A new series where we try a bunch of the same classes at different gyms in LA + NY and report back on our experiences. We tried it!
Remember in college how there was always that one girl who would blackout before nine pm? It was the same story every time. She skipped dining hall dinner, took eight shots of 99 Bananas with a Diet Coke chaser, and before you knew it her flared jeans were caked in mud, her belly button ring had made an appearance, and she was slumped over with her head in her hands. Someone would yell out, “Marissa has a case of the spins!” (there was always a Marissa) and the most sober person would have to babysit her all night.
Well we at The Struggle are definitely not Marissas but we do have a case of the spins. Spin class that is! (What a buildup to get to this.)
One of the hardest things about getting into shape is finding a workout that works for you. Something you’ll actually stick to and force yourself to attend regularly. For me (Chelsea), the only thing that’s ever worked is having a gym partner who makes me feel accountable paired with a healthy amount of Syracuse University prescribed adderall and my then overwhelming yearning for a boyfriend. As you can probably tell by that sentence, the last time I successfully lost weight was in college, cougheightyearsagocough, which is why I’m trying to find a new workout plan I can fit into my busy schedule.
For me (Whitney), my tried and true workout plan is to gain and lose the same 15 lbs over and over again (I’m basically Oprah except less successful). To do this I go absolutely insane for 3 month stints, then right as I’m seeing real results I burn out and give up. This has been my same cycle since middle school. The only difference is in my late twenties I see way less results because I don’t have the metabolism of a 12 year old anymore. Go figure!
So we have decided to see if spinning is the magic exercise that does the trick. We each tried out a couple spin classes in NY and LA and have graded based on the following very important rating scale:
Overall bun feel: we’re talking ass, ass, ass, ass, ass. How do those buns feel during class?
Instructor ab count: can those abs cut steel?
Did I bring enough water: has the answer to this question ever been yes?
Playlist (unce unce unce factor): on a scale of Beyonce to When Will the Bass Drop, how were the tunes?
Amount of times I wanted to barf: dry heaves and mouth barfs to be considered
General attractiveness of other attendees: a good booty makes me pedal harder
Laugh to pain ratio: a complicated situation. I want to laugh, but it makes me cry
The climb the stairs test: did you take the elevator instead of walking up one flight of stairs?
Amount of “I deserve this” snacking: carrots are a snack (so is ice cream)
Number of times I casually told someone that I went to spin last night: humblebrag, humblebrag, technically now I’m better than you?
OVERALL RATING ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10:
(1 = worst class of my life, would not spin again and 10 = found my new religion)
Overall bun feel: Holy shit my butt is going to fall off of my body
Instructor ab count: Can you have more than 12 abs? I think instructor Hayley does.
Did I bring enough water: There is not enough water in the world. Even if we figured out a cost-effective way to desalinate the ocean there still wouldn’t be enough water to make it through this class.
Playlist (unce unce unce factor): Strictly bangers. All very new music with a few CLUTCH remixes/throwbacks in there to keep it interesting.
Amount of times I wanted to barf: From minute 3 until she tells me I can go home.
General attractiveness of other attendees: I think I am consistently the fattest/least fit person in that class so everyone is at least an LA 5 which is like an 11 pretty much anywhere else.
Laugh to pain ratio: This class sticks with me all week and I love it.
The climb the stairs test: If I DID climb stairs it would be impossible.
Amount of “I deserve this” snacking: I actually feel so good when I leave this class that I don’t even want to eat shitty food. LOL okay I always want to eat shitty food.
Number of times I casually told someone that I went to spin last night: I talk about it all week with other girls from work who also go…so I’m very annoying.
OVERALL RATING ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10: 9/10 because I have to reserve that last point for SoulCycle and specifically one SoulCycle class that actually changed my life.
Overall bun feel: I have successfully danced my butt off on a bike and I feel good about it.
Instructor ab count: Literally every instructor has reached full peak ab potential.
Did I bring enough water: Dancing AND hardcore spinning? No way. Not even if I bring 2 water bottles.
Playlist (unce unce unce factor): Always on point. One time I felt my soul leave my body and watch from above during the “Early 2000’s” class and I haven’t been the same since.
Amount of times I wanted to barf: The first time I went to Soul I actually blacked out on my bike. Now I only want to puke 1-2 times during class.
General attractiveness of other attendees: I have never been in a room with more attractive people who can also regularly afford a $30 class. I hate them so much but I support them because you’re not allowed to be mean in Soul.
Laugh to pain ratio: Not too much pain but a niiiiice dull burn.
The climb the stairs test: Eh. I could do it if I wanted to.
Amount of “I deserve this” snacking: Sometimes I’ll go home and eat too much dinner but not like “eat a whole cake” snacking.
Number of times I casually told someone that I went to spin last night: I talk about Soul an embarrassing number of times a day/week/month/year.
OVERALL RATING ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10: 10/10 I would go every damn day if I could afford it.
Overall bun feel: Pretty good butt burn.
Instructor ab count: These instructors actually cycle outdoors quite a bit and you can tell. Not one ounce of anything extra on their bodies.
Did I bring enough water: I get thirsty, but not “I’m gonna die” thirsty like in other classes
Playlist (unce unce unce factor): It’s a pretty big range. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I wish I could go up there and plug in my own workout playlist.
Amount of times I wanted to barf: If I rode like the people in the front of the class I’d have to barf 3-4 times, but my ass is in the back so maybe once.
General attractiveness of other attendees: Not a great looking crew, but that’s my favorite thing about Gold’s. Let them LIVE.
Laugh to pain ratio: I definitely sweat (a LOT) but pain after class is minimal.
The climb the stairs test: You actually have to descend a set of steps when you leave this class. It’s not easy.
Amount of “I deserve this” snacking: I always deserve the good stuff.
Number of times I casually told someone that I went to spin last night: Telling people in LA that you went to Gold’s spin class isn’t exactly a point of pride, so I usually chill out on the bragging after this one.
OVERALL RATING ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10: 6/10 A great “old reliable” stand-in when I wanna go somewhere close and easy.
Overall bun feel: Could have felt the burn more (not about Bernie Sanders but shout out to da homie).
Instructor ab count: Unfortunately could not see his abs, but I’m guessing they are very good. Hey Adam if you’re reading this you are very attractive and I know you’ll go far in life. 10/10 would.
Did I bring enough water: I brought my trusty Gatorade bottle that keeps me hydrated and makes me look like I’m a washed-up college athlete, but I actually didn’t play sports in college (except for Tae Kwon Do but you know UNC wasn’t givin the TKD club team those precious water bottles). I got it from my friend who used to work on the Gatorade account. (Thanks for making me look athletic Katie!)
Playlist (unce unce unce factor): There were definitely some bangers, but the biggest complaint I had with the class was I couldn’t figure out the rhythm of the ride because it didn’t go with the music.
Amount of times I wanted to barf: None, but that’s probably bc I’m so fit now.
General attractiveness of other attendees: I left work a little early after a rough week so I was able to hit an early class on a Friday. I know that’s not a popular time so I’m not going to judge attractiveness levels bc the sample size was too small. I will say I saw some Grade-A prime hot dudes walking into the room for the class after mine. I’ll be attending that class when I go back.
Laugh to pain ratio: My butt and leg muscles were tired, but it was the dull pain that just lingers. No sharp horrible stuff.
The climb the stairs test: This isn’t fair because I never do this anyway.
Amount of “I deserve this” snacking: After class I went to a German sausage place with fries and a million dipping sauces and drank three beers, so you do the math.
Number of times I casually told someone that I went to spin last night: I went on a Friday and unfortunately no one I hang out with on the weekend cares about my healthy lifestyle so bragging is kept to a minimum.
OVERALL RATING ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10: 7/10 I added in an extra point for how awesome and nice everyone is there. A girl brought her friends in for her birthday and they gave them all birthday shots after class. There’s just an awesome camaraderie there. LOVE U GUYS U ARE TRUE SWEET FRIENDS.
Overall bun feel: This was my first spin class in months and that seat is ROUGH on the buns. Sitting in any capacity was rough for a few days.
Instructor ab count: 100 abs – give or take a few.
Did I bring enough water: I had about 3.5 minutes to tear off my 19 winter layers, throw on gym clothes, and figure out how to clip in so I forgot my water. Death was certain.
Playlist (unce unce unce factor): A little too unce unce unce for me. At one point the instructor openly admitted to “not really liking Beyonce” which is an alternate version of “not really liking ice cream” that I just will never understand.
Amount of times I wanted to barf: Barf free baby (admittedly this was partially because I didn’t push myself as hard as I should have because I knew I didn’t have water).
General attractiveness of other attendees: The only thing worse than a gym full of hot Manhattanites is a spin class full of hot Williamsburgites. So fit. So trendy. So much Lululemon.
Laugh to pain ratio: In pain in my bod brain (this didn’t work out as well I hoped). My body was definitely sore but my arms were the worst. How are those tiny weights so effective?
The climb the stairs test: I hit at least 8 sets of stairs on my way to work and by day 2 I looked like a baby deer taking her first timid steps.
Amount of “I deserve this” snacking: I felt so good that I think I ate kale.
Number of times I casually told someone that I went to spin last night: I mostly talked about the candles. HOW U SMELL SO GOOD SOULCYCLE?
OVERALL RATING ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10: 8/10 Great class. I still don’t understand how it can smell that good in a tiny room of sweaty adults. One point off because the bikes are so tight that I’m reminded of how much I need to lose weight when I have to somersault through. Another point off because that changing room gives me severe anxiety. I would have taken another point off because of the Bey incident but I left it on because I love how dark and sexy it was and the check in/shoe rental is so damn efficient.
Overall bun feel: My buns were still reeling from SoulCycle but it barely mattered because I spent about 98% of the class out of the seat.
Instructor ab count: DAMN. Moses taught the entire class in his underwear and while I thought this would be distracting, I was so focused on not falling off of my bike I barely noticed.
Did I bring enough water: I was pretty close to barf city the entire time so no. Not enough water.
Playlist (unce unce unce factor): Unreal. The playlist killed and Moses basically instructs the entire to the tune of the music so I spent the first 30 seconds trying to figure out what I was listening to. So good.
Amount of times I wanted to barf: 45 minutes worth of swallow, drink, don’t barf, repeat. The entire class is highly choreographed and your arms never stop moving.
General attractiveness of other attendees: Remember that scene in She’s All That when all of the students know every single move to an intricately choreographed dance? That’s how this class was and I was the outlier so focused on not falling off my bike that I barely noticed the other people
Laugh to pain ratio: 2 pain, 2 furious. I’ve never felt that feeling in my arms before.
The climb the stairs test: WOOF.
Amount of “I deserve this” snacking: Still on that kale kick.
Number of times I casually told someone that I went to spin last night: My roommate went the night before me so I asked her if she liked it – keep in mind this was her first spin class of all time and she is charmingly uncoordinated – she responded that it was “45 minutes of every single thing she hated most in the world.”
OVERALL RATING ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10: 7/10 because fast pedaling + coordination + only standing was rough on the ol’ bod. Definitely some intense cardio. The studio was awesome though because they only have spin, yoga, and strength training so I also took a yoga class the night before (I bought a 2 week pass) and it was awesome. A couple points off because of the “She’s All That” conundrum. Seriously, how did every single person know the moves?
Overall bun feel: This was probably the most comfortable of all of the seats and was by far my favorite bike.
Instructor ab count: I’m trying a new religion and Natalie Ortiz is my leader. She’s crazy engaged with the class, looks like she has never skipped a gym day in her life, and used to dance on tour with Kanye. I mean – she put up with Yeezy and is a mega babe? Hero.
Did I bring enough water: I used up my entire bottle but it doesn’t matter because Flywheel has FREE water bottles and a bottle filling station. I made it RAIN with water (sorry California).
Playlist (unce unce unce factor): Hello Kanye x The XX mashup. I love you.
Amount of times I wanted to barf: I had to literally ring out my shirt at the end of class because I sweat so much. I felt a little barfy but I was loving it so much that I didn’t notice.
General attractiveness of other attendees: There was a really good mix of out of normal looking people and mega athletes which made me feel at home (obviously amongst the mega athletes because HELLO I AM FIT lololol).
Laugh to pain ratio: Ya girl was sore for a few days after this one. The arm workouts are especially trying because you use a weighted bar and it gets heavy quick. My coworkers had the pleasure of hearing me complain every time I took a step or moved my arms which was actually not that much because I like to live a life of leisure.
The climb the stairs test: I don’t know if it was in my head but since this was my third class in a week, I actually felt like my legs were getting stronger. Still hurt like a bitch to take the stairs though.
Amount of “I deserve this” snacking: I was so beat that I think I actually skipped dinner. This is like the fourth time in my life I’ve done this if that’s any indication of how tired I was.
Number of times I casually told someone that I went to spin last night: Too many. I seriously couldn’t stop talking about how much I liked this class. Also the first class is free which is basically my dream as a Jewess who hates to work out.
OVERALL RATING ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10: 10/10 which I didn’t think was possible but I actually really enjoyed this class. On a scale of things I hate to things I like, working out normally falls right below going to the gynecologist and right above nails on a chalkboard so it is very rare for me to actually enjoy health inspired physical activity. This was probably one of the best workouts of my life because I loved the instructor, the music was rad, the room is comfortable, and the stadium seating makes it easier to focus on the instructor instead of other people in class. Also I always feel like I’m not pushing myself enough so the little screen that measures torque and RPM helped me stay on track the entire time. Did I mention the free bobby pins, hair ties, and mints? That’s definitely the stuff dreams are made of. I opted out of putting my name on the competitive leaderboard but because it’s technically anonymous, I’m definitely going to do it next time. I love you Natalie!
Overall bun feel: Underwater bicycle + Speedo + chaffing made this probably the most uncomfortable of all of the seats. My buns were not happy.
Instructor ab count: Tori was super nice before and after the class but I got some serious drill sergeant vibes during class. Not my favorite vibe.
Did I bring enough water: I couldn’t figure out where to put my water (the class is literally in a pool) so I didn’t bring my bottle. It was pretty refreshing to be submerged to my mid-chest during the entire class. Also, bonus points for knowing that at any point if I really wanted to I could freely pee during the class. I didn’t. I promise.
Playlist (unce unce unce factor): Meh. A little too “top hits of 2014” for my liking.
Amount of times I wanted to barf: None. I was too focused on trying to pedal underwater and keep my bike from shaking to get a really good workout.
General attractiveness of other attendees: The class was all female which was great because I’m not trying to flaunt my Speedo clad bod to any fit dudes.
Laugh to pain ratio: My lower arms hurt because I could not figure out how to getting into second and third position without putting half of my body weight on the handle bars. I ended up spending almost half of the class sitting because ironically I could not fluidly pedal and feel like I was getting any benefit from it.
The climb the stairs test: No pain but I did get a little dizzy when I got out of the pool. Going from cycling in the water to walking on land had me trippin’ boo.
Amount of “I deserve this” snacking: Grabbed a pool float and pina colada and spent the next 2 hours floating around. Nah.
Number of times I casually told someone that I went to spin last night: I love any opportunity to tell someone I did “the weirdest thing ever last night” and this was pretty high up there on weird workouts
OVERALL RATING ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10: 5/10. This was my least favorite spin class. I didn’t feel inspired by the instructor and while I love to swim, the bike didn’t feel steady and I couldn’t focus on the workout. I showered there after class, didn’t look in the mirror, and got home to see that I had ridden the train looking like a raccoon eyed, wet haired monster of a human. V cute.
Overall bun feel: This was my 5th class so my spin-butt-callus is getting really tough. JUST KIDDING SINGLE MEN MY BUNS ARE SO SMOOTH AND WONDERFUL.
Instructor ab count: Lil’ bb Coleman was adorable. He told me I did “such a great job” on my way out and I wanted to sweaty squeeze hug him.
Did I bring enough water: All good. The class was tough but I chugged water all day and felt great.
Playlist (unce unce unce factor): An enthusiastic “WHO HERE LOVES THE NEW COLDPLAY” almost scared me off but the music was fun and honestly who doesn’t love Chris Martin after that Carpool Karaoke?
Amount of times I wanted to barf: Only once when Coleman asked if anyone remembered the All American Rejects and when no one answered (hello, I’m busy) he said “guess I’m just so much younger than you!” Coleman. For shame.
General attractiveness of other attendees: A normal bunch. The studio is brand new so there were only about 10 people in a room with 50+ bikes. Also one girl biked wearing a flat top and just the thought of it made me sweat uncontrollably.
Laugh to pain ratio: This was my fifth class in two weeks and I was seriously feeling how much stronger I was getting. Am I…healthy?
The climb the stairs test: Definitely felt this one. I am becoming more comfortable on the bike so I think the benefits are really starting to become apparent.
Amount of “I deserve this” snacking: I met my cousin for dinner right after class and had my fair share of I deserve this dinner, I deserve this whiskey, and I deserve this very expensive Uber home to Brooklyn.
Number of times I casually told someone that I went to spin last night: One of my friends texted me earlier in the night to tell me a five year old was eating Cheez-Its and running faster than her on the treadmill next to her so this fun fact overshadowed my class.
OVERALL RATING ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10: 7/10. The class was ok but the tracking screen was confusing, the locker room was tiny, and the music left a little to be desired. Bonus points for Malin + Goetz in the showers and free shoe rental. Also there are disco balls which I LOVED. Some serious ‘90’s sleepover flashbacks when those turned on.
Happy spinning Strugglers! ❤