Sweat It Out: SPINCO Toronto

Work | Sweat | Achieve

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A couple weeks back I was invited to check out a class at Toronto’s newest cycling studio, SPINCO. SPINCO, a studio with locations in Kelowna and Victoria, has opened it’s doors at 2577 Yonge Street, across the street from Barreworks and a few blocks North of Eglinton.

The outdoor facade of the studio is very simple, and the space is narrow and long. When you enter the studio you walk by a wall of merchandise including a limited collection of tanks, sweaters, and hoodies by the Peace Collective declaring that Canadians Spin Better, and we know that’s the truth. And then you’ll find yourself at the registration desk.

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The staff were friendly and welcoming. The bikes use LOOK clips, which is different from most (all?) boutique spin studios here in TO which use SPD or have a combination of the two for the pedal clips, but the good news is they provide the shoes in your class fee.

SPINCO offers a class style that is “full body” and includes intervals of weight training with weights and body weight while riding the bike. It is important to note that while this form of indoor cycling is all the rage right now in both Canada and the United States, it is controversial in the indoor cycling industry and for a few reasons (rider safety, rider biomechanics, integrity of cycling) is spoken against by the Indoor Cycling Association. The music was a motivating combination of top 40, and pumped at the perfect level to be inspired without blasting out your ear drums.

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Photo by SPINCO

The studio space has a mirrored wall and creative lights on the ceiling which can be turned on in various combinations which was done throughout the class. There was also a strobe light that was turned on at random internals. Branded towels were provided on the bikes upon arrival and bikes were cleaned by staff following the ride.

SPINCO has some of the best bikes in the city, the Schwinn AC Performance Plus with Carbon Blue. The ride is so smooth with a real to the road feeling. The bikes have a variety of built in hand positions in the handlebars, two water bottle holders (which in this class were used to hold the 1, 2, or 3 lbs weights), as well as fore-aft adjustable in both the seat and handlebars for the perfect fit for each rider.

The studio also contains showers and washrooms within the change room and common self locking lockers in the hallway.

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Photo by SPINCO

Prices at SPINCO are slightly above the Toronto market price with a single class being purchased for $25, however class passes fall back into the range of $22-$17 per class depending on the packages.

This space is great and if full body rides are your thing, I definitely suggest you check them out. Plus the first class is free until October 31st!

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Studio Review: MuseMovement

Last week I was invited by Keri O’Mera, former Misfit and movement therapy specialist, to check out Toronto’s newest Pilates studio, founded by Keri, MuseMovement.

photo 5(2)MuseMovement is located in a former school, now the Artscape Youngplace building, a community cultural hub in the Queen West-Ossington neighbourhood. When I first entered the building I felt as though I had been transported to NYC. The use of space, maintenance of old architecture, and connection to the community was simple outstanding.

Located on the second floor, MuseMovement  resides in a warm, light-filled, converted classroom. The open concept space maintains the original 1914 school charm while providing opportunity for both mat work and Pilates reformer machine work.

Keri basis her teaching on the motto “Move your body, move your mind, move your heart”, a quote which comes from her own experience with the transformative power of mobility and is on display inside the studio.

Move Your Body.

photo 4(3)The class I took was a classic Reformer class. 60 minutes on a Pilates reformer machine, think a sliding bed with springs which add different resistance levels to the sliding part. I had just finished a 20km run prior to the class, and while I was excited for the experience I wasn’t excited for the work (aka pain from my muscles already being so fatigued).

We assumed our first position on the reformer which was face up lying on our backs we warmed up and spine and I made note of the fact my lower spine wasn’t moving much – something I had been aware of for the past couple of weeks. The great thing about using a reformer is that is provides a full body workout which is healthy for your joints, and increases your heart rate while building strength. The reformer machine adds personally selected weight and resistance to your Pilates workout but also supports developing range of motion and is a whole lot of fun. Keri took us through the 60 minute class and by the end my stiff spine felt ooey and gooey loose. The mobility sequences definitely opened by hips, lengthened my hamstrings, and had a positive impact on the range of motion of my lower back.

Move Your Mind.

photo 3(6)Keri is a self-professed anatomy nerd and it’s obvious. Her instructional cues and teaching prompts are filled with technical anatomical language that will only leave you smarter and more self aware as you exit the classroom. Her attention to form and alignment allows her to support the needs and levels of all participants and makes movement a great place for beginners as well as those looking for a deeper experience.

Move Your Heart.

photo 1(8)MuseMovement is a community space clearly filled with love. Keri herself is overflowing with gratitude for the opportunity to share her once home business with the greater community, and by simple entering the unique studio space you will feel that passion and joy she brings to her teaching.

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If you’re looking for community based Pilates studio with small class sizes and personalized service MuseMovement is for you. Ranging from the low rate of $17 for a mat class, and $31 for a reformer (mat rate is FAR below city trend, and reformer is right on par) the experienced and flexible instructors will create a movement experience tailored to your individual needs and wants.

Keri and her team have a special event planned for yogis interested in Pilates. Details below.

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Studio Review: Fitwall Leaside

On Wednesday, with some of my fit friends in tow, I headed to Fitwall Leaside, a new fitness studio which utilizes the Fitwall’s Vertical Training System to focus on increasing muscular strength, coordination, balance, and core stability. The Fitwall was designed to incorporate as many muscles in single movements as possible and does so by moving exercises from the horizontal plane to the vertical plane. Think squats and mountain climbers while rock climbing!

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The Studio

Located a few blocks South of Eglinton on Bayview, Fitwall is on the second floor in the heart of Bayview village. You’ll find plenty of street parking available, both for pay at the meters or for free throughout the residential community. Fitwall is a 2,000 square foot studio with shared washrooms with a spa on the same floor, no showers or change rooms, but plenty of bag storage in a visible area of the studio. 10 Fitwall units are spaced with plenty of room to move around the studio. Each unit also contains a TV which can be connected with your heart rate monitor to monitor your exertion rate throughout the 30 minute class. Towels were also provided during and after class.

1376571_650271208327110_410973976_nMy Experience

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this class. I had heard of Fitwall through social media but didn’t really know what we would be doing or exactly how we would be using the wall. To be honest, if you’re interested, the best way is to check it out for yourself (See bottom of my post for an awesome Fitwall deal). We were sweaty and the next day we were all sore.

The 30 minute class is spent performing 30 second intervals of different strength and cardio activities using the Fitwall and its various attachments including a push up bar and resistance tubing attached to your ankles. The instructors model the moves in between and Jenn and Jon were great at clarifying and providing safety cues as required. For a few days after my lats were feeling very sore and it is safe to say the muscles in my back and arms got a workout that they hadn’t had in a while as a result of the vertical direction of training.

The experience of vertical training was definitely new to me and I, like most newbies, found myself holding a continuous “death grip” on the wall. I have been rock climbing once, so the action of gripping the wall led my hands and forearms to be quite sore as the class progressed. Like many new experiences, I don’t doubt that after a few classes, as strength is built in my arms, and I have a better understanding of how the movements are performed that this feeling will go away – similar to a sore butt during a spin class – eventually as your body adjusts parts of the class get easier.

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The Cost

The cost for each class is not easy to find on their website. They sell class packages versus single drop in class options which is an interesting idea. As a fitness professional I like it because in order to notice a change you need to be at it more consistently than a drop in. However I also wonder how many people are turned away by this commitment. Monthly packages start at $100, under $20 a session and although they are sold “monthly” can be carried over If not used.

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Conclusion

I had a fun time trying out this new workout. We all experienced a serious sweaty cardio effect from the strength training and intervals and we were all feeling it the next day, especially in our arms and back. If you are looking for something new to not only challenge your strength but coordination and balance, I definitely suggest you grab a monthly package and hit the Fitwall!

And to make it easier to use your body as the machine Fitwall is offering free trial classes for my fitness community – so mention my blog and sweat for free! Thanks Fitwall!