True Grit

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Jumpsuit : Koral Activewear | High-Tops : Isabel Marant Becketts

Recently I discovered Grit Cycle, a premium indoor cycling studio in Orange County, CA. I came for what I thought was going to be a basic spin class, but I stayed for so much more.

You’ll be moving on your bike like a 20 year old at a rave festival, you just can’t help it.

The classes are fantastic and many fill up within minutes of the new schedule going live at promptly 4:30 on Sundays. The energy is over the top and trust me, I don’t care what age you are, you’ll be moving on your bike like a 20 year old at a rave festival, you just can’t help it. And, if you have taken a class lately, don’t try and tell me you’re not singing  Soulja Boy’s “Crank That” for the rest of the day, even if you DO know what the lyrics mean.

The workout itself is intense. They keep the room warm; THANK YOU!!! I no longer have to dig out my ski parka to spin. So make sure you are well hydrated before you come, you WILL sweat. Most of the songs are around or over 128 BPM. And, it is FULL BODY. Not just a few weights at the end like other spin studios that boast the same type of workout. Once you get the proper form and the rhythm down (it’s not hard, the music makes it easy), you’ll see how you use every muscle in your body. Trust me, you’ll feel it. I’ve trained through a few Ironman races and countless marathons and for the first time since I’ve taken a hiatus from racing, I feel as if I am getting a similar if not better workout. I’m not the best rider in the room but I’m not intimidated by those that are, it just makes me want to be better.

There is a feeling of camaraderie when you’re riding and you feel as if  you are on a team.

I’ve been a triathlete and runner for over 15 years and have raced every distance there is, but I’ve never been one of those high-five, hoot and holler kind of girls at races (I’ve actually never really understood this practice as it seems like a giant waste of valuable energy to me, especially when undertaken at the start of a race). Even though I’m pretty outgoing, I’m actually fairly shy and reserved around people I don’t know. But at Grit, I want to reach out and high five everyone around me. There is a feeling of camaraderie when you’re riding and you feel as if  you are on a team. The setting is intimate and even though you are suffering, you know you’re not alone. This is definitely aided by the encouragement of whomever happens to be teaching and, by the way, moving through the studio and in your face so no doggin’ it (you won’t want to anyway), they’ll know and they’ll push you (you can opt out of this before class if it makes you uncomfortable). I’ve spent years dragging myself to train, often twice daily, but at Grit, I do doubles regularly (I’m not alone in this feat, many do it) and look forward to it. No one is shuffling in, they are hustling to get on the bike and get going.

There are Karma rides every week, they give back to the community.

There are Karma rides every week, which are complimentary, but they ask that you donate to the feature charity for that month. I love this, The charity always has a local connection so they are giving back to the community. Of course they are running a business, but you you know they are not just there to take your money. They care and it shows. It’s obvious that everyone who works there loves their job.

Every attention to detail has been carefully planned and executed.

These guys did it right from the moment of conception to the day they opened the doors and they continue to do it right. Nothing is an afterthought.  Every attention to detail has been carefully planned and executed. The saddle room (more about the name later) has wide sliding glass doors that open to a deck with lounge furniture where you can bask in the sun before or after class. You may be temporarily blinded to the fact that you are about to work your ass off and think you are at a resort in Palm Springs, the only thing missing being the pool. The beautiful logo is prominently and subtly placed everywhere without being obnoxious. It blends perfectly with the surroundings, right down to the blue bike iron sculptures which also double as bike racks; brilliant. There are plenty of amenities like wrist bands for fun in their signature blue color, plastic bags for wet drenched workout clothes and aromatherapy candles that are burning continuously.  They’ve thought of everything including necessities like ear plugs for those who may be sensitive to loud music, hair bands for people like me who seem to purchase a new pack every week but can never find one and peppermint lifesavers, which I’m pretty sure are there to help you obtain that last minute sugar buzz before you ride (believe me, you’ll need it). They even pass out chilled eucalyptus scented towels after each ride which have the amazing ability to instantly revive you. The equipment is top notch and the sound system is unbelievable.

Everything is a nod to the great John Wayne

Everything is a nod to the great John Wayne, who happens to be  the father of one of  the 3 co-owners, Marisa Wayne. I’m  pretty slow on the uptake (I’m attributing this to lack of oxygen from the high intensity rides and OK, maybe age too) but I actually just figured this out. I think it was the John Wayne book at the front desk that finally tipped me off. So you’ve got GRIT Cycle after the late actor’s movie “True Grit” and the the studio is called “The Saddle Room”.  See the theme?  And, I’ve already come up with dozens of play on words. I can’t help it, they just seem to pop into my head: Grit Addict, Grit Happens, Body by Grit, Gritty day so far, you get the idea. Either it was a stroke of marketing genius or a happy coincidence (I’m betting on a combination of the 2) but it sure makes sharing on social media easy. They’ve pretty much done the work for you, a kind of hashtags for dummies.

So now my week starts on Sundays at 4:30 sharp, as I attempt to reserve my rides for the coming week. This is a process that can be as aerobic as the rides themselves. I like to call it a little warm up for the week to come because at 4:28 my heart starts to beat a little faster, I can feel my shoulders tensing and I have to remind myself to relax and be calm (coincidentally the same advice given in class) and I start to break out in a sweat. Then at exactly 4:30 I am hunting and pecking in a nervous frenzy to get the classes I want. When it’s over I breathe a sigh of relief and congratulate myself. Luckily I am an experienced flash sale online shopper so I’ve had some practice in this.

And since this is primarily a fashion blog, I do need to mention they have tons of very cool logo wear as well as some great activewear lines, such as Koral Activewear, a company based out of LA with a Brazilian design aesthetic. And yes, it helps if you look like Gisele in order to pull it off, but, as you can see by the jumpsuit I am sporting, you don’t have to. And happily, it falls right in line with my jumpsuit addiction. Sigh, yet another place to shop…….

Seriously, check these guys out. The vibe is chill and very laid back, but the rides most definitely are not.

Grit Cycle 1731, Santa Ana Ave Costa Mesa, CA 92627 (949) 631-4748