I was offered the chance to try a Rave Cycle class at the renowned Reebok Sports Club in Canary Wharf. Ohhh errr.
The concept ‘rave cycle’ had me thinking disco lights in time to the beat, team whooping and an immersive 45 minutes that felt more like a party than a workout. Maybe a disco ball if I was reaaalllly lucky. Excited.
So, I made the trip to the City (aka the foreign land where an office dress code exists and expensing a £2000 night out on the company credit card isn’t unheard of) resisting the urge to wear my rainbow headband a la this:
Behold, the promised land of gyms.
Christ. Billed as ‘one of Europe’s largest and most luxurious health clubs’, it certainly lived up to that at first glance. Gleaming and polished and positively reeking of wellness. Upon taking in the rather imposing entrance with high ceilings and lots of light, it occurred to me that the receptionist wasn’t in casual gym wear, but a full, crisp uniform. Just to give you some context, my gym doesn’t even have windows.
I was shown to the changing rooms, which I’m pretty sure were bigger than my entire gym. Carpets and soft furnishings and coat racks and TWO TYPES of straightener and more towels than any new born could ever wish for. I felt like I was in the gym equivalent of Willa Wonka’s chocolate factory. Though obviously, not a choccy bar in sight. Dewberry shampoo though? Sure. I mean, what exactly is a dewberry?
I hurriedly got changed, eager to see what else the gym had to offer. It was pretty much an oasis laid out in a labyrinth; a glass-fronted Crystal Maze if you will. Combat Zone, Free Weights Zone, Resistance Zone, Power Plate Zone, climbing wall… GOLF LAB. When I finally made it to the spin studio it was – unsurprisingly – a huge, sleek affair, with dozens of glistening bikes all waiting expectantly for you to hop on in your quest for those lean, toned arms/legs/abs that despite my best efforts, remain out of reach.
Not knowing exactly what was to come from my imminent 45 minutes of raving, I took a fairly central bike a couple of rows from the front so I could get fully involved. The class was only about a quarter full when the teacher came in, but this was a biiiiiig room on a sunny Friday evening, so no judgement there. I was ready and PUMPED.
Then… it just fell a bit flat. No introduction, no excitement, no sense of being in a class with anyone else. It was, in the end, a very average 45 minute spin class with slightly louder music. At my tiny gym, the spin instructor I favour takes you through peaks and troughs, makes you feel like you’re part of something, and has you pushing until the very end when you eventually fall off the bike, chest heaving and dripping head to toe in sweat. In my mind an instructor like that is entirely integral to your motivation and grit, otherwise you really are just sat in a dark room, pedalling furiously to nowhere. Which is essentially what I did.
Don’t get me wrong I worked up a sweat, but with the expansion of more conceptual, dedicated spin centres like Psycle, SoulCycle and BOOM Cycle popping up all over the place, I felt that a class in such a well-conceived gym such as this might have just a little more to offer. Reebok need to pay attention because they certainly weren’t holding mine; I was in the room for the class, sure, but I wasn’t present. I was busy thinking about how much I wanted to go out and try the rest of the equipment. In fairness to them, they are currently promoting a new ‘Groove Cycle’ class which seems entirely designed to address this. I’m also impressed by the ‘Learn To Lift’ class on the timetable – with more and more females (rightly) appearing in the weights areas, this sort of provision is SO important for ladies who want to build strength, but perhaps don’t know where or how to start. The weights rack can be very intimidating, and I’ve certainly never been shown how to lift anything in the decade or so I’ve been paying some sort of membership fee in various gyms.
If I worked anywhere near Canary Wharf I would absolutely see the appeal in a gym like this. Every aspect of the experience has been thought of, and with prices starting at £128 per month for an individual membership, you certainly see why. Alongside the gym, pool and spa is an entire health centre, offering everything from hypnotherapy to laser treatment, all in one convenient, luxurious place. If you so desire, you can even have a healthy meal waiting for you post-workout, crafted by the restaurant next door. The very experience of being in a place like this would serve as enough motivation to get out of bed and go. But if when you get there the workout doesn’t encourage you to give it your all for 45 little minutes, is it worth the money? Perhaps, but I maybe need to go back and give another class a try. Even if it is just so I can bathe my fingers in the exclusive root ginger hand wash once more.
All club images courtesy of Reebok UK
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