Local fitness spot brings the heat… then the zen

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The team at local fitness studio CycleZen says Cochranites should take both a fast and slow approach to their wellness and fitness. Since the beginning of March, the new business has been combining the heart-racing excitement of fitness classes with relaxed, meditative yoga classes out of their studio just south of Railway Street (131 2 Ave E).

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“So far, so good! We have a great community of spinners and yogis that come together every week, ”said owner Heather Gramantik.

“Spin and yoga are very complementary …. Having a separate yoga class, I felt was good because if you work hard the bottom half of your body and make everything really tight, it’s always good to lengthen and stretch everything out. So that’s kind of why I went with the spin and yoga combination with CycleZen. “

Retiring from a career as a first responder to start the venture, Gramantik was motivated by three key factors: a desire to be her own boss, a desire to spend more time with her family, and a desire to promote wellness in Cochrane.

“I thought ‘You know what, I would like to go down this avenue of an entrepreneur, to have the flexibility for my family to be home more for my eight year old and be able to take her to the things that I had missed out on for a few years and not have to always rely on requesting time off or having to leave early, ”she said.

“Summer of last year, I felt ‘You know, I’m going to start working on a business plan for a bank to see if I can get the funding to move forward with this spin and yoga idea,’ because I really feel that we need to bring people out of their houses and back into a community. “

Spin classes can have a reputation of being a little intimidating, conjuring up images of impossibly fit people pedaling their hearts out in a dark room to blaring electronic music. That’s not the case at CycleZen, the studio owner emphasized.

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“Our spin classes are a little different than the regular classes that are out there.… We are a welcoming facility for anybody,” said Gramantik.

“The instructors create some awesome playlists, you’ll never find a playlist that’s only Top 40 or only electronic dance music. I’ve heard Elvis Presley, I’ve heard bagpipes, I’ve heard Foo Fighters, AC / DC. We have every genre you can think of with the instructors that we have. “

Their main spin class is 45-50 minutes long and incorporates cycling, free weights and core work.

“Eventually we will probably do some theme nights as we go along,” she added.

“I’ve done a ‘Spin and Gin’ night where I paired with the Whispering Dutchman, so after our spin class, they were offered a discount at the Whispering Dutchman. So I helped a local community-based distillery, and then we had a spin night. It was great, we had a great time. “

There’s also a complimentary monthly half-hour class (usually around the 15th) for those looking to get comfortable with a spin bike for the first time: things like how to clip in the complementary shoes, set the seat and proper riding technique. Instructors can help participants out during the regular classes as well, but beginners might find the orientation class worthwhile.

“All of our instructors are very well versed in how to set you up on a bike,” Gramantik said.

“If we find out that you are new to spin, we have a phone call with you or send you an email and say ‘Hey, can you just come fifteen minutes early,’ so that we can set you up properly on that bike before class starts. “

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As for the ‘zen’ side of the operation, CycleZen offers two main yoga classes: a higher-energy Vinyasa Flow class, and a more meditative Yin class. Each classes are 50 minutes, and another 50-minute class is offered that combines both practices.

“I have a great gamut of instructors. They’re all local from Cochrane and they have been teaching for ten-plus years. I’ve got some in their twenties, some in their forties, we’ve got a whole age range of instructors. “

The studio’s most unique session is the Spin and Yin class. Participants hop on the spin bike for an active 45 minutes before taking things to the floor for 30 minutes of slow yin yoga.

“You’re a little sweaty when you come off the bike, but when you land on your mat, we call it a yin and a yang because you hype your heart right up, and then you come off the bike and we kind of ‘ zen ‘you right out and by the time you go you’ve had a very full complementary stretch for that forty-five-minute spin class that you’ve just done, ”Gramantik said.

“You walk out very relaxed when you’re done, you don’t even notice that you’ve done a class.”

Like the spin classes, the CycleZen owner said the yoga classes are accessible to Cochranites of all ages and fitness levels.

“I like to say we are a studio for ‘everybody and every body.’ I like to think that it doesn’t matter if you’re fit or you’re not fit, if you’re active or not active, we have the capacity and the awesome instructors to be able to fit every demographic that walks through our door. “

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“Anybody can do one of our classes and feel comfortable doing it. It might take you a couple of classes before you’re not huffing and puffing, but I know that anybody can do them. “

She noted the level of community spirit that’s already built up within her studio’s walls.

“The people that have come, the community that we’ve created now are fantastic,” Gramantik said.

“Last night’s yin class there were four of us in there and it wasn’t a typical yoga class because we laughed a lot, which was awesome. It wasn’t a typical yin yoga class because we were goofing around and giggling, but it was a great sense of community because we felt comfortable enough to do that and not feel like ‘Oh, we have to be quiet because we’re in a yoga class. ‘”

Classes can be booked online at CycleZen.ca. In the meantime, Cochranites might want to try out CycleZen’s approach to mental wellness at home.

“Being active any at any age and of any activity is super important,” said Gramantik.

“If you can, even meditating two minutes a day is great for the mind, the body and the soul.”

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