Spinning at Wheelhouse Cycle pretty much pulled me out of my fitness rut this spring – thank God. After two back-to-back trips to Barbados, let’s just say I had put on some rum punch weight.
I also take wintertime to slack off fitness-wise. I just can’t seem to drag my butt to the gym through blizzards, bitingly-cold temperatures and/or freezing rain. Something about changing out of your nice warm clothes and then working up a sweat, then dashing to the car while your eyelashes and nose hairs freeze just doesn’t work for me, you know?
That fear of the cold coupled with a little laziness (and chili, and hot chocolate by the litre annnnnd other comfort foods) leads to the pesky 5-10 lbs that I gain every year. So yeah, instead of maintaining all year long like a sane person, I ramp up the fitness regime right before cottage season starts.
I’m a runner first and foremost, but a few months ago, I rediscovered my love of spinning. It stems from the true love I feel for my trusty bike. I feel free when I go for a bike ride…hitting those trails or gliding down the bike paths lining the Arboretum just speaks to my soul. And nothing pleases me more than exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise. I don’t care what anyone says. Busting out squats with the Smith Machine and climbing to nowhere fast on the Stairclimber ain’t my idea of a fun workout.
That’s where Wheelhouse Cycle comes in. When I met with Nadine, co-owner of this popular spinning spot located in the heart of Wellington Street West, I knew this was going to be good. I wanted to get back into spinning because I wanted a lower impact workout that wouldn’t flare up my bum hamstring, and I wanted to do something fun!
Meeting with Nadine was awesome. This bright and cheerful lady who was quick to smile was pretty damn inspiring. She opened Wheelhouse with her friend Heather after growing tired of a career in big pharma. Feeling a little unfulfilled, she took up teaching yoga while writing a book. Can you say “go-getter”? It was actually Heather who called her up and asked if she would be interested in partnering up to open a spinning studio in Ottawa. After all, there was nothing in Ottawa like Wheelhouse at the time. They wanted to create something fun and inspiring with a community atmosphere, so both women looked to one of their favourite spinning studios, OneCycle in Calgary, for inspiration for building the studio of their dreams.
I asked Nadine why she chose the name “Wheelhouse“. I had to ask as “that’s not really in my wheelhouse” is a favourite saying of my husband’s. Nadine admitted that she and Heather thought of names for a few weeks and weren’t really coming up with anything. One day, Heather was telling Nadine of a particularly great spinning class she had and said that she “felt like she was really in her wheelhouse”. Boom. They had their name.
Nadine invited me to try out a few classes and I was excited to get my spin on. I signed up for my first class and headed to the studio after work. I thought I got there early as I really wanted to secure a cycle right at the front of the class. This is mainly because I’m uncoordinated and need to keep my eye on the instructor. Well, I was struck at how packed the lobby was! I was there waiting for the class to start with about 20-25 other excited spinners. Another thing that struck me was that they all knew each other and all stopped to say hi to Nadine, our instructor of the day. That was a really awesome sign! Here was a group of people that became a sort of team – a group of people who had been spinning at Wheelhouse long enough to all become friends.
After I was fitted for my shoes and all set up on my bike by a friendly employee, the guy next to me must have sensed my anxiety (spinning tends to scare me a little) and reassured me that “I got this.” I really thought that was awesome. I really felt like I was part of the Wheelhouse community at that moment.
The class was KICK ASS. The beats were awesome and Nadine kept the pace jumping for the entire hour. She didn’t bark at us either or single out people who were riding a little slower than others (cough cough…me). She seemed like she was having a blast, as opposed to a drill sergeant hopped up on caffeine. I really enjoyed myself!! Crazy, right?
As I previously mentioned, this workout was lower impact for me than running. I didn’t want to aggravate an existing hamstring injury, so spinning was a great option. Don’t get me wrong though. This class will kick your ass. On top of hills, climbs, sprints and adjusting the bike’s resistance throughout the class, we also did an upper body workout with weights and had a good stretch once the class finished.
I left the studio after that class a soggy, sweaty girl…but a soggy, sweaty girl that felt a 1000 lbs lighter and full of team spirit. I felt energized and strong. And that night, I slept like a baby.
Are you a spinning fanatic? Ever try Wheelhouse Cycle? Let me know in the comments!
Wheelhouse Cycle is located at 1279 Wellington Street West, Ottawa, ON. You can reach them by calling (613) 404-4099 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Wheelhouse Cycle is also on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Give ’em a follow!
*A huge thank you to Nadine of Wheelhouse Cycle for inviting me to try some classes in exchange for my honest opinion. Go check out the studio. It was truly one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.