The Cycling Gym
The Cycling Gym is the ultimate cycling enthusiast's workout club. The studio combines cycling and strength training in a facility suited for a Crossfit gym.
For fanatic bike riders this is a seamless way to strengthen your body, recover from injuries and perfect your riding form while under the mentorship and guidance of two trainers, Steve Neal and Andrew Randell, who both have years of experience coaching and of course, riding.
This is not a spinning class. As Neal pointed out there's a distinct difference between spinning and cycling. Spinning bikes don't fit you as well and are made for a more generic ride. But at The Cycling Gym, you bring in your own riding bike which is fit to your body. It is then set-up on a trainer for you to ride.
A rider goes through a private test on the bike which helps Randell and Neal gauge their levels and ability to follow along in class. As Randell tells me, when people are on their own bike, it fits their body which makes for a safer and more efficient ride, warding off potential injury from an ill-fitting spinning bike.
The combination of indoor cycling and strength training is crucial to Randell, who has been a rider for years. He feels he could have avoided years of rehab after his cycling injury, had he done strength conditioning exercises. Neal and Randell train you through the whole process and help you become a better rider and/or recover from an injury.
During private or group sessions, a screen is set up at the front that programs and monitors the workout. Each rider is set up to be monitored during the session, and the information on their heart rate, speed and other vitals is sent to the trainer. It's essentially an individualized workout for each person as the workout is happening.
The Cycling Gym is an excellent workout for hardcore cycling enthusiasts. Classes are capped at 10 people and suited for any level of rider; those who train to compete, ride a road bike regularly, or even mountain bikers. Ultimately the focus is to fashion a program that builds strength and improves your ability to ride outside the gym.
It's the first gym in Toronto to do both cycling and strength training under one roof. Neal and Randell have catered the workouts so that even those who have an injury can continue to workout in a safe space.
"There's a huge rehab portion to do what we do," says Randell. "It's about mobility and strength." The training and mobility are all intertwined so instead of taking weeks off due to an injury, you get better at the gym through strength training like weights, and ball and mat exercises.
"People don't train properly," says Neal. And the small class sizes provide a close to one-on-one experience for the clients. "We're hoping to change the training culture. We want to train people the right way. There's a difference between working out and training," says Randell. "We're helping people reach goals and do things they didn't know they were able to."
There are classes starting at 6.15 a.m., and an open gym throughout the day.
The Cycling Gym also offers bicycle fitting and metabolic testing. There are 6 or 12-month memberships or a 10 class pass for $330. Private coaching with Randell or Neal is also available.
Photos by Jesse Milns.