◊ THE CLASS: Stax 50 ◊
WHAT YOU NEED
Stax Cycle Club kept coming up on our radar because they have a reputation for having some of the best instructors in the city and for being one of the most approachable. This is a reputation we vey much like and we are so happy to say that our experience did not disappoint. With a fire instructor who brought the energy and the cute jokes but also a ton of knowledge about perfect spin form (points) and a crowd that was very diverse in body shape, age, and experience, we definitely get the chit chat on the streets. This is a very simple spin studio that has the most interesting layout that we’ve been to yet as they share space with the personal training facility City Fit, but their iconic blue hued spin room will make you feel like your at a rave circa 1992. Probably the biggest thing to note about Stax though, is that they have the lowest prices we’ve seen in Calgary, and anywhere across Canada actually, that include all amenities like spin shoes, towel service and steam room access. These guys are quite literally giving other spin studios in Calgary a serious run for their money.
Stax’s location is interesting. They’re in Inglewood, which if you’re not familiar, is an old part of Calgary that used to be not so desirable but the city has successfully turned it around over the last ten years with great restaurants and boutiques and now it’s cool. They’re not in the heart of Inglewood though, they’re about a five minute drive from the good area. The thing about this location and the reason we’re docking marks is because it’s really only convenient if you drive, which we realise is about 98% of Calgarians, but if we’re being consistent with how we rate, than we have to consider all modes of transportation and give full fruits only if it’s easy to get to if you’re walking, driving, or taking public transportation. We know they’re working on the transit system to go near there, so we’ll see you in a few years. Until then – for my fellow non-drivers – if public transportation is you’re friend than you can take one bus that run’s not that often. For the drivers, there is ample free parking in designated areas in the street, as well as a public parking lot located less than 500m away at Pearce Estate Park, which they have propped up tons of signs for. Finally, Stax shares space with City Fit Professional Training, which is a customized personal training facility that’s set up like an open gym, but when you walk into the space there are two sign-in desks and Stax is like a studio within a gym. More on that later.
CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE
There’s pretty much only one class offered at Stax, the Stax 50, and guess how long it is? You guessed it folks, 50 minutes. There is one other class, the Stax 50 + Stretch which includes an extra five of stretching but other than that, they’re a one trick pony and the variety from class to class will depend on the instructor. The class schedule is fairly lean but very intentional with a 6am class, a 12pm class, and either a 5pm or 5:30pm class and a 6pm or 6:30pm class Monday – Friday. Calgary is defs an early to rise and early to happy hour kind of city (like 4:30pm after work drinks is normal) so the last class being at 6:30pm isn’t teeeerible considering the market, but we know a lot of people who wouldn’t be able to make it that quickly after work as the only option. Sad face. Saturdays and Sundays are wrapped up by 10:30am – so we’ll see you never on those days. Oh WAIT. I just found out they hand out mimosa on Saturday mornings after class. Never mind, we’ll see you ALWAYS. Anyway, its a good idea to sign-up ahead of time and reserve your fav bike, which btw we really liked this part of the experience bc their online map of the room even includes where the speakers are, which is nice for old people (us, read on). Lastly, the studio opens thirty minutes before classes start which is a lot of time to spend setting up your bike, but it’s nice to know you can reeeeaally take your time and do it right.
As for pricing, Stax is pretty damn good. Their drop-in is the lowest that we’ve seen, like EVER at $17.50 per class and that includes everything, shoe rentals, towel service, and access to programmable lockers and steam rooms. UMMMM that’s great. Class packs drive down the per class rate to as low as $14.50 but their many, many membership options offer the best value. They kind of have three categories of memberships happening; (1) non-committal (2) committed early birds and (3) no pressure but you HAVE to commit committed weekly’s (our words). Non-committal is exactly what it sounds, you can cancel anytime and ride unlimited for $199 per month. The committed early birds is unlimited access but only for the morning rides (before 1pm and first class on weekends) with one month notice to cancel – this is our fav and even if you go twice a week classes are $12.40 per class. The no pressure but you HAVE to commit committed weekly’s have four options; ride one, two, three or unlimited times per week and all require one month notice to cancel. All great value depending on what fits for your life. Overall we feel this about the prices:
- Drop-in: $17.50
- 5 Rides: $75 ($15 per class)
- 10 Rides: $145 ($14.50 per class)
- No Strings Monthly Pass: $199
- Auto-Renew Monthly Membership: $99
- Ride 1x per week Monthly Membership: $58 ($14.50 per class)
- Ride 2x per week Monthly Membership: $104 ($13.00 per class)
- Ride 3x per week Monthly Membership: $150 ($12.50 per class)
- Ride Unlimited Monthly (1 month notice to cancel): $185
So, right off the bat, the layout of this studio is different than any other “boutique fitness studio” we’ve been to bc they share space with City Fit, a personal training open-concept gym. So it’s like a studio within a gym, but they’re not connected or affiliated in any way. When you first walk-in, there are two sign-in desks, City Fit’s to your immediate left with Stax straight ahead and already that’s kind of weird. Stax has a small lobby full of Stax merch, and behind the sign-in desk is the spin room. The spin room is cute AH. It feels a lot smaller than many others that we’ve been to and that’s partially because it actually is with a capacity of 32, but the ceilings are also fairly low so it feels intimate. The back lit 3D geo wall is their feature and it most frequently gives off a blue hue but in the middle of class the instructor will be all fancy and time the music to a color/light show so you feel like you’re at a spin/rave. This seems an odd thing to nit-pick but the sound system wasn’t as amazing as some of the studios we’ve been to. It was so loud but almost twangy, that it kind-of hurt our ears. Ok yes, maybe we needed to use that floor map and sit as far away from the speaker as poss. We came full circle.
Anyway, outside the spin room is a water station and a big communal table that people kind of awkwardly hang-out around, because it’s right in front of City Fit’s open gym space. The washrooms and change rooms are also shared and you have to pass City Fit’s gym to get to them, which is fine and they have everything you need to get ready like towel service, lockers, and product but it felt like a true “gym” change room. Oh, also you have access to the steam room, so that’s great. Overall, the layout is making us feel mixed. Like, we didn’t hate it, but it did kind of feel like we were in a school gym in the “spin class” module while we watched the seniors do the “cross-fit” module on the other side of the gymnasium.
The other thing to note is there were a great mix of people. Our class included a mom and daughter duo, a quarter of the class were men, and there was a really refreshing range of fitness levels and experience. It’s not a hard core spin crowd which we super appreciate and love the inclusive vibe that exists as a result. Spin can be intimidating and we’re super into the fact that Stax has a wide range of regulars.
- Cold wet towels upon leaving the spin room
- Change rooms and showers shared with City Fit that include Skoah shampoo, conditioner, blow dryers, flat irons & lotions
- Access to City Fit’s eucalyptus infused steam room
- SPD-KEO clip in shoes and towel service included
- Filtered water station
- Mimosas on Saturdays after class – YAAAAS
- Shots of re-fuel juice after class!
One of the things Stax is known for is that they’ve recruited twelve of Calgary’s best spin instructors. The positive talk on the streets of Calgs about how welcoming, motivating and approachable these instructors are cannot be ignored and our experience followed suit. All of the staff were super cute and incredibly helpful while we were in house, but more than that we were v happy to see that not all of the instructors are 90 lbs with 12 packs, but approachable, real, bad-ass humans. It was a nice change from most spin studios where the instructors are often razor thin and have zero percent body fat. Super realistic for us normal peeps. We also loved that two of the other instructors took our class with us, which apparently is vey common. They do it to learn from each other and to bring energy to the room, like actual hoots and hollars.
Joelle, or Jo T, you may also recognise from this little thing called CTV NEWS. Yah. This gorgeous caramel skinned hair goddess is a morning news host by day and a spin instructor by night. NBD. My stay at home with my three month old by day and get tipsy watching the bachelorette at night gig is pretty same same. Anyways, besides loving her skin care routine we also really loved her energy. She made jokes, was SUPER into form and technique (which is always a sure fire way to earn pineapples from us) and she rode the whole class with us. You’ve probably heard us talk about this before, because instructors that focus on form is super important to us, and Jo nailed it by constantly making sure we had our chin up, our shoulders back, and we could “rest a glass of wine” on our shoulder blades. We should be friends, yes?! Her playlist was pretty poppy with a few top 40’s sprinkled in to some beat heavy dance types, but we really liked that she was very very chill about choreography and riding to a beat. Most spin studios we go to these days are 150% focused on the rhythm and staying together but Jo let us know that if finding the beat and riding to the music was our jam, than she would lead the way, but if we weren’t feeling it, it was totally all good. Nice change.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
We’re giving full fruits for Level of Difficulty and rating it Hard – here’s why. The bikes at Stax are Stages bikes which means they have a three level intensity stick in addition to the regular dial. This technical difference is everything and means each level on the stick will essentially jump start you to a harder resistance regardless of what you do with the dial, so you can’t get away with lame quarter dial turns when the instructor tells you to add two full turns etc. As for the class vibe, Jo was less intense about the “togetherness” than many spin studios are coming to obsess over, and we were kinda down with that. Trust me, the dancer in me is ALWAYS down for a group to be in perfect choreographed unison but sometimes, you just want to be like FO with the beat because I’m too tired and lemme just ride. So anyway, that was cool. The class started with a simple ride for a full song to get us warmed up and in no time we were picking up the pace and riding at double and triple speed. We did some choreo, such as four corners with our hips (but always to a fast beat which was tricky), bicep and tricep dips, but the choreography wasn’t too overbearing. The arm section lasted a full five minute song, and I started with 5 lbs weights by accident – don’t anyone do that and think your bring a hero, it was actually the worst thing. The class went by fast and there was less pressure and focus to turn up the resistance (probably bc of the intensity stick) and the majority of the focus was either on sprinting or hills. Overall, it was a nice mix of >>>
To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see Stax’s schedule here.