On Tuesday, I had some spare time in London, so tried out Psycle.
Psycle is a chain of spin studios, like Soul Cycle. Classes are £20 each, more than my monthly gym subscription until I cancelled it a few months ago. And the spin bikes are the same as the ones in that budget gym. I often wonder how people I follow on Instagram afford Barry’s Bootcamp / Psycle / all the various classes they attend on a seemingly daily basis, as there’s absolutely no way I could. But I had time I needed to fill, and 15 days of no running had me gagging for some cardio. As a newbie, there is a 2-4-1 offer, and given I live outside London so wasn’t sure when I’d be able to use the second class, and also had the time, I decided to go for it and do a double class: 17:00-17:45 with Joe and 18:00-18:45 with Zoe.
Generally I don’t do cardio in gyms as I have my swimming, cycling, and predominantly running for that, so only go for the strength and conditioning.
I also disapprove of pressups and bobbing around during spin classes. I think it’s detrimental to the work your legs could be doing, and to your form/posture, but also of less benefit to your upper body than just doing 40 mins of cycling then getting off and doing 5 mins proper pressups and weights at the end. But that’s not the Psycle ethos. The class is very choreographed, and I don’t think they’d like anyone out of time in the front row. At the start of my first class, Joe said something like “the most important thing is to stay on beat”, which of course is not really applicable to proper cycling, but if you forget about that and see it as an exercise class and just go with it….it was fun! The class is full of long thin girls with long hair, showcased dangling down their backs until the very last minute when they tie it up. The instructors have model good looks and are part DJ, part fitness instructor, part motivator. And motivating they are. There’s lots of whooping and shout outs “yeeeeah Psycle London” and “Tuesday 5 o clock!” It’s not for everyone, but an enthusiastic, and fit instructor who can be a role model is important to me for a class.
The class was hard; it was fun; I sweated. I liked the darkened room and the flashy lights. I can see it being a great start to the day before work, but can’t imagine going in the evening and trying to sleep right after being in such a rave atmosphere. There were indeed lots of push-ups on the handlebars, but also one dedicated track for upper body weights before the final cycling track.
So what do you get for £20?
Towels, sweat towels, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, hairdryers, and straighteners are provided. Shoes are also loaned. I took my own spd shoes, which I’ve worn a grand total of twice, and bought for spin classes as most studios require that type of cleat. But not Psycle – they use the Look Keo system, and I had left my two pairs of those bike shoes at home. However, the shoes I was loaned were comfortable, smelled relatively innocuous and looked relatively new. And the benefit of not having to carry much to a class with you is huge. Too bad I lugged two pairs of shoes, two pairs of towels and a pile of toiletries redundantly around London all day! The changing rooms are modern and clean, the hair products are nice and the showers are the type you turn on when you want and off when you want, not like where the water pressure turns to a dribble and you have to press the “go” button again every 5 seconds. As I say, the bikes are the same as at my budget gym, but it’s really the instructors that make the place.
It feels a bit cliquey, so much “hiya babes” which isn’t me, and the regulars seem to both put the instructors on pedestals like celebs but also treat them like bffs. I think he’s calling you “babes” babes cos he can’t remember your name and calls everyone that! Oooof, I’m mean. The music is recognisable, but lots of remixes and not your usual sing along spin class style.
Would I go again?
Yes, occasionally. But there’s no way I could justify it being my regular exercise routine at £20 a pop even if I did live in London.