Fitness pick: CYKL’s model-approved spin classes

By Karen Cleveland

My first introduction to spinning turned me off: Terrible house music, boring repetition and sauna-like studios put me off for years.

But now CYKL (68 Bathurst St., Toronto, 416-504-2955, at Bathurst and Wellington, has lured me into a love affair with indoor cycling. The brainchild of a fashion photographer and former model (they ought to know fit, right?) CYKL promises to get participants “real fit, real fast.”

The secret is the RealRyder machines, which lean to mimic the turns of a real bike. In addition to a serious cardio and lower-body workout, your core and arms are also worked, as you have to fight to keep the bike stable throughout a ride of climbs and turns. All participants set their own pace, so seasoned cyclists and novice riders can take the same class and still get great workouts.

Kim Donnelly, owner and instructor (and stunner: she’s the aforementioned model), explains arms, back, shoulders and obliques are engaged to keep movements smooth and prevent the bike from wobbling (telltale sign of sloppy form). There’s no cheating here: my fight to keep my machine from wobbling left my abs feeling pleasantly worked, particularly when holding the bike in a turn. Think of doing crunches on a stability ball versus the floor: everything is intensified. Kim’s a stickler for form, constantly (yet pleasantly) prompting for slight posture adjustments so you make the most of every class.

CYKL typically offers four classes a day: 45-minute rides and 60-minute endurance classes (some with a live DJ spinning).

The cool, raw space boasts fully kitted-out showers and change areas (towels in abundance), and the convenience of reserving classes online (and even your preferred bike) saves the grief of arriving early to lay claim to a spot. First introductory class is free, drop-in classes about $20.

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