYC” over the microphone. I’m not even being defensive when I say that’s simply not true…
- Nichelle went on a rant about how she doesn’t want to hear your excuses, Ellie Goulding doesn’t make excuses and still finds time to workout every day. That’s great, but like you’re preaching to the choir! I dislike when instructors make generalizations about the population of the class.
Between the rants that felt like I was being belittled and the deafening volume of the music + mic, I found the class to be really overwhelming but not in the good way. I personally am not motivated by tough love and connect better with instructors that focus more on praising you for getting your ass in class. I even considered walking out.
But then she softened up towards the end. And asked that everyone give the newbies in class a round of applause. So that was nice and totally different. I also can’t imagine what the experience would’ve been like if I was totally new to indoor cycling — at least I knew the basics from having taken countless classes at other studios.
After class I hung around for a bit in the cute courtyard outside (there’s also an Alfred’s Coffee!) eavesdropping on the regulars chatting with Nichelle. It was really obvious to me then and there how much she cared about her students, she was introducing regulars to each other and even trying to play matchmaker. It seems like she has a loyal following of passionate riders.
One last note: I forgot to bring my own cycling shoes and seriously regret it. My socks STANK after that class, which is something I’ve never experienced in my life and assume wasn’t thanks to my own feet. I legit hand washed my socks because I couldn’t handle the smell in the bedroom where I was staying.
Cycle House wasn’t my personal jam, or at the very least Nichelle’s class wasn’t, BUT that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it for yourself. I said this on instagram as well, but what I’ve learned in fitness is that what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for you. We all respond to different instructors and motivation styles and I love that there’s something for EVERYONE. Let this also be a friendly reminder that just because you haven’t found a workout you love, doesn’t mean you should rule out everything.
Want more class reviews? Check out my other studio reviews here.
Question: Have you ever been to Cycle House?
What do you look for in a fitness instructor?
Additional photos via Cycle House