Week 1: Digme Fitness

My birthday is the day after Halloween, so it seemed apt to start my year of trying out fitness crazes with a Halloween themed ride at Digme Fitness. Digme is the latest spin on spin; with the bikes hooked up to measure your output in real time – displayed on huge screens for all to see! My inner competitor loved this and I eyed up the competition as I arrived – 46 riders were signed up for this Friday night session on a big chalk board in reception

What they say:

Spin just upped its game. Our signature class is 45 minutes of the best indoor cycling imaginable – that’s all it takes for you to see results and feel fantastic.

We’ve got the best indoor bikes on the planet, the Keiser M3i, arranged in an arena style, which give you the option to track and measure your data, giving you accurate feedback on your progress.

Our ethos is togetherness and teamwork, and our classes are fun, vibrant and effective.

My experience:

On arrival we were greeted by a couple of super friendly staff who showed us around the small but plush changing area (Cowshed products and Dyson hairdryers, pretty swanky). When I got to my bike (front row, of course!) there was a pair of shiny new shoes and towel waiting for me. One of the coaches – who was actually participating in the class… always a good sign I think – came over and showed me how to fit the bike, also explaining the tekkers I should employ. He asked about my fitness background, and gave me an idea of what resistance to aim for.

A big screen on the wall showed a countdown to the start of class, and our instructor Rebekah made sure everyone was happy and ready to ride before we set off. As the clock hit zero, the lights went out and my coral manicure glowed bright under the uv. Michael Jackon’s Thriller roared to life and so did the class. We started off with a fairly cruisy warm up, quickly building to some decent climbs and sprints. Every 30 seconds or we were instructed to change the resistance and/or cadence, and by 10 minutes in I was absolutely dripping with sweat and loving/hating it in that most wonderful way!

One of the great things about this class was the astounding technology providing real time feedback – the screens displayed the output of all the riders in the class – alternating between cadence, wattage, calories burned and a percentage which I couldn’t quite figure out (all I know is that mine dropped as soon I took my foot off the gas!). Each individual’s score glowed green, amber or red depending on how hard they were working… being super competitive I was damn well not falling into the green! The screens, along with the instructions, gave me something to focus on other than the relentless spinning of those pedals. As Rebekah yelled “minimum gear 18!” and I was struggling to hold on, I wondered whether the regulars were finding this easy?! I’d definitely have backed off if it wasn’t for that bloody ginormous screen!

As we neared the end of the class we had an all out 3 minute sprint. Oh my. This time, everyone in the class was ranked on distance covered in real time. I was determined to put up a decent score (I’m meant to be fit, goddamit!) and got a real thrill from ‘racing’ another girl over the final 30 seconds and just pipping her at the finish. The feedback on the screens definitely made me go harder than I would’ve done otherwise.

After a cooldown, the instructor spent a good 5 minutes leading us through stretches, before we trooped out of the studio, all glistening with sweat and red faced.

Heading back to the communal changing area, I got chatting to some of the other riders who clearly love these sessions. A couple of Blitz CrossFit members were there too – when you do a certain type of training all the time it’s easy to forget that lots of people do a whole host of different classes. Everyone was really friendly as I can see how friendships are quickly established in this environment.

Within 5 minutes I’d received an email giving me an overall score and telling me exactly how I’d done during the class – metrics such as max and average power output, cadence, distance and calories. If you wear a heart rate monitor it will track that too. Graphs showed these measures across the 45 minute timeframe… for a statto like me this was post workout heaven, and I immediately got to thinking how awesome it would be if something like that could be introduced in CrossFit.

The last time I got a sweat on like that was in a sauna. Definitely different to what I normally do, but I can see how people get hooked, especially with the ability to track improvement so clearly.

In Summary:

Technology meets sweat-fest. Dark, sweaty and loud, this was an awesome, challenging workout with a killer soundtrack, which left me high on adrenaline. The next 51 weeks have got a lot to live up to. I’ll be back.

Where: Digme Richmond

Cost: first ride is £20 and you can bring a buddy for free

How to book: http://www.digmefitness.com

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