Tuesday 1 November 2016

Taking BOOM Cycle for a Spin – Padded Altura Cycling Shorts Came Too!

Bike. Beats. Boom: a three-word summary of my last dose of virgin fitness.

I’m on a mission to spread my fitness wings. I’ve been wedded to the gym ever since I first started exercising seriously in my early 20s, going four times a week pretty much, and switching things up in recent years by working with a personal trainer.

At the tail end of last year, I decided it was time to broaden my horizons, branch out, and experience other forms of fitness too - we can all become a little too comfortable in our routines!

To that end, in recent months I’ve tried barre fitness, Insanity, Speedflex, yoga, bootcamp, circuits and just a few weeks back… indoor cycling (or spin if you prefer). 

But this wasn’t your typical gym-based spin class, this was BOOM Cycle: bespoke studios for spin enthusiasts in the city of London (there’s one in Holborn and another in Shoreditch). It generated quite the buzz when its doors first opened a few years back. 

What is it?

BOOM Cycle is a full-body workout on a bike. The lights are low (very low, the room almost pitch black), the sound system booming and riders pump to the beats sitting, standing, leaning over the handlebars, arching sideways, lifting  dumbbells above your ahead and down by your sides.

It’s high-energy, uplifting, fat-busting cardio (expect to burn between 400-600 calories during an average spin class)… and things get rather sweaty. Many in-gym spin classes have since followed the format.

One thing that continues to make BOOM Cycle different is the bespoke element – it’s purely a cycling studio, playlists are carefully selected (you can check out individual instructor’s tunes here), and there’s a health bar on-tap for that post-workout, high-protein smoothie.

My 30-minute class was a bloggers special, hosted by Altura Cycling, makers of performance cycling clothing. I was grateful for this as the first thing they did was kit us out in proper indoor cycling gear, namely a pair of Altura Peloton Progel shorts and an Altura Peloton short sleeve jersey.

While new to spin class, I’ve been doing up to 20 minutes of cardio at the end of a weight-training session for years, and often I’ll hop on to one of the gym’s spin bikes -  a regular gym bike is a stationary ride from the waist up and rather dull by comparison! But after you’ve been pedal pushing for a bit, your bum can (and does) get rather sore.

The thing about the Altura shorts is that they come with a padded bottom- and I mean padded (it looks and feels like having a seat cushion sewn-in). Next up the jersey. This is made from a special fabric that’s engineered to wick excess moisture away from the skin. If you spin regularly, perhaps you’ve already invested in such attire?

Our instructor for the session was Naomi, A BOOM Cycle resident. Once I’d mounted my bike it was a case of straight-in with the boom-boom, no messing – beats on, pedals spinning furiously and workout resistance levels rising.

Naomi is the sort of instructor you hope for: full of smiles, encouragement and motivational ‘shout-outs’ – no glaring looks if you feel yourself flagging.  At no point was there pressure to crank up the difficulty level or follow a particular move, though it’s impossible not to get swept along with it all.

As to the soundtrack, I was so focused on what I was doing that I can’t remember particular drops beyond recalling a slower Rhianna number during a cool down moment. But according to Naomi’s playlist she’s known for her hip hop beats and RnB rhythm from the likes of Chris Brown, Justin Bieber and Craig David – oh and she loves of a bit of old school garage too!

BOOM Cycle costs £16 per ride or £105 for one month of unlimited rides (various loyalty schemes are available too). More info here. More on Altura Cycling here.

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