Something about trying a new fitness class makes me so excited.

Photo 126

And sore.

This is almost always the case, and my legs are still screaming with victory cries after last night’s Sparkcycle class. Indoor cycling is one of my favorite workouts -you can get in an intense cardio workout without joint impact- and one of my favorites to teach. Needless to say, I was pretty stoked to try out a class at Sparkcycle.

What is it?

A 45-minute cycle class with fun lighting, powerful club music and strength on the spin bike. At this particular studio, you can bring your own clip-in shoes or rent them. Since it was my first class, I was able to rent a pair for free. While this could easily elicit creepy bowling shoe vibes, the shoes were new and felt very clean.

Photo 127

What to expect?

To SWEAT. Often 60 minute cycling classes feel too long for me. I liked the fact that class was 45 minutes; the increased intensity made up for the shorter duration.

Something a little different: upper body movements on the bike. Instead of the classic hills, jumps and speed drills, you’re also doing pushups on the bikes (classic and triceps), moving forward and backward (awesome for the core), oblique leans and figure 8s (which was very dance-y and fun). There’s also a strength portion on the bike at the end of class using lighter dumbbells (2s, 3s, 4s or 5s).

An entire experience. The lighting and music took this class over the top. It gave me the chance to really get in the zone and push myself, as it was a dark club-like atmosphere with flameless candles and colored lights. 


-It’s a total body workout. When I left, I felt like I’d worked my entire body, instead of mostly my legs which is the case on the spin bike. 

-You can modify according to your fitness levels. This is one of the many beautiful aspects of cycling: you push yourself according to your needs and preferences. You can always decrease your speed or resistance if you need a break, or crank up the resistance and pedal your heart out if you want to challenge yourself. 

Spark cycle logo copy



-Not an ideal choice for those with a history of injuries. Usually for cardio workouts, the main hip, knee and joint considerations are something to keep in mind. For this type of workout, there’s the added can of worms for current or previous shoulder injuries. For the pushups, you’re transferring your weight to your wrist and shoulders, and if you have any type of shoulder or wrist injury, I’d find this a tough one to modify. (Of course, you could just skip the pushup aspect, but I thought it was worth mentioning.)

-The dumbbell portion. I enjoyed the strength set, but the exercises emphasized shoulders and mine were TOAST from all of the pushups we’d been doing. I would have liked more biceps, triceps, back and chest exercises. 

-It’s pricey! This is the case with many specialty fitness classes. If you can commit to a membership, it’s easy to make it worth your while, but if you’re like me and like to try every workout under the sun, it can be expensive to do on a drop-in basis. 

Final thoughts:

-Sparkcycle is a gorgeous studio and they work to make it an awesome atmosphere. The lobby has a shopping area with fun lightning bolt “Sparkcycle” apparel and the facility is extremely clean. The bikes are also brand-spanking-new. Something that I appreciated and thought was an awesome touch: they give you a cool eucalyptus towel at the end of class. So lovely!

-They do donation-based classes each month with 100% of the proceeds to benefit a local charity. The minimum to ride is $1 and they have a collection bin at the front desk during these classes. I love to see studios giving back to the community, and it also provides an opportunity to enjoy class at a lower cost.

-My class was $10 because I registered online -first time at a new studio often has a deal- but I found out last night at the studio that if you enter “SPARKITUP” at checkout, your first class is free.

How often are cycling workouts in your weekly rotation? Have you tried Sparkcycle, Flywheel, SoulCycle or something similar?? Best “special touch” that your local fitness studio does for you? I love that Uplift studios in New York has coffee and little snacks for guests to enjoy after class.



Ps. Don’t forget to enter this week’s Skyscapes giveaway here! (<– click to comment) You can enter every day from now until Sunday!

More Focus On posts:




Barre workouts




Post Navigation:


  1. Michelle on June 19, 2014 at 11:16 am

    I love cycling! My local YMCA actually has some baller teachers so I try to go there every Saturday. I’ve tried Flywheel and ReCycle (which is Boston’s version of Soul Cycle – kinda) and I loved Flywheel but the packages were just so pricey! I do keep my eyes peeled for group deals though. At least in Boston so many studios are opening up that they’re usually offering deals somewhere!

  2. Britt@MyOwnBalance on June 19, 2014 at 11:18 am

    I used to not enjoying spinning at all until I tried SoulCycle and then Flywheel. Both are excellent and make cycling so much fun! I’ve never tried Sparkcycle but it sounds similar. I find that these classes really help to build strength for outdoor cycling.

  3. Sarah on June 19, 2014 at 11:23 am

    This is my favorite kind of spinning class!! Washington DC has a few studios like this, Revolve, SculptDC and Zengo (Zengo is my favorite). Unfortunately I don’t live there anymore and haven’t found anything close to where I am now, and I really do miss it. I used to go once a week mostly because of the cost.

  4. Amanda on June 19, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Thanks for the great review! I always love the “Focus On” posts. Quick question – I’m heading to San Diego over the 4th of July weekend and am interested in taking a new fitness class or two while I’m in town. I’m already planning on signing up for an OrangeTheory class (they sound great!) but is there any other class that you think I shouldn’t miss?
    Also, you should definitely do a post on ” A Local’s Guide to San Diego” or something like that. I’m sure a lot of people visit there and we’d love to have your must-do list 🙂

    • Fitnessista on June 19, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      i think if i were to do a guide, i’d have to split it up by area; there are too many awesome places here!
      you definitely need to take one of my barre or zumba classes if you’re up to it 🙂 also for acai bowls check out tiki port or cafe by the bay, reach yoga in PB is awesome, and if you can get a day pass to 24-hour fitness, rebecca teaches body pump and is AMAAAAAZING

      • joelle (on a pink typewriter) on June 21, 2014 at 11:59 pm

        Sorry to creep in, but I have taken Rebecca’s class and can totally vouch for that! She and Emmily are the best (at 24 Hour in SD, that is)!

  5. Caitlin @ Happy 'n' Hungry on June 19, 2014 at 11:53 am

    I try to attend a spin class at my local gym once a week for cross-training. Unfortunately, there’s really only one good, motivating teacher at my gym. If she’s out for some reason, I feel like I’ve wasted 60 minutes! I like spin a lot, and would absolutely love to try something like Sparkcycle. I need challenging workouts to keep me interested!

  6. Polly @ Tasty Food Project on June 19, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Cycle class is one of my favorite group fitness classes! I usually take the class 1 or 2 times a week at my gym. There’s a Fly Wheel near me but I haven’t tried it. Maybe I should give it a shot since the first class is free.

  7. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on June 19, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Oh fun! This sounds exactly like Soul Cycle! I wish there was one of those in Omaha. Did you notice any big differences between the two types of classes?

    • Fitnessista on June 19, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      i’ve never taken soul cycle! i wish 🙂

  8. Jessica @ Fit Talker on June 19, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    You’re a certified Spinning instructor, right? (or maybe i’m getting confused)

    Lot’s of the moves they do in these sorts of classes are contraindicated by the Spinning program as they can put undue stress on various parts of the body.

    In the case of push-ups, or any move where more weight is put on the handlebars, if you’re sweaty your hand can slip and then boom, face meets handlebars.

    I understand the appeal of wanting to hit all body parts at once but it seems to me like sometimes that just isn’t the answer.

    • Fitnessista on June 19, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      i was, but let it expire.
      i totally agree and would be extremely nervous teaching this type of format to the masses. as a participant, however, i thought it was a lot of fun, but then again, i have healthy joints (knock on wood!) and knew if i needed to modify anything

  9. Megan @ The Skinny-Life on June 19, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    I took this class a few months ago in WI and being in the dark freaked me out at first, but then I actually loved it. It made me feel less self conscious. I cycle twice a week as part of my fitness routine. I really do love it. Now if only I could get over my fear of riding a real bike on the road.

    • Fitnessista on June 19, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      haha i’m right there with you on that one. i prefer my safe spin bike 🙂

  10. Tracy on June 19, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    I used to cycle a couple times a week but it fell off my schedule once I added in more yoga. I have a friend who’s trying to get me to add it to my rotation again. I’m thinking it’s probably gonna happen 🙂 Thanks for the fun focus post!

  11. Sara on June 19, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    I have never done a spinning class before…we don’t have any studios close by and I don’t belong to a gym 🙁 It looks like so much fun though! I am waiting until we get some sort of spinning studio nearby!

  12. Laura B @ FitMamaLove on June 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    I LOVE taking new classes! It’s so great for changing up my routine.

    I like using the bike for a HIIT workout, but I haven’t taken a spinning class in forever. My first and only experience at least 12 years ago was not a good one and I haven’t tried it again.

    There are a lot of things that sound great about this class, though–only 45 minutes and working your whole body. I might be down for trying this kind of spinning class!

  13. Liz B on June 19, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    I love spinning (as I said on the summer shape up, I took a class yesterday too).

    I have done true spinning in college, YMCA classes, classes at my work gym, SoulCycle, and CyclehouseLA. I really love the challenge but I really appreciate more form focused classes to prevent injury. It helps with my running a lot.

    I’m glad you posted though because I’m driving to San Diego in July and was thinking about trying some fitness studios when I’m not in comic con stuff. I’ll add this to my list (and let me know where you are teaching too)!

    • Fitnessista on June 19, 2014 at 5:30 pm

      awesome! let me know when you’ll be here (like a week before?) and i’ll email you my teaching schedule for that week 🙂

  14. Jessica @ My Life In Harmony on June 19, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Thanks for the review! I moved to La Jolla with my family in April and one of my goals ( I did “moving” resolutions instead of “new year” resolutions 🙂 was to do a new class every week! I’m kind of slacking, but your posts help keep me motivated 🙂 I also love knowing what you are doing with Livi, as I need lots of activities for a busy one year old 🙂
    I noticed a conversation on Instagram about a spinning meet up and I thought it might be super fun to do a fitness class meet up once a month with anyone in the SD area who can attend? We could try new classes and motivate each other! I’m sure you are super busy and I know it takes planning, but I would love to be involved in meeting other SD folks and sharing classes if that is ever in the works!
    Thanks for everything!

    • Fitnessista on June 19, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      that sounds like a great idea! things are a little crazy right now with traveling and summer shape up, but maybe something we could do in the fall? orange theory told me they’d be happy to set up an event 🙂

  15. Laura on June 19, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    We love cycling here at #MobiusFit! This adds a spin to it for the summer! 😉

  16. Livi on June 19, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    I love that they give back to the community! So cool!

  17. Kate @ SoCal Runner Gal on June 19, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    My friend Megan and I are going to check out a class tonight — thanks for the promo code tip! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on June 19, 2014 at 7:18 pm

      let me know how you like it!!

  18. Dominique @ Eat, Pray, Lift on June 19, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    This sounds so fun! The dark club-type atmosphere is great (that’s how my old gym did their X-bike classes!) because I can get into the moment and no one can see how much I’m sweating my buns off. 😉

    I’m always a little wary of those classes that combine strength training with cycling, because it seems hard to get in a good upper body workout and easy to hurt yourself, but it sounds like SparkCycle made it work! Did yall get off the bikes for the pushups, or was it seated pushup movements on the handlebars?

  19. Tess on June 20, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Love, love, love spin classes!!:) Great cardio and easy on the joints on a rest day from running!

  20. elizabeth e on June 22, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    I do Flywheel as cross-training once a week here, and I absolutely love it! Just what everyone needs – not one but two [Pure Barre] pricey boutique fitness options. I love the weights that are added in, and the 45 minutes goes by so quickly. One of my favorite aspects of Flywheel is the “torq score,” which allows me to make sure I’m working hard enough and to see improvements over time.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.