I’ve been a huge fan of spinning since I got my first gym membership in high school. Every year, a new style of spin emerges and makes me love it even more. Many people wonder, what’s so fun about riding a stationary bike for an hour? My answer was always, “The number of calories you burn by the end of it.” However, nowadays, spinning owes its fun to a lot of other things besides the satisfaction of burning a meal’s worth of calories or a day’s work of sweat. Modern spinning offers things like a rhythm-based classes where you can ride to the beat of the instructor’s customized EDM or hip-hop playlist, competition-based classes where there are scoreboards that showcase your class rank in total power exerted, and hybrid classes that offer a mix between spinning and yoga or spinning and barre. I’ve had the pleasure of riding at 5 spin-dedicated studios in Houston– read more for my personality assessment of each studio to help you determine which one is best for you.
1. Revolution Studio
With 3 locations in Houston, this studio is a mix between traditional indoor cycling and modern, dance-based spinning. The music is upbeat and you ride to the beat of the music, but it’s a lot more than just pulses, push-ups, and tap-backs. The instructor incorporates a variety of exercises into the sessions that you would see from traditional classes, such as hills, intervals, and sprints. A great studio for anyone who wants to add some fun to their training program once in a while. Some studios also offer yoga. Personally, my favorite!
2. RIDE Indoor Cycling
RIDE Indoor Cycling is basically like dancing to EDM or hip-hop on a stationary bike. The instructors are constantly creating new, high-paced playlists for you to bounce, literally. You’ll do exercises ranging from the infamous tap-backs, right-to-left push-ups, and arm rows using your sweat towel. This class is not for anyone training for long distance rides, but definitely for those who are bored of the traditional spin classes. Think of it as Zumba, but on a bike.
RYDE is similar to RIDE, but has a more upscale-hipster edge to it. It’s a rhythm-based studio, but the music is a lot more eclectic– you can definitely discover some new deep house beats here. Once differentiator of RYDE is that it truly is a full body workout throughout the entire ride. Revolution and RIDE both offer 1 song of arm workouts, but RYDE works the upper body, abdominals, and legs (of course) throughout the entire session. Great studio for a full body workout, plus, they send you your stats (e.g. power exerted, average RPM, etc) after.
Of all the studios, I will admit that I am the least familiar with Ascent. However, this is the spin studio for those who are training for official bike rides (e.g. MS150, Tour de Houston, etc). The music is great, but there’s no dancing in these classes. It’s all about the ride– instructors will provide a variety of exercises, such as hilly intervals, sprints, surges, and steady climbs to build your strength and endurance. They also provide you with digital stats so you know your current and/or average wattage, RPM, and mileage. Ascent is the studio for cyclists who want to increase their performance. In addition to spinning, Ascent offers other fitness classes such as yoga and Zumba.
SoulCycle is opening in Houston this month! I had the pleasure of attending their Target pop-up session a couple of months ago, and I can tell you that SoulCycle is definitely going to catch fire. The studio is a rhythm-based class with instructors who will make you believe you are conquering the world during the 45 minute session. SoulCycle has all the components of Revolution, RIDE, and RYDE, but it also emphasizes the sense of community as the goal is for everyone in the class to ride together to the beat. In a way, it’s kind of like a cult for spin enthusiasts.
Bonus # 6: Flywheel (not in Houston yet)
Flywheel is not in Houston yet (only in Dallas right now), but I wanted to feature it on the blog because it was the toughest spin class I’ve ever done… and it was awesome! Flywheel is all based on watts and RPM. Throughout the class, the instructor will provide guidelines on what your resistance and RPM should be depending on the workout, which consists of many hills and high-intensity intervals. The part that kills you is the Torq board, which will occasionally pop-up and show you how you rank among other spinners in the room based on the power you’re exerting on the bike. For those who are competitive like me, this will incentize you to push your limits on the bike. You’ll feel like you’re going into cardiac arrest, but it’ll be worth it calorie-wise. Certain Flywheel locations also offer barre classes.