Dubai is not short of indoor cycling studios and despite the ambivalence surrounding the fitness regimen, each studio adds a unique twist to their spinning classes to jazz up an otherwise monotonous session of pedalling a stationary cycle.
Motion Cycling is one such studio that offers spin classes that not only get your body in shape, but claim to uplift your soul during a 45-minute session.
The studio is run by a diverse pack of inspirational individuals, conveniently located in Oberoi Hotel, Business Bay on the 18th floor with a picturesque view of downtown Dubai.
I ventured in the territory completely and miserably blind as I had no idea what spinning was, but I was warmly greeted by Ivana and Kim upon my arrival at the studio as they geared me up for my class.
Besides a clean pair of socks, you don’t need whole paraphernalia of exercise gear and the studio will provide you specialised shoes that clip on to your bikes.
The instructors are kind enough to help everyone get secured on to their bike, so you’re not left with one foot clamped on and the other one just awkwardly flailing around – not that it happened to me or anything.
My instructor for the day was Kim, a half Korean and half South American creative enthusiast, who filled the whole session with her infectious positive attitude and explosive energy.
The classes were conducted in a darkened candlelit room and the instructor quickly runs us over the operations of the bikes and the resistance that you will be cranking up and down on her instructions.
Each instructor brings in their own playlist and Kim’s playlist mostly consisted of remixes of mainstream songs that we had the absolute liberty to sing and pedal along to the beats.
Moreover, in a candlelit studio, there was a strange liberating comfort as you know that you can just pedal as fast as you can without caring about what you look like.
Kim instructed us to perform various exercises while incorporating some light weight training.
Once you get in to the rhythm of the exercise, you realise that there is something remarkably empowering about working out in complete darkness, and as you focus solely on the task of incessant pedalling, it puts everything about you in perspective.
When you reach that moment, you realise that you are not doing this to look good or to show your work out off to anyone, but just for the sake of your own well-being and health.
The darkness doesn’t just offer a much-needed cover for you, but it is a cover for everyone and besides vague silhouettes, it is practically impossible to see anything else in class.
It offers fewer distractions and it’s all the more refreshing to know that you won’t be wallowing in insecurities by constantly comparing your performance and body to that of all the seasoned spinners in there with you.
Kim made it a point to go around the class to everyone and offer words of encouragement, as we cranked up our resistance and continued cycling.
Even though, it may feel like that the work out is focusing mainly on your legs and quads, but by combining various upper body movements throughout the session, you are constantly engaging your core muscles as you crunch while pedalling.
You are also working your hips out as you move up and down on the saddle, and by combining light weight training, you are also building the strength in your arms at the same time.
So, it is safe to say that you are definitely getting a full body work out and in no time, you will find yourself gasping for breath.
As we continued with our workouts, Kim asked us to close our eyes and finish the sentence when she said: “I am grateful for…”
It was strange to bring that up in the middle of a high intensity workout, but as the music slowed down it just felt natural to close your eyes, be in the moment and focus on finishing the sentence while pedalling as fast as possible.
In hindsight, I really don’t know how or why I started on this line of thought and I had so many things in my life that I could have said, but the one thing I was grateful of was just being there; the fact that my body was strong enough to get through the hectic routine.
We often look down on our bodies for either being too fat or too thin, but we don’t actually appreciate the vessel that is our body for just being healthy.
I was filled with an immense appreciation for things we often take for granted in our body and it was a surreal end to such a physically-challenging exercise.
After the stretch off we all dismounted our bikes, and if it is your first time and you don’t know where the phrase ‘legs turning to jelly’ comes from, you will certainly find out.
As we left the studio, I realised Motion Cycling was more than just working out, but it also opens you up emotionally, giving you a chance to meet with some of the most amazing people.
I experienced something profoundly beautiful working out in a darkened room with a bunch of strangers and as a result not only did I accomplish my physical goals, but made meaningful connections in the process as well.
WHAT: Motion Cycling
COST: AED120/class (one month expiration)
WHERE: Oberoi Hotel, Business Bay
VERDICT: Truly an uplifting work-out for the body and soul