I fell in love with spin while I was pregnant last year. Before then, I had only tried a handful of classes and didn’t really get the cult following and mostly complained about my butt being sore from the seat.
But when I actually gave it a chance (since it was the only workout that I really felt safe doing with a growing belly), I saw what all the hype was about.
I loved that it was a heart-pumping workout that was easy on my joints, that I could easily track my progress over time and that it was fun to do while hitting the beat of energizing music. I reached my best endurance level fitness during those nine months.
I was so excited to get back to it after giving birth, but when the pandemic kept us all out of the gym, I missed it a lot. I considered buying a Peloton but just couldn’t commit to the price point when I wasn’t sure I wanted to devote all of my workouts to spinning. So when I came across MYXfitness, which would bring spin into my home for almost half the price, I was intrigued to say the least. I learned that the in-home studio was much more than simply a spin workout — it provided the recovery my body was craving.
Cost and equipment
The company calls it a "home studio" and that’s definitely what you get. For $1499, you not only get a spin bike with a touch-screen monitor, but a Polar heart rate monitor, resistance band, three sets of dumbbells, a kettle bell, a foam roller and a large exercise floor mat. (If you already have some gym equipment of your own, you can also opt for just the bike and HR monitor for $1299). The membership is $29/month, and includes access to hundreds of on-demand workouts (with new workouts added weekly), creation of up to five profiles, and heart rate monitoring and tracking.
For comparison: The Peloton Bike+, which is comparable in features, costs $2495 for the bike and $2695 for the bike, weights and mat and a pair of spin shoes with a monthly membership fee of $39.
What the program entails
The offering is really robust. The main workout categories include bike, floor, recovery and cross-training. There are bike-only, strength-only and recovery-only routines, but also tons of workouts that combine some or all, which is a nice way to keep things interesting for those who want a more diverse workout routine.
Once in a specific category, you can filter down even more by coach, workout duration, level, type of exercise and music. The companion app allows you to see all of the class offerings and schedule one from your phone with an additional option to add it to your calendar. (You can also stream classes from the app if you are away from your bike.)
Before you begin working out, there are short intro videos that help you set up the bike so it is customized to your body. So if you’re new to spin, they walk you through how to adjust handle bars and seat to your height, plus how to set up and sync the heart rate monitor. I found these instructional videos super straight forward and I had the bike completely set up within 10 minutes.
I was impressed by how all of the little details were thought through to make it as seamless as possible to use the equipment, like a slot in the back of the screen to charge your heart rate monitor and the swivel feature that allows you to easily swing the monitor left or right so you can see it from your mat for floor routines.
The classes are guided by the heart rate monitor, which calculates calories burned and heart rate activity in real time. It even saves your calorie expenditure and heart rate history so you can track your progress over time. During the classes, your heart rate will fall into one of three zones and the teachers coach you on how to transition between them.
I started with a 20-minute calibration ride to set myself up. With a tap of the heart rate icon, it’s really simple to connect the monitor (and also Bluetooth headphones if you choose) at the start of every class. I was led through different intensities throughout the ride and guided to keep myself within a heart rate range so that the bike could specify personalized numbers that fit my level. They suggest doing a calibration ride to adjust your zones every few weeks, since they can change as your fitness level improves.
My legs were burning within just a few minutes of the calibration ride. It’s crazy how you can be well conditioned in other types of workouts (when I box, I push myself to my limits and can keep up with instructors), but introducing novelty back into my routine fired up my muscles in different ways. By the end, I was out of breath and my legs were burning.
After calibrating my heart rate zones, I opted for a "20-Minute Pop 2K Climb" ride. (Yes, I chose it mostly based off the music genre.) It was short and sweet, but certainly made my legs feel heavy — plus, I burned 230 calories in just 20 minutes, which isn’t too shabby. I finished up with a 10-minute stretch, which I absolutely loved. The routine featured really unique stretches that got deep into my muscles in just 10 minutes. I liked seeing my heart rate trending downward during the stretch and stabilize back to Zone 1, and it really reduced some of my anxiety and stress levels.
The next day, I decided to be ambitious and try a "60-Minute Ride, Tone and Restore" class so I could get a taste of the cross-training offerings on the platform. I looked forward to a class that wasn’t focused on all one mode of exercise, and hopping off the bike for a weight-training session really kept it interesting. This workout was everything in one: a HIIT ride for cardio, full-body toning with a weighted floor routine for strength training and then yoga and stretching for the last 15 minutes. The hour flew by doing three completely different workouts, which wasn’t as daunting as doing a whole hour on the bike.
I liked how the instructor provided progressions and modifications so you could really tailor the movements to your body and fitness level. I will say it felt less intense than some of the other workouts I've been doing at home. I wasn't out of breath or sweating, but when I looked over at my heart rate, I was creeping up into Zone 3 territory for portions of it, which made me realize that I don’t have to be completely fatiguing my muscles to be getting a good cardio workout during a strength-training session.
The following week, I was having a rough morning, so I forced my grumpy self to give a meditation class a try. I poured myself a cup of coffee and settled into a seated position for “Meditation for a Bad Mood.” Was I still tired and sick of the accumulating snow outside? Yes. But the sound meditation that used a breathing and humming technique left me feeling calmer, more centered and in a positive head space. I just felt more alert and ready to hop into my work day than I normally do.
I've only skimmed the surface of the workout offerings, but I am really looking forward to drilling down more into specific routines (the neck/shoulder and self-care stretch are speaking to me at the moment and there's a '90s hip-hop ride that has my name all over it).
It was a very personalized experience that's not about fitting into a box the workout creates for you.
What I liked
A previous fitness review on TMRW had this to say about Peloton: “Worth it? Maybe if you really love spinning or biking!” The difference with MYXfitness is that with a more affordable price point and a large library of workouts from which to choose, you don’t have to be obsessed with spin to enjoy it. Yes, you should enjoy incorporating a few rides a week if you spring for the system — after all, you will have a bike in your house — but you don’t have to be obsessed with biking to make it worth it.
The best part about the product for me is the personalized and safe approach to fitness.
I loved to see a whole section devoted to recovery, which wasn’t only stretching but also foam rolling, yoga and sound bath meditations. This is an area I'm often disappointed with in other apps and programs, and here the offerings are robust. From meditations for sleep, anxiety and curing a bad mood to stretch routines for shin splints, menstrual cramps, indigestion and low back pain — if you have an ailment, there is a likely a recovery routine for you. As a mom, I loved seeing a special prenatal and postnatal program tutorial, too.
You can tell the trainers really understand body mechanics and give lots of modifications throughout every exercise to make sure it feels good for your body. I liked that the calorie burn and zone output is based on my own body's reaction and not a general algorithm. Using your own heart rate as a guide really encourages you to be present in your body. It was a very personalized experience that really feels like you’re doing what's right for you, not like your forcing yourself to fit into a box the workout creates for you.
What I didn’t like
The feel of the videos is calmer than the classes I’m typically drawn to] (think: dark lighting, blasting music, trainers moving quickly through the workout). I did miss that push and would still do my boxing and HIIT workouts outside of the system in order to get that hardcore workout I crave. That being said, I felt like my body was well taken care of during the workouts. Usually, I leave a workout still amped up with my muscles feeling tight, but here I felt calm afterward.
This made me realize that there is room in my routine for workouts that take a lighter approach. I definitely felt like I was working out safely and within my limits when using MYX and "caring" for my body instead of beating it up, but I'm not ready to give up the tougher workouts yet either.
Unlike the in-studio spin classes I loved that were based around RPMs (how fast you’re going) and watts (your power combined with RPMs), this is based solely off your heart rate. I found it hard sometimes to keep my heart rate in the zone the instructor wanted us in, and I also missed having those other metrics that are so quintessential to guiding my ride.
I was also missing a competitive or community aspect; there’s no leader board like you’ll see in other spin programs. For some, that may be a positive. Personally, I missed the motivating competitive spirit and feeling of having others pushing themselves along side of me.
Some of the instructors also got a bit too “preachy” for me. I appreciate a bit of motivational speak, but like to have a little more high energy and tough love thrown in. There were a few more positive mantras than I preferred.
I’d recommend this workout to:
- People who like zone-based workouts like Orange Theory
- Anyone who has been off the fitness bandwagon for a while and wants to get back on safely
- People who don’t want a one-size-fits-all plan and prefer a workout tailored to them
- Those who like spin, but also want a more well-rounded routine
- Anyone looking for a cheaper alternative to Peloton with many of the same bells and whistles
- People starting from scratch who want an easy way to build a home gym