Cycle Power

Sweating by candlelight: DEFINErevolution puts a new spin on the old gym routine

Sweating by candlelight: DEFINErevolution puts a new spin on the old gym routine

Define_West U
The DEFINE spin studio is lit by candles and lanterns around the room.  Photo via Facebook
DEFINErevolution_spin class
Erin O'Leary Stewart, co-owner and lead instructor, keeps up the tempo for the high-energy DEFINErevolution class.  Photo by Sofia van der Dys
Define_West U
DEFINErevolution_spin class

From the outside, the newly-opened DEFINE: body & mind studio on Bissonnet Street appears more like a boutique than a gym.

That aesthetic carries into the lobby, past the ballet barre studio and the open locker room, through the sliding barn door into a spin studio, lined with stationary bikes and illuminated by lanterns and candlelight.

This is the home of DEFINErevolution — a new, innovative take on indoor cycling, exclusive to the West U studio — which incorporates isometrics, an exercise ball and hand weights for a greater focus on core and upper body than a regular spin session.

 Richardson began experimenting with the exercise ball, a signature element at DEFINE, to develop a well-rounded, high-intensity workout on the bike. 

 "One thing we were missing from our studio was a cardio element," Henry Richardson, owner and senior instructor for DEFINE, tells CultureMap. That's something Richardson knew when he first opened DEFINE in 2009. 

Responding to feedback from customers who wanted a low-impact cardiovascular exercise, and adhering to the same principles used when developing DEFINEbody, Richardson began experimenting with the exercise ball, a signature element at DEFINE, to develop a well-rounded, high-intensity workout on the bike. 

I attended a class during DEFINE's opening weekend with Erin O'Leary Stewart, co-owner of the West University location and the lead instructor. Promptly at 9:45 a.m., she slid the door closed, turned up the music and began pedaling.

With the grace of a dancer, Stewart matched her movements to the beat of the music — an upbeat mix that included "Man in the Mirror," Mumford & Sons and a cool-down to Bon Iver's "Skinny Love" — leading the class in sprints, hill climbs, shoulder presses and more. 

After 45 minutes, I was drenched in sweat, completely exhausted. A full body workout, indeed.  

Richardson said the response to the DEFINErevolution spin class has been positive, and even better than he expected, with classes filling up almost a week in advance. Get in on one yourself here

DEFINE will host a grand opening cocktail party on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m., with light bites and a DJ. Twenty percent of studio memberships and retail items sold at the event will go to Friends of West U Parks. RSVP by emailing here.