◊ THE CLASS: Spokehaus 45 ◊
WHAT YOU NEED
Our first impression of Spokehaus was from an article in Toronto Life when they first opened, dubbing Spoke one of “the fanciest new places to work out in Toronto”. Naturally, our interest was piqued. Founded by corporate career woman turned entrepreneur in early 2016, Christine Tessaro was one of the first to pave the way for boutique fitness studios in Toronto. Insert Bloomberg fact here – did you know that the boutique fitness industry is a +$25 billion dollar industry now, up 6% on the previous year and with no looks to slow down? We’re obviously not super surprised by this considering we can review a studio a week for the rest of the year and never return to the same one, but this trend is staying, signalling a change in the way people are spending their time and money. All that said, what that also means is that there is more and more competition, and for anyone that’s been paying attention this year, spin in particular has seen a rise in TO with studios that are starting to offer the same prices, amenities and styles of classes (we’ve been to at least 5 spin studio openings just in the last 6 months.) All that said, Spokehaus is one you should make room for in the clutter of spin boutiques. So what makes these guys different? Well first off for us, they’re one of TO’s OG’s. Spokehaus opened before choreography and the playlist was an integral part of spin classes, before a zillion amenities like spin shoes and the use of free natural spa like products was a baseline and before all of this had to be packaged in a beautiful and inspiring setting. Spoke is literally the Canadian SoulCycle, before SoulCycle came up North, with a similar ‘ride with strangers in unison’ goal and some of the most challenging high-intensity full-body workouts we’ve ever taken in TO. If you’re looking for a high calorie burning, incredibly challenging 45-minute class in an environment that’s gorgeous, energising and the epitome of a boutique fitness studio, then this is for you.
The HAÜS, as they say, is located downtown in Cityplace, that area near the waterfront and west of Spadina that is chokers full of apartment complexes and some cute little parks and restaurants. It’s located on Dan Leckie Way which is across from the Canoe Park and just north of the Gardiner. There’s street parking available on Dan Leckie Way as well as Fort York Blvd for $2.25/hour. If taking transit, the 511 Bathurst streetcar runs to Fort York and is about a 5-minute walk from there. If not a local cityplaceite, the studio is easily accessible no matter what your means of transportation.
One thing we love about the classes offered at Spokehaus is that they’re all 45-minutes, and they’re all hard as hell, making them a really great efficient and sweaty use of our time. They offer three different styles of classes; Spokehaus 45, which is their signature high intensity, low impact, full-body workout, the High/Ride which is ideal for intermediate to advanced riders, includes 2 instructors and is described as their version of a “rave on a bike”, and Hotbox, which is based on the Spokehaus 45 but heated in a room of 80-84ºC so you can expect a greater detox and increased calorie burn. It’s ideal to sign-up online before coming to class but if walk-in space is available they will, of course, accommodate. If you’re running late though, sorry Sally, they won’t let latecomers into the spin rooms to avoid the disruption.
Class times are definitely catering to the working crowd with an early morning slot most days at 6:30am or 7:00am, no classes during the day with the exception of a Friday lunchtime class, and 2-3 classes in the evenings with the last class at 7:30pm. Weekend classes are leaner with Sunday having the fewest and being done by 11:00am. One thing we heart, the 6:30am and 7:00am classes are served complimentary Starbucks lattes afterwards. How cute is that?!
Class prices are competitive with other spin studios in Toronto now (same as 6ix, cheaper than Soul, a bit more than Torq) although we noticed they’ve dropped prices since nearly a year ago as they used to be $28 for a drop-in, perhaps due to the recent increase in competition. With spin shoes, lockers and all amenities included in the price, a $25 drop-in or $19.50 per class for buying in bulk, is on the lower end. No memberships are offered in their pricing structure, you are encouraged to buy credits, which equal classes and don’t have an expiry date.
1 ride: $25
5 rides: $115 ($23 per)
10 rides: $215 ($21.50 per)
20 rides: $390 ($19.50 per)
Intro offer, 3 rides for $25 ($8.30 per)
It was one of Christine’s goals to make the space at Spokehaus beautiful and inspiring, and that she did. The studio is modern, minimalist and full of light with 2/3rds of the front studio space being floor to ceiling windows. The details in the interior design are feminine but contemporary with black and white features paired with industrial and statement rose-gold lighting. Technology is utilised well with an iPad at the front desk to confirm your reserved bike and therefore corresponding shoe cubbie that is pre-loaded with your correct size before each class. The spin studio is all black and lit dimly to allow a vanity-free class. Fans blow hard at the front of the room to keep you cool and there is space for 39 bikes which was perfect to us, close enough to lean over to your neighbour to tell them how much your dying but far enough that you don’t bump uglies at any point during class.
The flow of the studio is a bit like a squished diamond with the front sign-in desk, a Spokehaus store and two areas in the front foyer to store your things; a larger main locker space to the left of the sign-in desk and a small overflow locker corner to the right. The change rooms (both male and female) are beside the spin studio along a small hallway that also contains the highly coveted filtered water. The space can be cramped during a change over of classes, especially during the busier Saturday mornings with everyone trying to leave the studio, get water or get to the washrooms/change rooms. The change rooms have everything you could need in terms of amenities with all hair products, razors, showers and washrooms included (the male change rooms are a little less glam.) There isn’t a ton of a space if fully getting ready for work after a class, ideally there’s enough space for 2-3 women to get ready at a time. One of the last things we’ll say about the vibe is the energy and the music. Music is a huge part of what they do at Spoke, with every instructor putting a ton of energy and thought into each class’ playlist, but we did feel like the beats were blaring SO loud when we first got into the studio (from the class that was still finishing) it felt more like we were walking into a nightclub at 2:00am. I suppose for some people that’s totally what they want and need to get psyched for their workout, but it’s been louder some days when we have gone over others and those particularly blaring days put us a bit off (and also made us feel old.)
The crowd at Spokehaus is on the younger end, Millennials and Xennials for sure from 20’s to mid-30’s, which isn’t a huge shocker considering the downtown condo heavy neighbourhood they’re nestled into. The studio is a busy one with most classes we’ve seen being ~85% full with a heavy participation of regulars but always a handful of newbies. Spoke is also fantastic at running speciality classes, promotional events and partnering with other businesses in the community to draw in new riders and just generally celebrate life. They’re particularly strong supporters of rose and the 5 o’clock cocktail (because you’ve earned it) which makes us strong supporters of them. Almost every weekend you’ll find them offering free energy drinks by this local health food store, or chia tasters from this vegan raw cafe, or complimentary cocktails after a Sunday afternoon class. They just know.
- Towels included on the bike and in the change rooms
- Cold eucalyptus towels 5 minutes at the end of class – love this touch
- Spin shoes included
- Free filtered water
- Water ($2) and Greenhouse Juices for purchase
- All natural and award winning Malin and Goetz products in the washrooms (shampoo, conditioner, body wash)
- Hair dryers, straighteners, curling irons, hairspray, razors, deodorant, they have it all
- Wicked selection of sexy, meshy, and sportluxe activewear from Spokehaus x Tully Lou, Michi NY, Varley, P.E. Nation, Stone Fox Sweat, and Koral Activewear
- Free coffee at the morning classes. We LOVE this.
Every time we’ve walked into Spokehaus, we’ve been greeted by energetic, tall beautiful humans clad in high waisted mesh leggings that looked like they’ve just wrapped a Blue Ivy photo shoot. Honestly, the staff here are incredibly friendly, helpful and genuine, and what makes them stand out even more than their athleisure game is their keen commitment to knowing the people in their wheelhouse (ha), i.e community. The staff of about nine instructors have almost all been there since the first day they opened in February 2016 and what distinguishes them from each other is their taste in music and therefore their corresponding playlists. For a fresh way to book your class, check out each instructors musical style to decide what class you’ll be most motivated by.
Christine, the founder, is so so fit it hurts. Like actually, you will hurt from her level of fitness. Her classes are categorised as advanced and we wish we looked at that on the website before we went, becasue we died! Her teaching style is super high energy she’ll call you on your shit if you don’t respond (our kinda girl) and her classes are literally NON-STOP with minimal breaks, constant choreography involving your upper body as much as your lower half, and the majority of the class out of the seat. Her music style is EDM and Dubstep so you can expect a dance party vibe to keep you going and what Christine will promote religiously is cycling in unison together to the beat of a killer song. Once that kind-of rhythm is achieved, the room seems to be filled with a sweaty energetic endorphin high.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
Without a doubt, Spoke deserves a rating of WAY HARD. We tried the Spokehaus 45 class, their traditional low impact, high intensity full-body workout. This class is designed to target your core, legs, butt, arms and heart through a series of carefully choreographed movements that will “transform your body” as they say. If we spun here on a weekly basis, we have absolutely no doubt that claim would hold true. The class starts with a gentle warm up, allowing you to get used to the bike, the difficulty settings and riding to the beat of the music with each other. Then the 80% of the class (and intensity) begins with sprints, hills, a ton of arm work involving dips, criss crosses, and weights and full-body choreography like butt drops and ’round the worlds. The final push before cooling down is a full song ride however you choose; sprinting, off the seat, or just at your own pace to the beat of the music. But one thing we can guarantee at this point in the class, you’ll be sweaty yes, tired yes, but feeling so good and if you allow yourself to sink into the music, that two and a half minutes is blissful ‘you time’. The cool down that follows offers wonderful relief and you’ll be guided through 5-minutes of full-body stretches. We rolled out of this class with an obscene amount of sweat, a bit fatigued (ready for our free energy drink), but blissfully happy. So to sum up, you gotta go.
To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see Spokehaus’s contact info below.
Spokehaus Web: www.spokehaus.ca E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org PHONE | (416) 220.4641 Instagram | Facebook