We try…Ride Republic – examining the rise of cardio by candlelight

It’s amazing the excuses we come out with to avoid exercising, but for those of us who shy away in fear of how others perceive us working out – we better find another reason. That is due to an increase in boutique fitness studios offering cardio classes set in the dark.

Here in the Sport and Leisure team, we’re not shy to throw ourselves into any sporting challenge, no matter how tough it is. Dubbed one of the most gruelling cycling workouts on offer, we decided to head over to indoor cycling studio, Ride Republic, to see what all the fuss was about.

Conveniently located under five minutes’ walk away from Parsons Green tube, I arrived at the studio for my 7:15 pm “Burn 45” class in plenty of time to get myself changed and set up on the bike. Burn 45 is Ride Republic’s signature class – a 45-minute high intensity, full-body workout which uses arm and core exercises to target your whole physique.

One unique feature in this class is the “Burn Board” at the front. The screen ranks the class’ participants – boys pitted against the girls. Ride Republic advises you to think of it, not as a ‘name-and-shame’, but rather a ‘spin-to-win.’ It’s quite incredible how much this spurs you on, making sure you’re not the one falling behind the others, on display for all to see. Not to mention the chance to earn the bragging rights over your mate(s).

The class instructor, Phil, led us through a mix of resistance and sprint training, all set to motivational tracks. Halfway through the class and the various hill climbs and power sprints are starting to take their toll. It’s at this point that Ride Republic’s trump card really came to the fore.

One member of staff came around carrying a tray of fresh towels, and just as well, with the ones we found on our bikes at the start now drenched in sweat. But these weren’t just any towels *cue M&S music*, these were wet scented towels.  A most welcome refreshment, and much needed at that.

Feeling reinvigorated, I pedalled like never before in search of the next rider on the leaderboard – how dare he be rewarded for allegedly working harder than me; not on my watch.

To my surprise, the second half flies by, including a quick upper body blitz with a variety of bicep curls and shoulder presses.

With just a final set of sprints to negotiate, the end is in sight. One final push, and relief – I’ve made it; job done. Thank god the lights are dimmed to hide my exhaustion.

But enough from me, have a go yourself. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone, right?

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