Friday, August 29, 2014

Spinning Studio Tour- Vie Fitness and Spa

Last Friday morning, I popped in for a Spinning class at Vie Fitness and Spa (at their Ashley St. location, one of two locations in Ann Arbor). This, as you might remember, is part of my quest to learn about different Spinning studios in the area and craft my own personal style as an instructor. Vie was my first stop on my Spinning Studio tour, and boy did it set the bar high! Here's the scoop on my experience with Vie:

Studio Name: Vie Fitness & Spa
Studio Location: 209 S. Ashley St, Ann Arbor
Owned by: Heather Dupis & Lauren Casanova
Instructor/Class attended: Maia @ 6am on Friday
Pricing: $$ (out of $$$) (can attend 1 free trial class)
1 drop-in $18
8 class pass $13/class
24 classes $11/class
Workout rating (1-10): 8
Class availability (1-10): 10- hugely available schedule! Each weekday offers several morning options, a lunchtime class, as well as several afternoon/evening classes!

Overall, this is one classy studio! When you walk in, it's definitely a spa-like feel. The space itself is two stories, and houses a juice bar, Personal Training, yoga space, Pilates, Barre classes & more, treadmills, weights, as well as the Spinning space AND a Spa featuring massage, nail care, and facials & body waxing- WOW!

The Spinning "studio" section is somewhat self contained, and a very unique set-up. The Spinning cycles are set up in a group, like you might imagine in any typical studio, but since the space is a tight fit, the cycles are not in their own self-contained room- they're next to several treadmills & other equipment.

Vie has a very inventive way to help Spinning students feel that they're in a class of their own, while not disrupting other gym-goers: headphone jacks suspended from the ceiling above each cycle. Vie provides the headphones, and you plug in to your own individual line. The instructor is up-front, and instead of having a massive sound system, her microphone & music is piped directly into your ears! It's almost like listening to a personal Spinning podcast! During the class, the instructor Maia was up on a podium, leading the way, and we could all still see the techniques she was demonstrating, but this way, other Vie members can get a non-Spin workout in without having to hear dat thumping bass and a bellowing instructor. Cool, huh?

The pricing at Vie seems fair- they have an a la carte system, which is nice; you only pay for what you choose to take advantage of! I was able to get in a free ride, which they offer if you're trying the studio for the first time (as many gyms offer). Their drop-in price for a single class seems a bit steep ($18), but if you buy any class packages, the price quickly becomes comparable to many of the other studios in the area ($11-13, depending on how many classes you buy).

As far as instructor style goes, I definitely enjoyed Maia. Since the class set-up was a bit different, it took a few minutes to get used to her relatively calm, collected voice guiding me, vs. an instructor quasi-shouting over the music. It was a bit more of a chill vibe, and I definitely enjoyed that, especially during an AM class when I was still waking up! That being said, Maia had good energy, the song selection kept my legs workin', and she was very good at sharing directions and what was coming up around the bend.

I definitely left with a good solid butt-kicking workout. While I liked the innovative aspect of the drop-down individual headphone jacks, (and I think it works well for Vie's purposes), they cut out the opportunity for riders to interact with each other and for the instructor to call out group response questions, which I like (both as a rider and an instructor). The headphones & speaker system created a very personalized Spinning experience, which is a positive, but I found that it diminished the communal support feelings of group ride that Spinning classes usually provide inherently.

Take-away lessons for me as an Instructor: 
  • Liked the chill music Maia selected- helped to create a great vibe
  • Appreciated the clear direction about the upcoming moves, and how to adjust the bike accordingly
  • Maia's calm, focused approach influenced my ride to be more calm and focused
  • Could have used a bit more in terms of interaction with students, but that's tough when there is intentional noise-reduction.

Thanks Vie Fitness & Spa! A great workout, a swanky setting; proof that a classy and boutique-feel studio can provide relatively affordable, energizing Spinning classes.

*All reviews are my own personal opinion, based on my one experience at Vie Fitness & Spa. My views do not reflect the views of 1 on 1 Athletic Club, they are just my personal 2 cents! I have not been compensated by Vie for this review, nor did I receive any benefits, financial or otherwise, for my review of their studio*