Cardio is probably one of my least favorite fitness activities. While I do participate in a ton of runs and races (preferably un-timed), I still haven’t found that soft spot in my heart for it that so many of my friends have. It’s more like love-hate. With that said, before I checked out a couple of cycling classes at Terlingo Cycle, I had never taken a cycling class. I never thought I could actually get through it, but I did. Cycling at Terlingo Cycle and coming out feeling like a million bucks is probably one of my favorite experiences so far while exploring fitness classes in Dallas.
First Impression: Woohoo! Large parking lot! Looking for parking gives me anxiety, so I’m glad that wasn’t a hassle. The studio is very beautiful and the staff is super nice. My first taste of cycling was during the SIX:02 media event from a few weeks back (read about it here), but considering that was a media event, I didn’t think it was the pure Terlingo experience. John Terlingo, the owner, was kind enough to invite me back to try his class for this review. After walking in, I couldn’t help but admire the set up. The studio isn’t very big at all and there is only one room where the actual class takes place. It can accommodate up to 40 bikes. I was immediately greeted by the staff and they definitely took care of me. As a newbie, I was really glad they got me all set up with shoes, adjusting my bike to fit my height (short people problems) and getting my feet locked in on the bike. They also help me familiarize myself with the bike, the resistance nobs, how to brake and how to get in and out of the bike. Regulars already know the drill and I saw many of them adjust their own bikes and begin their warm up before the class.
The Class: The cycling classes are rhythm based …
and is a combination of choreography, weights, and of course spinning your ass off. Before settling in, you would grab a towel (maybe two) and a pair of dumbbells and place them in the holder on your bike. I had the opportunity to take John Terlingo’s class and Jessica Watts who are both phenomenal. Their energy is infectious and very motivating. The great thing about the class is that they turn off the lights and leave a few well placed candles shimmering in the corners for ambiance. This takes away feelings of self-consciousness and the cloak of darkness was definitely welcomed since I wasn’t too confident I could keep up the entire time. The class is similar to HIIT where you would alternate from low resistance at a fast pace to a higher resistance at a slower pace to really get your heart pumping.
During both experiences, neither instructor told me to turn on my bike console and monitor my RPM as the class went on, but instead encouraged me to keep with the beat and rhythm. And if I couldn’t keep up with a count, just watch how fast his or her legs were moving on the bike and gauge it that way. It wasn’t too hard. John said the reason for this is to keep people engaged in the class and not focused on the number or becoming discouraged if they can’t keep up. I liked that I felt more involved with the experience and the movement.
Now, being rhythmically in-ept, I’m pretty sure I was off beat the whole time, but I had so much fun just going with the movements. There isn’t pressure to be super synchronized, but to push yourself to your own limits. I did have to take a few breaks here and there and had moments where I got lost on the beat, but everyone around me is so pumped up, getting back into it wasn’t hard.
Moments where choreography come in is when they ask you to get out of the saddle while peddling and do movements similar to push ups or quickly tap your butt back in the seat. Sounds silly, but it was
my favorite part. It got my mind off cycling and it just felt really awesome being in sync with everyone. I definitely got into the groove of the beat and the song.
Toward the end, the weights are brought in to workout your arms while continuing to peddle. Finally, there is a last segment of speed cycling to burn even more calories before concluding the class with cool down stretches and meditation. I always appreciate classes that take the time to warm up and cool down attendees.
The Instructor: They are some serious badasses. John Terlingo is a senior master spinning instructor with over 10 years of experience training and teaching. He has a great following and opened the studio a little over a year ago in the Uptown (Oak Lawn Ave and Reagan St). Jessica Watts is gorgeous and I really enjoyed her class and she had a really great playlist I enjoyed (I want your playlist!!). The instructors are dubbed the TGo Tribe and operate under John’s philosophy on nurturing and guidance. When they say it’s about coming out, having fun to awesome music in a cande lit room with no judgement, I actually believe them. John is a fantastic instructor and you can tell he really enjoys teaching.
What I Loved: Finishing the class! Maybe I just don’t believe in myself much, but the fact that I really dug deep and was able to push myself harder made me realize I had more grit than I thought. I just emerged from the class so proud of myself and feeling accomplished. The music is pretty awesome and I just had such a great time. Based on how rewarding I felt after the class, I see why cycling can become addicting.
What I Disliked: Not knowing how to clip my shoe into the pedal. I tried. I really really tried. I just can’t get it.
Difficulty Level: Cycling in general I think is hard. You are constantly moving the entire time. For a beginner, it’ll take a few classes to build strength and endurance, but not everyone is going at the same pace so don’t be discouraged. If you need a quick break, take it. I sure did. The class isn’t 100% designed to fit everyone. The difficulty level is squishy, meaning it’s as hard as you want it to be. Trust me… when the instructor said to tap the resistance knob to the right for a higher resistance, I admit sometimes cheating and tapping that sucker in the other direction.
Who came: There is a good mix of men and women peddling their butts off.
The Aftermath: Could feel soreness in my legs (obviously) and upper back. Needed to do some additional stretching to work out the lactic acid in my muscles. All good though.
How to sign up: First class is $20 and drop-in classes after that are $25. You’ll have to call the studio for the first class so they can set you up. You can also purchase multiple passes all at once and have the option to schedule it out weeks to months in advance depending on the package you go with. This is pretty ideal for planning ahead considering some studios only let you schedule a week or so in advance. You can rent cycling shoes for $3 or actually buy them. Cancellation policy is 12 hours notice instead of the traditional 24 hour or 48 hour notice. I thought that was really convenient. After you’ve scheduled your class, you can actually reserve the bike you want at the studio. There are a total of 40 bikes per class and there are up to 5 different class times to choose from most days.
I would definitely recommend bringing a large jug of iced water. You are going to need it. Don’t bother bringing much with you. There are cubbies to put away your belongings, but I’d leave purses and stuff in the trunk.
The Takeaway: You are really doing work when you attend this class. The fact that it’s also so fun and motivating elevates the experience altogether. I am already looking forward to going back and bringing a few friends with me.