Back in July, my work held a gala. I decided weeks before that I was going to wear my graduation dress to the gala, and the night before I tried it on just to get a feel for how it would look. It didn’t fit – and keep in mind, I only graduated one year ago. I was aware that I had put on some lbs after starting work full time, but not aware that I had put on that much. Daily (oily) sausage omelettes, uncontrollable snacking, and sparse gym sessions are essentially what led me to being the heaviest I’ve ever been. And not just heavy – but generally sluggish with a complete lack of energy.
In the past when I’ve decided I wanted to get in shape, I’ve usually gone about it the wrong way. I’ve either decide to get in shape just so that I can look thin in my bikini on holiday (short term goal – never lasts), or I’ve decided to get in ‘shape’ by doing crazy dieting (during exam season last year I would eat one yogurt for lunch). I’d lose a lot of weight using these two methods, but they were never sustainable, hence I’ve essentially been up and down in a cycle for the past four years. When I would try and lose weight, I’d have one and only one goal – I wanted a flat stomach. I didn’t care about any other part of my body, I didn’t care about toning and I didn’t care about my fitness, I’d just rotate between cardio and ab workouts day in and day out. I knew that there would come a day I really wanted to get into good shape – the healthy and proper way – and finally this July, that wake up call came.
I will go into more details about how I’ve changed my life around in this respect in another post – but in summary I started working out daily (home workouts before work, with one rest day), working out all parts of my body (yes, even lifting, something I previously thought would make me look “manly”), and eating healthier (but also not restricting myself i.e. by cutting out all carbs cold turkey – my first panic-y option to shedding all the weight I’d gained). I started easing myself into frequent workouts back in July, first with just 10-15 minutes a day, 5 days a week, and picking up the time as the weeks passed. Some weeks in I decided to start Psycle classes, pushing the overall days to 6 a week. I had considered trying out Pscle for a while and conveniently I had won 10 free Psycle classes at the gala – I actually wanted to win the free meal at Gaucho’s however I knew that Psycle classes were probably the best thing I could have won at the time.
Aside from one week (where I substituted Psycle for the gym), I’ve been at Psycle every Sunday consecutively now for the past 10 weeks (with my last class taking place this morning). A bit about Psycle for those that don’t know: Psycle was inspired by the US alternative Soul Cycle, which is a full body workout of your mind, body and soul. Psycle is not your regular spin class – first of all, it’s community, the riders you learn from work between the different locations and also at the front desk, and teaming this up with your classes, you tend to seem the same faces on a regular basis. It’s more than just riding a bike – you end up doing exercises on the bike that work out your arms, booty, legs and stomach area as well as giving you the much needed cardio blast. Finally, it’s almost as if you’re in a club, the music is loud (and mostly very good – I’ve discovered two new songs from my Psycle classes that I’ve gone on to download), there’re strobe lights, and you ride to the beat. Your instructor is not only shouting at you to keep pushing, but is motivating you along the way as well; hence they call it a total body workout – as you’re also meant to be challenged mentally.
My first Psycle class I decided to take quite easy, I’d never had a spin class before, let alone a Psycle class (which I’ve heard is like spin on steroids), and I really just wanted to get a feel for what I’d gotten myself into. The next class, and every class onward, I made sure I really pushed – and that’s how I realised that the classes are definitely not easy, they are so intense I literally tire out for the rest of the day, and end up sweating so much that my hair is damp. However, they give you such a kick – whilst you may be dying in the class, the endorphin rush afterwards is so real that you already can’t wait to come back for another class (or at least that’s what I’ve found). Your average class in 45 minutes (3/5 minutes is for stretching in the end), and also incorporates some weights towards the end of the workout. Beware – as tiny as the weights look, you’ll be lifting these after you’ve already been dying on the bike for half an hour (where almost all of the time is spent out of the saddle), so even the smallest weight will feel like a killer when you’re already that tired. I remember in my third or fourth class, after I’d now been lifting my own weights at home, I thought psssh, and went for some weights heavier than my usual choice – without a doubt, I died.
With Psycle you can also ride in all different types of class, for e.g. they have Ride Yoga, Ride HIIT, Ride Barre along with your regular Ride, so you can have a variety of experiences each on that same bike. Finally, you also get commended for your hard work. I got congratulations e-mails during my 5th and 10th ride, and often see people congratulated in class for their 25th, 50th and 100th ride.
Price wise, Psycle costs £20 per class. If I was to continue going weekly it would cost me around £80 per month, £1040 a year. You can also buy some classes in bulk and take the price down to £18 a week, £936 a year. You can weigh this up in different ways and it all depends on personal preference – I weighed it up in that it’s way cheaper than a personal trainer would be (something I’ve also considered in the past), and it also much cheaper than Virgin Active gym, which is essentially the gym of dreams, and the gym most of my colleagues go to. On the other hand Pure Gym, where I’ve been for over a year now, is only £35 a month with tons of equipment and also classes included in your deal. Plus, its open 24 hours. I decided in the end to go back to Pure gym for my Sunday cardio sesh just due to the flexibility it offers time wise and the very nice price tag, however I love Psycle so much I can see myself returning for classes in the future!
For anyone looking for a way to kick start their fitness journey, I’d definitely recommend Psycle, it’s a great way to get in some cardio, push yourself, and keep motivated.