Trialled & Tested: Absolute Cycle
As the expansion of the Absolute You empire reaches Singapore, it brings with it, the first “real” rhythm cycle experience to the city. Looking to the US – as so many in the region do – for inspiration, Absolute Cycle draws on the influence of category leaders Soul Cycle for its high energy, high vibrational and highly addictive ride to the beat experience.
So get ready to towel down, tighten your ponytail and crank up the gears, because we’re about to break this experience down for you.
You have 45 minutes, in which you’ll be pedalling to the beat for 11 banger tracks pumped out – loud – and getting sucked into the rhythmic turned subconscious, movement of spinning on a stationary bike. Far removed from the traditional RPM format, this spin class is “an experience”. In the darkened room, flashes of neon lights blast to the curated playlist, giving you just a glimpse of your estatic face in the mirror behind the instructor – who is just as likely to be dancing and guiding you with empowering quotes as often as they are spinning with finesse. Here as your heart rate races, sweat starts pouring and legs start burning, endorphins will be fizzing and you become uninhibited – primally connected to the energy and sensation surging through the studio walls.
Can you tell I’m hooked?!
Absolute You is one of the largest studio chains across the region, with an already established and loyal presence within Thailand. Covering key aspects of holistic fitness, they offer Yoga, Pilates and Cycle at their 'too many to count' studios across Thailand, a stunning, specialist retreat centre in Koh Samui and now, the unveiling of two brand new spaces in Singapore.
Absolute Cycle is offered both at the OUE Downtown space and the flagship Absolute You Orchard Studio. The studios are fully kitted out with all the amenities you need, including riding shoes and towels – trust me, you'll need it – but minus free water, so don't forget your spare change!
The OUE Downtown studio has space for 47 bikes, arranged in ascending height rows, and an elevated instructor platform, so you can have eyes on the pro the entire ride. As with all spin studios of this calibre, the FROW (that's Front Row for anyone not down with spin lingo) tends to get dominated by the regular addicts, but wherever you're positioned, you're guaranteed to be drawn into the group atmosphere and get glimpse of yourself in the mirrors, if that's your motivational style...
Key to the success of any spin studio is the creation of atmosphere and vibe for every class. The immersion into a space where worries are left at the door and sweat is left across the bike, so riders elevate in body and mind, is created by the connection of the physical space and the quality of the instructor leading the way.
The vibe here is likened to that of your favourite club – however here you won't get a hangover or hit on by some creep, instead you'll be getting high off your own endorphin supply. As the lights drop low, beats turn up and you start pedalling, inhibitions fall away and you'll be dancing like your damn well Beyonce herself in the saddle.
The synergy of co-ordination, rhythm and choreography unites the group and you'll feed off the collective energy, becoming uplifted and empowered throughout the workout. It's fun, fast and 45 minutes seems to flash by. Yet importantly in a workout that's completed in the near dark, being clipped into the stationary bike allows you to feel safe and supported to move through jumps and at speeds you thought impossible before.
Rhythm cycle is spinning - amplified.
After beginning the session by tuning in, clearing your energy and connection with the intention of the session, the "ride to the beat" instructions will immediately have your brain working to snap you into a co-ordinated gear. The cardio session will have you switching up intensity from heavy, gruelling hill climbs, to all out sprint surges to maximise your fast twitch capacity. However as you'll be jumping up and down out of the saddle, hovering your booty inches away from the seat, throwing in some push ups on the handle bars and busting out some dance moves, this traditionally lower body workout becomes a full body experience. Trust me, your core will be engaged to get you moving to that beat! Then just when you think you're almost done, you'll throw in a small but lethal weights track, which is kind of like a mini-barre arms workout series, but those legs will continue to roll to keep your heart rate soaring.
While at its core it is a high intensity cardio workout, the level of resistance added to the gears and additions of jumps and movement patterns, adds in a toning element – hello ms. new booty – giving the bonus "afterburn" effect, which continues long after you have towelled down the sweat!
As previously mentioned, crucial to the success of any spin class is the calibre and quality of the instructors leading from the top. From the moment you walk in the front door, to the hardest moments grinding up a hill, to the motivating platitudes urging you on, the instructor holds responsibility for the experience of each rider. Luckily, Absolute You has been able to source some of the top spin instructors from around the globe who create, drive and inspire the Absolute Cycle signature method. These international and local stars, go through a gruelling 6 week academy, which includes 150 hours of training, 5 days a week – no small feat! – meaning those on the podium in front of you, have certainly done the hard yards to be there.
As always, you tend to find instructors who you personally connect with more, based on your workout style and motivational preferences. Personally, I look for those who not only nail the technicalities and can inspire for a full 45 minutes, but infuse their own sass, energy, and personality to empower and facilitate your spin journey.
For The Newbies
Never clipped in before? Don’t be daunted, for first timers there's a 15 minute intro session where you’ll get fully set up onto the bike, learn how to clip in and all the specifities of hand positions, “tapping” back and some basic choreography, ready to join the masses.
What gets you hooked
There's a simple magic formula for a successful spin studio and it goes a little something like this:
Addictive rhythmic movement + psychology of an empowered group connection + killer curated playlists + prime location + uber talented teachers = I'm sold.
The combination of a heart racing, endorphins flying workout that allows for some kind of mental shift to be unleashed in each session hooks into aspects of positive psychology and rewards the riders with a strong sense of achievement at the end of the workout. Absolute Cycle delivers on all fronts, particularly with its talented team, and the results leave you wanting to come back, time and again.
“I don’t like that”
There really isn’t much to fault at all for Absolute Cycle. The sessions are on a quality level on par with leaders abroad such as Psycle, 1Rebel, Boom Cycle and The Bike Bar, and the instructors are clear standouts within the industry.
The only downside – and its something we are seeing across the industry here, not unique to Absolute alone – with the growing expansion of the fitness market, classes are struggling to hit max capacity, and when the experience is heightened when the room is full of bodies surging to the beat, a half filled studio doesn’t quite have the atmosphere. So with that in mind, who’s ready to clip in on a bike next to me for a session soon?!