Bike & Beats – GymBox Westfield

As you may be able to tell, I love trying out classes at different gyms. And a sure-fire way of telling very quickly how good the general standard of the teaching is, is by taking a spinning class. Similar to sweet potato fries at a restaurant, spinning classes are found at almost all good gyms and are relatively good wherever you go. However, some are just the BEST – spinning classes aren’t supposed to be easy, but they’re not meant to be hellish either. Any instructor who can make a spinning class ‘fun’ is doing an amazing job – you leave feeling like you’ve really aced your workout and you deserve whatever delicious food you want for the next day.

The GymBox class ‘Bike and Beats’ is a class that uses something I’ve always found incredibly helpful when working out, especially when running or cycling: the beat of your cadence. The music for the class was fantastic, and was set by the instructor so that the cadence of the cycling was to the beat to the music. This has been shown in studies to increase endurance and decrease perceived effort in running, and it seems to have exactly the same effect in cycling.


Bike & Beats (photo from the GymBox website)

What sets this class apart from others I do, is the use of coloured lights on the front of the bikes – these change from white to blue, green, yellow and finally red as you pedal faster or turn up the resistance (i.e. increase your wattage). In addition, the lighting on the ceiling of the room matches the average lights of all the cyclists in the room – pretty cool right? The instructor for my class, Jason Mellars (@rhythmtrainer) took no prisoners – if anyone was below the desired wattage/colour, he would just repeatedly should ‘red! RED!’ etc. until everyone was working hard enough. I can imagine this isn’t for everyone, but for me, someone who works well when being pushed as hard as I can go, this was perfect!

In addition, the class works your entire body, not just your legs. We used our arms a lot, doing ‘push-up’ type exercises on the handlebars whilst spinning, which after a while was quite tiring for the arms. It also distracted my mind from how tough the actual spinning was, as I was having to concentrate on something else.

The class is 45 minutes long, which considering I felt like I was going to vomit/die at 20 minutes in, felt too long, but thankfully the hard cycling only lasted around 30-35 minutes, before a cool-down and stretch (ever so important!).

Good for:

  • Cyclists and anyone who’s legs need a real workout
  • Cardio bunnies
  • Anyone looking to increase both endurance and power
  • People who struggle to motivate themselves on their own workouts
  • Anyone who wants a short but intense session that works your entire body

Less good:

  • For me, it was perfect, but anyone who doesn’t enjoy shouted motivation may find this a bit much
  • People who are less fit. I struggled. Everyone struggled, and everyone in there was pretty damn fit.

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