TEST RIDE: FLEXcity Fitness – Grand Rapids

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Over the next few weeks I’m planning to visit the growing number of specialty fitness / indoor cycling studios in the greater Grand Rapids area. Other than the (awesome) Studio Cycling options available through the YMCA branches, MVP Sportsplex, SNAP Fitness and other full-service fitness centers…there are at least 4 other options available in the area: Shape Your Life Studios, CyclingXT, Symmetry Training & Fitness and FLEXcity Fitness. With this post, a look at FLEXcity, based on my first time visit earlier this week.

Pre-class/ride planning
Although new to GR market since the first of the year, FLEXcity has been in operation for over two years, with the home base in Lansing. Their website is the best 24/7 resource to learn more about the co-owners and the concept of their program…class formats, schedules, rates, etc. You can reserve on-line via their partnership with MindBody. I tried calling to speak with someone at the contact number shown on their website, but never heard back after two calls. I ended up just showing up for a class about 15 minutes early to see if their was room and how things work with the first visit. In the GR location, only Flex56 classes are available in the Summer months…this is their signature class.

Arrival
I was the first person to arrive for the 9:15 class, so I had some time to sign in and go through the standard waiver and get an overview of the Flex56 format. Katherine was helpful getting me set up on the bike and walking me through the space. One of the smaller, yet nicest facilities I’ve been to over the past 2 years…it is also one of the newest studios. The Flex56 program is group based…similar to cross fit as you move through a variety of mini-workouts in intervals of 4-10 minutes. Each day is different, so the workout is fresh and your body adapts to a different workout each time.

Time to Ride
Given the format of the Flex56 class, this visit was more than a ride…it included intervals on a treadmill, work with TRX…and a limited amount of Cycling on their new Keiser M3 bikes.
The studio looks best suited for about a dozen participants, but their was just a small group of 4 this time. In peak season, the max is closer to 20 per class.
A playlist of recent, workout oriented music was playing from start to finish and Katherine was set up with a mic…sound volume/quality was off and I wasn’t hearing all the coaching queues clearly (but that may have been just me).
We started with intervals on the treadmills…working the incline and speed settings often. After about 8 minutes time to switch to TRX for an 8 minute sequence. This was my first experience with TRX and IT WAS GREAT…but my upper body is REALLY feeling it today! Katherine provided modifications to match your skill level. Next…some cycling work. The work here was not exactly like a cycling-only class, but we worked the speed and gear levels frequently while moving from seated to standing positions. This 8 minutes was the only cycling time for this particular class. Because each class is different, another day could be more cycling and less TRX, etc. Back to TRX for 8 minutes and 8 minutes back on the treadmills. The last sets where TRX and stretching / cool down.
Wish I had worn the HR monitor for this class…I was drenched and exhausted by the time this 56 minute session was over.

Summary
Great workout, great facility and location and great coaching…but for me, not enough ride time. Since the first class is no charge, no reason not to check it out. If you are into HIIT and CrossFit formats, FLEXcity Fitness is a great studio. If you haven’t looked into TRX, this would be a great studio option for that too.

Other resources:
See more here…it’s packed with education, informational videos (like the one below), schedules, a blog, and an on-line fitness resource called FLEXONLINE.

On YouTube (most of the video is footage from their Lansing location):

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