All of my friends know that I'm a total fitness junkie and I really, really love a good workout. I go to the gym pretty much every day and I'm always trying out new workouts or circuits and working on building up my running distance. A couple of months ago I noticed a couple of people posting on Instagram about a new fitness venue called Cyclebox in the West End of Glasgow. It looked sweaty and like a pretty hardcore workout... and that is definitely my favourite kind of workout!
I booked in a couple of weeks later for what would be my first of many Cyclebox classes. The class is only 45 minutes long but boy, does it pack a punch... quite literally! It consists of 25 minutes of high tempo studio cycling (on the best bikes I've ever been on, by the way) and 15 minutes of boxing/circuits.
I've been going to spin/studio cycle classes since I was about 15/16 when they first launched and I've been obsessed with it ever since. As I've gone to so many classes in so many different gyms over the years, I'm become extremely fussy when it comes to the instructor. I've tried to persevere with instructors whose style, encouragement or music I didn't really take to but I would always end up leaving the class more wound up than when I went in. It really does make or break the class for me so I'm SUPER fussy when it comes to instructors... and Cyclebox have two of the best I've ever come across!
CYCLEBOX: THE INSTRUCTORS
First up, there is the fabulous Mandy who owns Cyclebox and has clearly put her heart and soul into creating such a vibrant and positive environment and has attracted so many like-minded people to join her 'squad'. I'm not someone who goes to the gym or to classes for the social aspect - at the gym I keep my headphones on and my eyes down at all times so that I can kind of zone out and don't have to make conversation with anyone - but there are honestly so many really cool regulars who love Cyclebox as much as I do.
Mandy is SO encouraging and really motivates you without it being cheesy, over-bearing or annoying in the slightest. She is also a complete powerhouse (she trained at the Ricky Hatton Academy) and is some serious #fitspo motivation. Go find her on Instagram under @thebodysculptoruk and you'll see exactly what I mean.
Then there is the lovely Gwen. On the Cyclebox website she is described as 'the smiling assassin' and that is exactly how I would sum her up too. Be warned: if she has a little smirk on her face when she says there is time for one more cycle track at the end, what she really means is that there is three minutes of impending torture waiting for you (otherwise known as three thirty second sprints with very little recovery in-between). I'm sure if the music was quieter you'd be able to hear her evil plan laugh.
Despite the pain that she causes, you can't help but love her. She's always so positive and friendly so, even if it is your very first class or first time cycling or boxing, you won't feel intimated in the slightest and you'll be made to feel right at home. You can find her on Instagram under @gwenmcg
CYCLEBOX: THE VENUE
The Cyclebox studio itself holds a maximum of 10 people so there is nowhere to hide if you're used to hiding up the back in classes. It's located just off Byres Rd on Ruthven Lane so it's a little hidden gem. Because it's so small, there is only one shower so that's worth bearing in mind if you're going before work and are in a bit of a rush, although most people live close by so tend to just go home for a shower.
CYCLEBOX: THE CLASS
The first twenty five minutes of the class is on the bike (Mandy and Gwen will always go over the bike and set everything up for you if it's your first time). It's really high tempo and intense but don't worry if you think you're gonna die, I promise it will be over before you know it.
It never gets easier no matter how often you go because the tracks change all the time (so you never get bored of the same songs) and you'll find that you can push yourself so much harder than you did to begin with. I'm pretty competitive with myself so I like knowing that I can go faster on sprint tracks or really take the levels up on the hills.
You then have a couple of minutes to recover before the boxing rounds start. I hadn't done a great deal of boxing before I started Cyclebox and it was definitely something that really attracted me to go in the first place, who doesn't want to be a bit more badass??
For this part of the class you do:
30 seconds on the bag (variations of jabs, crosses etc)
30 seconds on the matt (doing various exercises such as high knees, abdominal crunches, jumping squats etc)
30 seconds on the bag
30 seconds on the matt
You then have a minute to recover and then you do this another three times (four rounds altogether).
Sounds more complicated than it is but you'll be shown exactly what do to anyway. It basically works out at eight minutes of hard work though which sounds really easy, right? WRONG! The relief when that final beeper goes...
The rounds change every month (the January rounds shown below) so it never gets any easier, I'm afraid. I'm not gonna lie, the third round just now is an ABSOLUTE KILLER.
There are different size gloves there that are free to use or you can also buy a pair of gloves for £15 (which is an amazing price) that you can either take home with you or leave there.
Is it a workout just for girls?
I've been posting about Cyclebox on social media loads since I started going and guys are always asking if it's just for girls. There aren't that many guys that go just now but it's honestly not a "girly" workout AT ALL and any guys that do go will definitely testify to that. A few people who regularly attend also go to Crossfit and Gwen was a Crossfit coach so it's a pretty hardcore 45 minutes.
I haven't workout out for a while, will I die if I try Cyclebox?
As much as it might feel like it at the time, it won't kill you. It's extremely tough and every single part of your body will probably hurt the next day but don't let this put you off. Even if you haven't exercised in a while, you control the levels on the bikes and the tempo on the bags so if you need to slow down or ease off for a while, you can do this without anyone shouting at you! You'll find that your fitness levels improve so much in such a short space of time that you'll soon be up to speed with everyone else. The studio itself is quite dimly lit which I find is so much less intimidating too as you don't feel as 'on display' as you would in a really bright studio.
Won't I end up with thighs like Sir Chris Hoy with all the bike work?
Hell no! So many girls worry that they'll end up with bulky legs by doing hills on the bike but this absolutely not true.
CYCLEBOX: THE VERDICT
In case it completely apparent yet - I LOVE CYCLEBOX! I love the fact that it doesn't get any easier no matter how often I go and I love (and sometimes hate) the fact that the classes are small so there is nowhere to hide.
CYCLEBOX: THE DETAILS
WHERE: Cyclebox, 18 Ruthven Lane, Glasgow, G (just off Byres Rd in the West End)
WHEN: Classes are on every single day and the times vary throughout the week (7.15, 8.30, 9.30, 11, 6.30, 8.00)
HOW MUCH: £10 per class but can also pay £70 for unlimited classes for a whole month. I went to 21 classes in my first month so that works out at only £3.33 a class. The class size is small so you're really well looked after. If you plan on going at least twice a week it's definitely worthwhile buying a monthly pass. You're also not tied into a membership so there is no direct debit or contract which is great if you know you're going on holiday for a few weeks when you wouldn't get to as many classes.
HOW TO BOOK: You can book directly through the website which has all the class times. You can choose to either pay via Paypal when you book or you can pay in person. www.cycle-box.co.uk. I'd definitely recommend downloading their new App though, just search for Glofox in the App Store and then choose Cyclebox as your class. You can set up a profile and book and cancel classes really easily.