Indoor Cycling


CLASS FEE: $30. AVERAGE BURN: 500 calories. COST PER CALORIE: 6¢. (Photograph by JJ Miller)


By Cate Brinch, Owner, Recycle Studio

I first discovered indoor cycling because I was looking for a workout that, well, wasn’t running. I’m injury prone, and running never really gave me that “cardio high” I was seeking anyway. Then I took a SoulCycle class and was sold from day one. Indoor cycling is an ageless workout. Because it’s low impact, you can do it at 18 and you can do it at 80. It’s not the same thing as spin. In fact, what happens here is not even close to your average gym spin class. Spinning was meant to be an outdoor ride mimicked on an indoor bike. It’s basic hills and sprints—a focused, leg-only workout. Indoor cycling, though, features choreography that works the whole body. Classes also target arms and abs, and not just as an afterthought. The choreography and the music keep you mentally engaged, so you’re never bored. The best part is when all of the riders are in sync, sweating together to tempo to create an energy unmatched by any other group class out there.

People always want to know why they should pay more to cycle with me, or at any other specialty studio, and I’m happy to tell them. It’s about quality. We spend countless hours training our instructors in the style, art, and evolution of indoor cycling. At the gym, it’s just another class on the schedule. I compare it to buying sushi from the supermarket versus a sushi restaurant. Which do you prefer? —As told to Melissa Malamut

Recycle Studio,

Do You…Do Pilates?

Pilates engages the “powerhouse”—the abdominals, lower back, pelvic floor, and hips—but overlooks cardio. Burning calories in cycling will help better define those Pilates arms.

Ultimate Accessory

High-performance and slick enough to turn heads in a darkened room.

Specialized S-Works XC cycling shoes, $400,

What You’ll Get

Glutes, arms, thighs.

How You’ll Pay

Wrists, posture, hips. (Hip flexor irritation from repeated movements.)


Spring’s biggest fitness rivalry: SoulCycle vs. Flywheel

Tucked in a desolate corner of the Pru, national chain Flywheel Sports opened its indoor cycling studio in October. In March, boutique-cycling studio SoulCycle will bring its famous yellow bikes to Chestnut Hill. Use this guide to decide which cult chain to choose.

The Background

SoulCycle: The original studio opened in New York City in 2006.

Flywheel: In 2010, SoulCycle cofounder Ruth Zukerman left to create Flywheel with investors including former NFL star Tiki Barber.

The Lay of the Land

SoulCycle: Takes “packed class” to another level by cramming up to 70 bikes in one flat room.

Flywheel: All Flywheel studios have stadium seating, so you can see the instructor, and while you’re still packed in, you’re less likely to get an elbow to the eye during arm exercises.

The Tunes

SoulCycle: Both brands use really loud, pumped-up music—earplugs are available at the front desk by request—on playlists mostly created by the instructors, but…

Flywheel: …Flywheel employs an in-house DJ, New York City–based Scott Melker, who custom-curates playlists.

The Competition

SoulCycle: Rooms are candlelit “to create a non-intimidating sanctuary,” and you are your biggest competition.

Flywheel: Offers the Torqboard, which “lets” you measure your performance against the rest of the class.

The Perks

SoulCycle: Rental shoes are available for $3 a pair.

Flywheel: Offers free shoe rental, free water, and free lockers.

Check out more of our winter fitness package, “Stronger, Faster, Dirtier.”