Exercise can be two things: unifying and polarizing. When you find a buddy that loves aerial yoga or bootcamp as much as you do, it’s a blessing. But when you attend your girlfriend’s favourite aerobics class and you know you’re going to hate it, it’s a serious reminder that not all forms of exercise were created equal.
So, when Equinox invited us to take part in their new spin class, The Pursuit, it seemed obvious that the two most oppositely-active people take part.
The gym itself is gorgeous. Instagram-worthy, in fact (which is the highest of all high praise). The equipment is shiny and plentiful. The gym even has those enormous ropes that are supposed to help with I-don’t-know-what, but look cool as hell. The place is spacious enough that elbows won’t ever touch and there’s enough room for a dedicated stretching area (where I will probably lie down after class).
I’m always wary going into instructor-led classes. Visions of bootcamp trainers telling me that my 100% is not worth the floor I’m sweating on, dance in my head. Luckily, our instructor understood physical limits and told us to do our best. He checked in frequently with us newbies and even offered to refill water bottles that are close to empty. AKA, an angel in stretchy shorts.
The music was possibly my favourite part about the class. The volume (loud) and the beats (pulsating) were exactly what I needed to motivate me. I only wished that every now and then a Top 40 song would play. I was wearing a Beyoncé shirt for a reason: she pushes me to live my best life and if I could have sung along to Freedom, I know I would have won every damn race*.
The Pursuit is set up in such a way that you almost forget how long you need to pedal for. The class is broken down into three 10-minute cycles, with everyone’s progression shown on a screen at the front. Each cycle is a friendly competition to hit the most miles, climb the most hills, and win the race. Normally, I don’t respond well to competition (I’m that “As long as everyone has fun, everybody wins” person everyone hates), but seeing my advancements right in front of my eyes really kept me pushing.
Locker rooms are gleaming white and offer all the amenities I wish I had at home: a steam room, scented towels, spacious shower stalls, and bowls of razors on every counter.
* Probably not.
Even if you haven’t stepped foot into an Equinox fitness centre, you can surely imagine how posh it is. Between their notoriously racy ad campaigns and the seemingly constant drip of Instagram photos taken from the inside, the brand’s image is strong. Needless to say, I was not disappointed by the sleek interior, and finally understood why this gym is so popular on social media.
Our instructor was a sinewy young man with great hair. Sorry, that’s all I’ve got. Kidding. He was extremely pumped for his class to begin and quite attentive, going so far as to refill our water bottles half-way through the thirty-minute class. He also approached the class in an non- “I’m-trying-to-convert-you” kind of way. You know, like, non-threatening?
I may only be in my twenties, but I’ve got the volume sensitivity of a veteran librarian. I really wanted to turn the thumping and blaring down. Sure, the beats were in tune with my racing heartbeat, but do we need to blow our eardrums out? Did I mention I’m not built for high octane exercise?
I think I’ve made it clear that this kind of workout is not for me, but in all honesty, The Pursuit surprised me. The class is broken down into three, ten-minute sections that function as games which, while it’s meant to motivate you à la healthy competition, also helped pass the time immensely. Riding hard for ten minutes is way easier to swallow than riding hard for an hour straight. Another added component to The Pursuit is the digital leaderboard, which is connected to each and every bike’s performance and displayed at the front of the class. The majority of my classmates seemed driven by their standing, but I quickly accepted my place at the bottom because unlike most spin classes, where every minute is guided by the instructor, The Pursuit puts you in control. The idea is to go hard and go fast, whichever way you see fit. I applied this mantra liberally.
Following the ride, we grabbed chilled Eucalpytus-infused towels to inhale and cool down with. These are a major key. The steam room and sauna called, but I had to run, passing an equally inviting smoothie bar on my way out.