TIEM Cycle Shoes

Is it worth the investment? YES! Ok end of post … Just kidding, but this will be a short one.

Over the past year I have taken quite a few cycling classes and started to do the math. Typically if you sign up for a cycle class, the studio will let you borrow a pair of cycle shoes for free the first time and then charge you $3 every time after to rent them, and for those of you who have never taken cycle class, the answer is YES you do have to wear special shoes for class. Anyways, for a decent pair of cycle shoes, it’s going to cost you around $130-180. Mine were $150, however, a lot of studios will run specials on their merchandise throughout the year or even give you a % off if you leave a review, which is what I did at DEFINE Bellaire so my shoes ended up being like $120. Now let’s do some math. I had a month membership to DEFINE of unlimited cycling AND won a 10 class pack to soul cycle PLUS I had a few class pass credits which I wanted to use to try out a few cycle studios. Point being, I only had to 40 classes my entire life for this to be a good investment, and guess what?!?! I have way exceeded that by now. Not only do I no longer have to pay to rent shoes, I also don’t have to wear someone else’s stanky sweat soaked shoes. BUT before you run out and buy some shoes, there are a few things you should know.

Cycle shoes have these clips that lock your foot to your pedal so when you are sprinting or out of the saddle, your feet don’t go flying off the pedal. So let’s take a look at the two main types of clips for indoor cycle shoes. There are the ones that feel like you are walking around with a massive rock under your foot and you can hear someone walking up from a mile away, those are called three-hole (commonly called “Delta”) system. Then there are the clips that are much more subtle and flat on the bottom called two-hole (commonly called “SPD”) system. SPD shoes are much more attractive, mine are gorgeous, but are typically harder to clip in for new riders. It took me forever to figure out how to clip in after I bought my pair because I was so use to the Delta clips, but not i’m so use to it that it’s hard for me to use the Delta clips on the rare occasion I forget my pair at home.

Anyways, I don’t think I have ever come across a studio that didn’t accommodate both types of clips. The pedals on these bikes are two sided, one side uses the Delta clip and if you flip the pedal over, the other side uses the SPD. I am in love with my SPD cycle shoes by TIEM pictured below. Not only are they comfortable, but they also just look like normal tennis shoes vs the clunky ugly Delta clip shoes. One day I was signing in at Soul Cycle with my cycle shoes in hand, clearly visible and the guy behind the counter was like, do you need cycle shoes, and I just looked down at my shoes and was like… you mean these?? He like had a fit over how nice they looked and had a million questions about them because he thought they were so cool. Anyways, to wrap this nonsense of a post up is basically just to say that if you are going to take 40 or more cycle classes in your life, it is totally worth it to buy your own shoes ANDDDDDD I highly recommend the TIEM ones I have. They are so pretty 🙂

 

(Left) Delta Clips – notice the bumps on the bottom (Right) TIEM SPD Clips – notice the flat bottom like a tennis shoe

DEFINE Bellaire – Hammock Yoga

*After I wrote this post, I decided to add this disclaimer at the top because this post is jibberish… I even say that towards the end, but I did my best to describe my experience sooooo yeah… enjoy… or don’t… whatever 🙂

I have never felt so free and relaxed, yet empowered and strong. Hammock yoga is like this magical little workout where you walk in feeling tense, sore and maybe even anxious and leave 75 minutes later a calmer, more aware human being. I know this sounds super strange and hippie dippy, but I don’t know how else to explain it.

Like I said, the workout is 75 minutes long and NOTHING like what I was expecting. From the pictures I’d seen, I thought it would be more like an areal or silks class. Lots of strength training while using the hammock as a prop, and boy was I wrong. We started off laying in the hammock like we were little caterpillars in a cocoon. We worked on our breathing and just becoming present in the moment. Leaving the outside world outside for the time being and just focus on the now, which is really what the practice of yoga is all about. Then we came out of our hammocks and did some light stretching and waking up our bodies. Our instructor (whose name I forgot) asked the class what we wanted to work on so she could tailor the class to the people in the room, which was great because I always need to work on relieving tension in my shoulder. We spent quite a bit of time on the mat with a ball rolling out our muscles, basically the same as using a foam roller, but we used a ball instead, which I actually liked a lot more. You could really pinpoint specific muscles and had better control with the ball vs. a foam roller. What was strange was that we spend most of the time rolling out our pelvic muscles, abs and obliques. I have never rolled those out before, and it hurt so badly during the actual workout but the aftermath was total relaxation. We also used the ball to roll out our neck, shoulders and back. Then we made our move to the hammock and just hung upside down releasing every single muscle and just focused on breathing. After we hung, we used the hammock to stretch out our hip flexors and this was an incredible feeling. I have SUPER TIGHT hip flexors, and pigeon pose in yoga is always painful and awkward but much needed. We did pigeon pose while standing with one leg in the hammock and I could have just stayed in that pose the entire time and would have been so happy. The instructor explained how the hammock helps our bodies stretch by using our natural form instead of trying to force our bodies into a certain position. I don’t really know if that made sense, but whateverrrr. After we did some more hammock stretching we hung upside down one more time before class was over.

Hammock 2.jpg

I feel like this whole post is just jibberish, but I really don’t know how to explain what we did any better. I HIGHLY suggest you trying this class out though especially if you are one of those people who are constantly killing it in the gym orrrr if you sit at a desk all day everyday and your posture is compromised. I also wish I could better explain the feeling I had when I left the studio. Well, right as I was walking out I didn’t feel that different, but about 30 minutes after, I was just like gleaming. I was just so in the moment and aware of how good my body felt. Every single muscle was relieved of tension and stress. It was just this empowering yet calming sensation. I don’t know … like I said, you need to try it out to see what I am talking about and then you can comment with your experience because this is pure jibberish…

 

For more information on DEFINE body & mind at Bellaire visit http://bellaire.definebody.com/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DefineBellaire/ and Instagram at @definebellaire

DEFINE Bellaire – Bounce

Talk about FUN! Okay, I have been wanting to try this Bounce class since the time I visited DEFINE West University back in August, but I could never find a time that fit my schedule…until now! Bounce classes are typically only during the day which sucks but makes sense since they are probably not as popular as DEFINE’s signature Body class and they share the same room so one of them has to give. Anyways…the Friday before Christmas I was off work and there was a class at 4:15 at DEFINE Bellaire, so I signed up and I am so glad I did!

I showed up a wee bit early and talked to the owner, Deborah, who I kind of knew already from work, but she was so sweet. We talked about my blog and she told me they were looking to train some new instructors which totally peaked my interest… just saying 🙂 If this interests you as well, contact Deborah at DEFINE Bellaire! I also met the instructor, @kaylamhyde, who was also super sweet and very energetic. I picked out my light and heavy weights and claimed my trampoline and then it was time to jump on!

There were only 5 of us in the class and funny enough, 4 out of the 5 of us were all newbies to Bounce. Now, I have said this before and I will say it 800 more times … I am not super coordinated, but I am really trying to work on it (esp if I want to become an instructor). The class reminded me a lot of a Rev/Cycle class because you move to the beat of the music. So we started off what I like to call jump/running…like high knees on the trampoline…but to the beat of the music…or at least tried to jump to the beat of the music…I kept getting off beat… Anyways, we did that for a bit, then added some arm movements with the high knees, the some sashays which really threw me for a loop, then would turn to the side, then back, then switch the lead foot, then turn some more back to the front, then sprint as fast as we could to finish out the song. Round 1 on the trampoline was done and it was time to hop off and grab our weights.

We use really light weights, only about 2-3 for light weights and 4-5 for heavy. All of the moves that we did off the trampoline were very similar the their Body class, so small pulses and focused on specific muscles. If you have ever taken a Body or Barre class, these were the types of movements we were doing. After that song was over we would jump back on the trampoline for some more jump/running for a song, then off the trampoline for some more weighted Body/Barre inspired moves, then on the trampoline, then off, then on … until class was over and it was time to stretch.

Kayla was a fantastic instructor. She was super energetic and made sure we were all smiling the entire time. Half the time I was loose and having fun laughing at myself, the other I was so focused on staying on beat I probably looked like a robot. I wish my parents would have forced me to take a dance class when I was younger. It would come in handy these days.

So my overall experience at DEFINE Bellaire was fantastic. Pros: everyone was friendly and helpful, the building is super easy to find and get to with tons of parking, a variety of classes to choose from (Body, Bounce, Rev, Yoga, Pilates and even Hammock classes which is next on my list!). Cons: some of the classes are hard to fit into your schedule if you work a full time job since they are only offered mid-morning and early afternoon. Oh, also just a piece of advice, if you call to make an appointment and they don’t answer, just leave a message or email them and they will get back to you ASAP! They are really good about getting back to you in a timely manner as long as you leave your info.

For more information on DEFINE Bellaire visit http://bellaire.definebody.com/ or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DefineBellaire/ and Instagram at @definebellaire

 

DEFINE vs. Revolution Studio – Cycling

This is the first time I have been to two different fitness studios and taken the same type of workout, so now is the time to compare. Here is my verdict on cycling at DEFINE body & mind versus Revolution Studio; Revolution Studio wins hands down and here is why.

Let’s start with staff. This is the most similar between the two. Both staffs were super friendly, energetic and supportive, so really I have nothing bad to say about either of them. I took Alison’s rev class at DEFINE body & mind on Saturday morning with a friend and she was a great instructor, but the overall class wasn’t as energetic and intense as Revolution Studio.

The atmospheres were completely different between the two. Revolution Studio makes it feel like you are in the club with blacklights and everybody is woohoo-ing and you are constantly doing something other than just pedaling. At DEFINE the room had little lanterns of just yellow light that dimmed and got brighter with the intensity, but overall I just felt like I was in my living room with a dimmer switch instead of the intense atmosphere of Revolution.

I also felt like overall workout was better at Revolution. They both followed the same jist of things, but like I mentioned early, at Revolution you are constantly doing something along with riding, like tricep dips or push-ups or touch backs or something whereas at DEFINE I felt like I was just pedaling more. There were tricep dips and push-ups and what not, but it just wasn’t the same. Both did incorporate arm weights and both arm workouts were equally as intense!

Now, I will say this. My friend Montana came with me and said this was exactly what she was looking for. She has been looking for a high intensity, energetic cycling class and she was thoroughly pleased with rev at DEFINE. She has not tried Revolution though so I’m going to get her to try it out and see what she thinks. I am not saying I didn’t get a good workout. I mean I was drenched from head to toe and my legs and arms were burning. I am just giving my opinion between the two and my opinion is Revolution wins this round. 

So overall, I would pick Revolution Studio over DEFINE body & mind for cycling, any day. BUT keep in mind that Revolution only offers cycling and yoga whereas DEFINE offers cycling, yoga, bounce, body and one more that I can’t remember and am too lazy to look up. So that is definitely something to take into consideration.

Last 3 quick things to mention. 1) I was still never approached to join DEFINE or even shown what the pricing and packages are…I find that strange. 2) I feel like even though the instructors are really nice and attentive at DEFINE, the overall comradery is nothing compared to what I feel like during a Revolution cycling or yoga class. 3) Both studios are REALLY GOOD about interacting with you on Social Media if that is your thing. I have been posting pics from my workouts on Instagram and both Revolution and DEFINE always like, comment or share which is really nice!

 

DEFINE body & mind

To find the location closest to you, visit: http://definebody.com/fitness-studios/

I went to the location at West University here: http://westuniversity.definebody.com/

West University Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Define-Body-Mind-West-U-295810803833845/

West University Instagram: @define_houston

 

Revolution Studio

To find the location closest to you, visit: https://www.revolution-studio.com/

River Oaks Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/revolutionstudioriveroaks/

Instagram: @revolutionstudio

DEFINE body & mind

There is one word I would use to describe this workout and that is, FIRE. My legs were on absolute fire during the “body” class at DEFINE body & mind in West University. DEFINE body & mind offers a variety of classes at 11 studios in the Houston (and surrounding) area. Their classes are body, rev, bounce, yoga and mind. You get one free trial class and can sign up for it online or by calling in. I had issues with the submission form online so I gave them a call and they were so kind and knowledgeable. I asked for a class recommendation and the girl suggested body or bounce (trampolines) for a first timer like me. Since the bounce classes didn’t fit my schedule, I just went ahead and signed up for the body class , but I will be back from bounce one day.

When I showed up, I was welcomed by the staff and given a quick little tour of the facility. Right up front they have a cute little retail section that I had to exercise extreme willpower to stay away from. They also had the cycling room in back, the multipurpose room up front and a little kitchen area to the side. Oh and parking is odd. They have a small lot on the side of the building, but then about 2-3 blocks down they have another designated lot … just FYI.

So the body class is described as “A one-stop shop for the tone and length you’ve been looking for. This results-oriented class combines Pilates, yoga, ballet and core strengthening techniques, coupled with easy to use equipment (for that extra oomph!) to define your best body.” I had never taken a class like this before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Courtney was my instructor and was super sweet. She helped me get set up, put me in the front of the class (eek) and helped me through the entire workout.

The workout covered full body and the equipment used were a light and heavy set of weights, a ball (not sure if it has an actual name) and a band to stretch at the end. You are also positioned on a yoga mat in front of a ballet bar. The workout was intense from the beginning, but a different kind of intense then I am use to. I barely sweat, like at all, yet my muscles were just lit up. I haven’t felt burn like that in my legs in a long time. Arms and abs were burning too, but I was able to push through that pain. I kept having to take a break and stretch during the leg portions. I think the burn was so intense because the muscle movements were so very small and isolated.

The class was pretty full and ranged from what looked like beginners to advanced. I felt like majority of the people in the room had some sort of dance background which made me feel super clumsy and uncoordinated…but what’s new?! I am definitely interested in trying out some of the other classes they have to offer, but if you are looking for a toned body, I think this is a place you should try out. The body class really focused on strength and flexibility and was just a complete mix of pilates, yoga, strength, ballet…you name it!

All I know about pricing right now is that the first class is free and individual classes are $24 each. I know they have packages and plans, but I am not sure what they are yet. I am signed up to take the rev class in the next few days, so I will get some ideas on pricing and let you know about it in the next post. I am also excited to try the rev (cycling) class so I can compare it to the cycling classes at Revolution Studio (which I absolutely LOVED).

To find the location closest to you, visit: http://definebody.com/fitness-studios/

I went to the location at West University here: http://westuniversity.definebody.com/

West University Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Define-Body-Mind-West-U-295810803833845/

West University Instagram: @define_houston