This is more of a post for my DC-based readers, but given that so many studios have outposts in cities across the nation, hopefully it’ll be somewhat useful for other people, too! I mentioned awhile back that I decided to use all of my ClassPass credits for spinning, as I really just enjoy it the most (one of my good guy friends texted me the other day saying that he had just taken a spin class back home, and I was ecstatic to have converted someone else!). I’m a firm believer in tailoring your workout to match your needs and interests–just because everyone else is doing yoga, for example, doesn’t mean that you have to wake up at the crack of dawn to go to that must-try class.
Since I’ve now gone to each of these studios at least twice, I thought I’d share my views on them (and note: I’m by no means an expert when it comes to the actual class…I do NOT “score” as high as most people in the classes that display your stats, but I almost feel like that makes the post even more useful/relatable?!). I don’t love the competitive aspect of some classes, which I’ll get into below (my tagline seriously has become, “Everything in life is competitive–why should your workout be?!”), but I still have a blast regardless–at least most of the time!
Here’s a roundup of some of the regional studios I’ve tried, in no particular order. Note that I’m leaving out SoulCycle (my fave!) because it isn’t available on ClassPass, and I’m also not touching on Flywheel because it’s so common and there’s so much out there about it already!
I LOVE this studio (they have a branch in NYC, too!). I started going because it was somewhat convenient for me when I worked in McLean, and I also had come across a great deal for a pack of classes thanks to Groupon. (Trust me: even if you’d never use Groupon for anything else, check out their workout class offerings periodically. Same thing with Gilt City–you can find some great deals!).
Pros: Amazing themed rides. I’m talking Beyonce, Eminem, Lil’ Wayne vs. Kanye…yessss. For me, music can truly make or break a workout. I’ve been to too many Flywheel classes where the instructor decides to play some slow, new age-y “thoughtful” song during a hill and it. is. so. boring. If I’m going to be doing a difficult workout, I’d rather be distracted by good music (or at least be able to rap along, let’s be real) rather than dreading what song might come next.
Cons: You have to pay a shoe rental fee, even when you visit on ClassPass. But that’s common at many places. Also, it’s right next door to the most DELICIOUS SMELLING bakery ever. Seriously, sometimes I walk in there just to smell/admire the baked goods (that sounded weird, but if you ever are in the area, go inside and you’ll see what I mean), and I have to exhibit tons of self control to walk out empty-handed. But yeah, there could be far worse cons!
This one was also convenient for me when I worked in Virginia and especially when I also was living in Georgetown, since it’s right off the Rosslyn metro (I’d pass through there on my way home anyway, so it made sense to squeeze in a workout!) and easy to access via the Key Bridge.
Pros: There’s a great “team” dynamic in the class rather than a feeling of competition. The classes always seem to go by quickly and the absolute BEST part is the cool, lavender-scented towels that are passed around at the end of each class. Seriously, I could rave about these forever.
Cons: I don’t feel like I’ve worked as hard here as I do at a place like Flywheel. The classes can seem a little slow-moving at times and there isn’t always that same feeling of energy that you may experience at bigger studios. Also, while it’s nice to be able to bring your own sneakers (not all of the bikes require you to clip in), there’s something about clipping in that makes it seem easier to move around and also feels more studio-y and less gym-like.
*Similar feel: Sculpt DC in Chinatown. I’m not writing a full review because I’ve only attended one class so far, but it’s also a bring your own shoes place. I didn’t get the memo, but thankfully the staff found a pair of spin shoes on hand that I could borrow for class! They were half a size too small but I graciously accepted them because I didn’t want to miss my workout (or lose that ClassPass credit!). The music was good and the class was small but not depressingly so, making for an enjoyable post-work, Monday night workout.
I’ve only been to the NOMA location, but there’s also a CycleBar studio on Columbia Pike. I discovered this one through Groupon over the summer and while I always enjoyed the classes there, it’s a little more out of the way for me (surprisingly, Arlington is often a cheaper Uber ride than other places within the city, and the studio isn’t very near a metro stop, either).
Pros: Lots of perks! Fruit, free reusable water bottles, and fun after class treats sold me right away. Weekend “brunch” rides are followed by free mimosas (they’re small but a nice way to end class!), and the studio is brand new and very clean and modern-looking.
Cons: If you don’t like the Torq board aspect of Flywheel, you’re likely not going to appreciate this atmosphere either. I really can’t tell what’s going on up on the screens because I’m blind and am not going to put my glasses on mid-spin class, but I think everyone’s bike number is up there, so there isn’t really an option to “opt out” of the rankings. Or maybe I’m just bitter because I always do terribly even when I feel like I’ve had a good workout, so there’s that. However, you’re the only one who knows how hard you worked and you’re (hopefully) doing the class for yourself, not to impress someone else, so it really shouldn’t matter…but like, talk about a bruised ego after class. 😉
It seems like everywhere I look I’m hearing about a new spin studio, so if you have any favorites that I’ve left off the list, let me know!