REVIEW: Boom Cycle, BodyBOOM Class

THE BASICS: An hour long spinning class in the pumped, club-like atmosphere that is the Boom Cycle studio. The BodyBOOM class combines spinning intervals with weights to tone and work the arms and torso. IT HURTS EVERYWHERE. But in a daaaaamn good way.

THE BITCHES: Carly, Sarah, Erin

THE CLASS: I was delighted to recruit some fellow HBs for this spinning class on a Tuesday after work- I have been going to this particular studio for around 6 months now, after Erin breezed over from her healthy Californian homeland and introduced me to the concept of spinning and the haven that is Boom Cycle. Sarah has also fully embraced Project HB and so the fact we could all coordinate a class together was pretty exciting stuff!

I usually err on the side of lazy and opt for a 45 minute, pure spinning class, and they are always excellent. This class we attended together however, was a full hardcore 60 mins of spinning and weights work- I think the excitement of all heading to a class together had made us giddy with confidence, and affected our better judgement. But I was very proud of us all for deciding to smash a full 60 minute class. These bodies will be Hot Bitch Bodies in no time!

The Boom studio is on Scrutton Street, close to Old Street Station. You have to pass several pubs on the walk from the station, each of which proudly boasts hoards of city workers spilling out onto the streets, enjoying a beer after a long day; making it to Boom and resisting the after work beer is part of the experience. I always think that making it into the studio successfully, when there is so much temptation around, means I was pretty much BORN READY to take on the class I am about to…. “JUST SAY NO TO AFTER WORK DRINKS ON A TUESDAY” in my frequently thought mantra on these trips to Boom! Today’s class was no different. I was ready to show this bike who was boss.

We were buzzed in, down the little staircase and into the basement. The greeting you get at Boom is enormously welcoming. The whole place is pumping with music and energy; the second you open the door and and hear that “Heeeeeey!” from behind the reception desk, you find yourself flinging your things into the free lockers in the reception area at the speed of lightening, so you can bound, Tigger-like, into the dark disco atmosphere of the studio and get your bike adjusted, ready to work out like a fit fiend.

Large towels (for after class showers…. or for super sweaty spinners) and clip-on shoes, are both available to hire for £1 each at reception. I usually just wear trainers and make use of the small free towels that are always neatly rolled up and placed on each bike, before class (lovely touch). Lots of people in the class seem to prefer to use the clip on shoes though- I may well be brave and give ’em a try in the near future. Do any of you readers prefer them? Educate me if so!

So, here we were- Erin, Sarah and I, all in an eager little line on our bikes. We’ve resisted the pubs. We’ve pushed ourselves and signed up for the 60 minute class; we are focused Tiggers right now. And with the music cranked up and the lights dimmed, the beat starts to pump through our souls, and our legs start turning at a nice low resistance. I channel a little thought down through my body: “Dear Leggies” I say “This will be your mission for the next hour. Don’t let me down. And in return I’ll feed you macaroni cheese as a treat when we get home”. They oblige and turn a little faster. I make a note to myself to remember this macaroni cheese leg-manipulation technique for future workouts.

Our trainer Alicey brought me out of my cheesy pasta-ry trance as she popped on her headset and started us off with hellos. She gave us a five minute chat through technique, which doesn’t happen in such detail at the start of every class, but I found it useful to have a refresher. Our legs kept spinning on a low resistance whilst Alicey reminded of the basics- if you get those right, then the majority of your energy will be used efficiently during the class. She reminded us of the hand positions on the handlebars, the fact that you shouldn’t have your arms or shoulders locked when spinning, and how to use core stability to lift the hand held dumbbells properly. (The little dumbbells are collected from the baskets at the front, before you sit on your bike at the start of a Body Boom class- don’t forget them!)

The class began and we cranked up our resistance to get our hearts racing through a full warm up. After this, the class was split into several sections; alternating between intervals of leg work, which felt more like a cardio work out, and core/arm resistance work with the weights, making us lean and toned.

The leg work sections saw us go through two stages of pain. The first stage is to increase resistance until you are really having to fire up the glutes and thighs to keep turning your pedals in time to the beat. It starts to burn. You are then brought to standing and have to pump your legs (always easier on a high resistance when standing). Stage two of pain puts you back down into your seat (or hovering low) and keeping that speed up that you built whilst standing- now you don’t have the spring of standing upright to help you. It burns more. This works to get you breathless, quickly. It burns. Oh how it burns. All I could think about by this point was macaroni cheese.

The core/arm resistance section takes you onto levels three and four of pain. What joy. We kept our legs moving at a low resistance the entire time, and moved our upper bodies through bicep and tricep curls, full arm extensions above our heads, and oblique twists. There are other fancy names for other movements we did with our weights, but  they revolve around holding weights up into difficult positions and repeating through to muscle fatigue.

It’s good practice to start this section with the heavier blue weights and only rely on the smaller purple ones when your arm start to shake above your head, and you feel like you might render yourself unconscious by dropping a free weight on your skull! Come on, be brave and strong and start with the heavier weights- you know you should be. Think about it- “I got rid of my bingo wings by using really small easy weights” – SAID NO ONE, EVER.

By this point people were in the zone- lights were low, music was loud, Alicey was yelling encouragement and people were whopping in endorphin-induced ecstasy into the darkness, presumably to let off steam and as a reaction to pushing themselves through several pain barriers! Gone are the inhibitions we suffer daily on the commute, in the office, and as members of the polite British race, and you are allowed to yell “AAAAARGH” at the top of your lungs into a room full of pulsing strangers. It is a great feeling!

Legs, core, legs, core…. aaaaaand warm down. It was at this point that the three of us could catch our breath enough to check in with one another. We were all still alive, but shaky and with flushed little faces. Thinking about it though, this class didn’t make me sweat nearly as much as others, and my fellow HBs agreed- but I feel like this was due to the class being a 60 minute, medium-intensity fat burner and toner, rather than a fast and furious 45 minute cardio killer. Well, whatever it was, I felt great.

THE VERDICT: Imagine a disco. The sweat, the music, the rhythm pumping through your vertebrae. Now take away the sticky floor and cheap booze. Add a healthy sprinkle of endorphines. Yell “WHOOOOO” into the darkness when the mood takes you….. Congratulations! You just lost your Boom virginity!

This place really is great; it wouldn’t make up part of my weekly exercise regime without being so. I feel like I have had a proper workout without fail, every time I go.

THE EXTRAS: Value comes with buying more classes, so consider the 5 or 10 class pack if you get the Boom bug. One little pointer- the Boom website sometimes lets you book, then asks you to log in, and the act of logging in means it has forgotten you were making a booking. Naughty. Make sure you check your booking is indeed secured once you have logged in!

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