What if every day is the perfect day to finally be exactly who you were always meant to be?

Me: “ Emily, i’m coming to your class tomorrow morning”
Emily: “ OH MY GOSH, ME TOO!”
I’ve spent countless minutes trying to decide how to write and share this post on Emily, because to me, it is quite impossible to sum up the incredibly vitality of her being in a single blog post. Emily is the best friend you didn’t know you were missing, she is the person who greets you with such unfettered childlike excitement each time she sees you.. just picture that cliched airport reunion scene.. that’s what seeing Emily is like EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Things I know about Emily:
she will keep you smiling through all of those tender moments in life.. ( for those of you tending to a broken heart, just ask her about her ability to nurse you back to health via an impromptu throw down of open arms by creed ( it's like karaoke, but much, much better)
"never has she ever owned a pace rival skirt" 
she is the only motivator I know who can bring an entire room of strangers together to hold hands and do the wave ( every class, guaranteed)
she has the ability to turn the most common daily occurrence into something magical ( just provide her with a bag of pop rocks, I dare you!)
she will never forget your name, favourite slurpee flavour, and the thing you love most about yourself
she loves day ( or month) old bananas and will spend her hard earned acrobatic dollars purchasing a single banana from Starbucks because that’s where they keep the best ones ( aka the ones that nobody else wanted to buy)
she is beautiful.. and I don’t mean this merely in a physical capacity. Emily has the ability to turn the tumultuous moments of life ( tooth ache, heart ache, bone break) into simply another moment to reflect, learn, and start over. ( If you’ve taken a class with her you know exactly what I mean when I say this)
she has unfailingly committed herself to the pursuit of her utmost dream, and that my friends, is something that many of us are too afraid to even ponder the thought of
she will be leaving us soon to embark once again on a dazzling and absolutely individualistic journey across the world. 
I could ramble on and on about Emily, but instead, I sat down with her to dig a little deeper into how and why she has chosen to commit a moment of her wild and precious life to the hustle and bustle of motivating at YYC Cycle.
Besides your Safeway prowling and resulting infatuation with Neil, what motivated you to walk through the doors of YYC Cycle?
I had been battling an injury that prevented me from anything high-impact. My close girlfriend, Hillary, suggested I try spin at YYC, so we went together. Until then, I was a self-proclaimed spin expert after attending a handful of clunky sneaker feet slide-in shoe-cage classes with shitty ACDC mash-ups at my local gym. 
Being greeted by three of Calgary's dreamiest dreamboats had me immediately hooked, before Amelia and her bright floral pants and disco lights took me on a wild adventure ride. I think I blacked out, but obviously loved it enough to come back. Grady handing me a chilled, citrus infused face towel post-class sure didn’t hinder my instant infatuation.
Why did and do you choose to spin at YYC ( over other facilities) and what aspect of the bikergang do you find the most compelling?
After retiring from a life of competitive athletics, my fitness routine (and heart!) lacked a sense of team. The community, the relationships I’ve made and continue to make - with fellow motivators, staff members, and riders alike - is what makes YYC Cycle so important to me.
Where do you spin? ( Marda, Kensington, or Avenida), and what factor(s) decide which studio you lend your time to?
When I first started spinning and motivating, Kensington was the only YYC Cycle studio in town (circa Calgary community spin room wallpaper - remember that?). Once Marda Loop opened its doors, I split my classes between the two locations to A. keep it interesting and B. make more friends (duh). Since being back in Calgary, I’ve been primarily motivating at Marda Loop, but try to pick up classes at all three. I love how each studio has its own unique feel and attracts a different crowd.
When is your favourite time to spin? What advice would you give others who find it difficult to find the motivation or time to include spin in their schedule?
One of the things I love most about spin is how easy it is to incorporate into your fitness routine. YYC offers a variety of class times throughout the week. Regardless of your schedule, you should be able to commit yourself to a 50 minute class at some point in your day. If you’re not a morning person, I dare you to try one of Neil’s 6am classes and get back to me. He’s like the spin class equivalent of a Pringles can... Have I mentioned I’m obsessed with Neil?
My advice for anyone who is struggling with motivation is to find a spin friend, or even your favourite motivator, to keep you accountable! Turn it into a fun challenge, like “I’m going to attend x classes per week for the month of July”, or take part in one of the studio-run initiatives like the Passport to Summer!
How do you maintain balance between your acrobatic and banana filled days and your position as a motivator? 
Fitness has always been at the top of my priority list; a way for me to escape, unwind, and take some time for myself. When I was living and working full-time in Calgary, finding at least one hour a day to sweat was what kept me sane. Keeping things variable with other forms of exercise is important to round out your routine, and - for people like me - to prevent boredom. 
One of my biggest challenges was trying to find time for both working out and time for friends. Post-competitive athletics and pre-Group Fitness discovery, I had always worked out alone. Although I do enjoy the solitude and kicking my own butt at times, YYC is such a stellar spot to meet friends with at least one common interest. Branching out and trying something new with a friend is a perfect way to merge both aspects of your life - two birds, one stone!
For now, before I set sail on another adventure, I’m trying to strike a balance between spinning as much as I can, spending time with family and loved ones, resting, and training for my upcoming contract. Taking 10 months off the bike and away from this community really made it clear how much I love this place and these people. I am so grateful to always be welcomed back with such warmth and love. YYC Cycle will always be my home.
Lastly, approximately how many times do you think you say the word “tinder” in each spin class?
One average, twice* per class.
(*Excluding the infamous 'Bad Tinder Date' themed Valentine's Day 2014 playlist.)

And so my bikergang, I will leave you this this. Find that idea, that spark of motivation, that undeniable urge to live a life full of drive and passion, and once you find it, love it, nurture it, and keep it safe. The ability to surround yourself with people who motivate and support you is the single most important thing you can do for yourself. Nobody is going to dream your dreams for you, but I promise that immersing yourself among people who believe in you and motivate you will result in an undeniable urge to live the life you have been secretly wishing you could live.

Emily, may you dream big, live fully, and continue to inspire all of us as you dive your way across the universe <3.

Break a leg my friend, ( not a heel though).


Justtttt Rollaxin'

Ola Bikergang!

Well, it’s finally happened .. I’ve spin-jured myself ( get it!). I suppose this is due to my own stubborn nature and my refusal to believe that my knee pain was something more serious than a slight discomfort when I stepped out of bed in the morning. .. and I guess my decision to continue to spin despite this pain was likely a poor life choice ( should have listened to you Dion!) It really is true what they say you know.. if you listen to your body when it whispers, you won’t have to hear it scream. And hey, guess what? It is only when you choose to neglect that whisper for too long does the Universe step in and decide to turn up the volume.

This all being said, spin isn’t the direct cause of my injury. If anything, continuing to spin with a knee cap that felt as though it were about to pop off was only the cherry on top of a lifestyle spent overindulging in too many fitness classes, and was only compounded by my decision to lend a deaf ear to my chiropractors advice in terms of rest, rehabilitation, and injury prevention. How often do you visit your preferred physiotherapist or chiropractor and readily agree to do all of the exercises they have recommended for you and then go home and do absolutely nothing? Hands up!! I realized yesterday that my foam roller is still in the trunk of my car, the exact place I left it almost a year ago when I moved into my current apartment… whoops.

All of this in mind, I would like to take a brief moment to reintroduce the blog and to state my intention regarding the information I share with you. This blog is for you. It is here to motivate and challenge you. Together we will dive into the science behind spin mechanics ( so the next time Erin and Nate tell you to push your heels back you understand why). We will explore the relationship between diet, exercise, and motivation. And most importantly we will learn not to judge, but rather to  support one another regardless of our personal health goals and lifestyles. Perhaps you spin because you want to work up a pre-brunch appetite, and perhaps you do not, and in either way, it doesn’t matter.
This blog is not here to change you. You are already perfect. It is here to motivate and encourage you to embrace the lifestyle that fulfills you and keeps you smiling. Here at YYC Cycle we are in the business of connection, and I will do my best to connect you with the information you need in order to guide you along your personal path to wellness. With growth comes change, so get ready to be challenged, to break your habitual lifestyle, and to be open to mystery!  Let’s begin with a simple challenge- for the month of June I ask that you try at least one new teacher or class time at YYC ( have you seen the new YYC passport? It’s your personal ticket to spin paradise!)
So here my fellow spin enthusiasts is where I ask you- are you listening to your body and ensuring that you take the time to indulge in self care following those many pumps and dips? Perhaps you’re in the camp of bikergang members like Marco, Christine, Alison, and Taryn and your go to is an epsom salt filled soak in the tub, or maybe you’re just like Laura Berg and you prefer to dip into the pool of cold pressed juice and restorative yoga. How many of you choose to use your foam roller as your go to post-spin method of restoration? Nobody? Thought so.

And so, mostly because i'm great at finding anything to do except use my foam roller when I have spare time, and i'm just itching to get back on the bike, I have made the commitment to attend at least one rollax class per week. What's rollax you ask? There's only one way to find out! You can choose to join me as I stalk Justin Tan at either Junction 9 on Monday evenings at 7:15, or at Yoga Santosha on Sunday afternoons at 2:00 pm to engage in a little rollaxin’ ( quite possibly the most unrelaxing experience ever). After dragging Kyle to class on Sunday afternoon I reached out to Justin to see which body parts he suggests you introduce to your foam roller in order to keep that spin bod well maintained. ( FYI: I am going to directly quote Justin on this for fear of misinterpreting what he says and causing all of you more pain than intended).

Justin, what do you believe to be the the body parts that require attention after a spin class?

“Hard to say the best muscles as spin is pretty all encompassing. Dependant on the individual we could spend time rolling the erectors of the spine, or into the upper trap and shoulder complex. However most commonly the go to muscles to open up post spin would be the hip flexor Tensor Fascia Latta (TFL), quadriceps mm focus on lateral quad, hamstring complex focus on bicep femoris, glute complex (Maximus and Med). Would also consider spending time into the shin (tibialis anterior) and calf complex (gastrocnemius and soleus)”

… and if none of that made sense to you then just join me on the mat next weekend :)

That’s all for now, but please reach out to me with your questions, send me any information that you believe would benefit your fellow biker gang members, and look out for a fun new feature each month. Let’s do this together, change can be scary but what’s life without a little excitement?


“And suddenly you know: It's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”

I wish I knew how to be patient, like they do. I wish I could push harder and stand taller every time I’m shoved and pressured and slammed against immovable forces too strong to fight. I wish I knew the taste of clouds, still swollen from rainfall.


Hello my favourite bikergang,

Well, there is nothing like a minor surgery to make you stop and reconsider everything you’ve ever believed to be constant in your life. With my minor surgery came an overwhelming sense of doubt, doubt in the path i’ve chosen in life, doubt in the relationships i've created, doubt in regards to my self worth, and ultimately, an overwhelming emotional response to my vanity. With this sudden insurgence of doubt I also discovered a second component in my life that I hold to be my absolute saving grace.. and that my friends, is refuge.

Have you ever stopped to consider why you chose YYC over the numerous other fitness facilities available in Calgary? I have, and do continue to question why I am so undeniably committed and loyal to our beloved spin studio. This thought process got me wondering, what exactly do I love about YYC Cycle, and what truly keeps me motivated to return week after week?

In the Buddhist tradition it is understood that as individuals we are summoned to find refuge in three simple places: the Buddha ( wisdom), the Dharma ( truth), and the Sangha ( community), and to my understanding, of these three places of refuge, it is the Sangha that provides us with an undeniable sense of comfort, community, and ultimately, a sense of belonging. When I realized this, I intrinsically knew that the reason I love YYC so much is not only because of the incredible motivators , or the passion and energy of the staff, but of the feeling of complete contentment that washes over me every time I enter those doors ( even when i’m swollen and puffy faced from a super fun surgery). Well, all of this got me thinking, if I feel this way.. maybe others do as well. And so here, I offer you a small glimpse into the life and remarkable transformation of one of these above mentioned motivators, Kyle Williams.

Read on :)

Kyle Williams has made the unbelievable journey from a tumultuous life riddled with addiction to a path of wellness, health, and a commitment to the breaking of societal stigma around addiction. If you haven't yet had a chance to check out one of Kyle's classes I suggest you do, you just never know what change it may spark in you.

Kyle, what originally motivated you to walk through the doors of YYC Cycle?

I first came to YYC Cycle when I was still working at a nightclub. The classes worked with my schedule and groups of us would go and get a good sweat on. I was hooked. I think in my first two week intro package I went everyday if not twice a day. I think it was a chance occurrence that YYC happened to be the first spin class I ever went to, but the sense of community is what kept me coming back. Even if I went a month without spin, walking back through those doors always brought a sigh of relief and feeling of being home.

… and what keeps you coming back?

I think it just happened to be chance that YYC was the first spin studio I ever went to. I had plenty of friends that went to other classes at different facilities. The thing that I find compelling about the bikergang is that it's such a strong family. The support is undying but there is also a level of competitiveness that comes along with it. I'm a competitive guy and I am always trying to push myself; the bikergang is a safe place to do that. Whether I'm teaching or taking a class, there are always people around you expecting that you're giving it your all and I think the "all in this together" kind of attitude is part of what made me want to be a motivator.

What do you find unique about each studio?

I spin all over. I love all three studios for different reasons. KNST is kind of a more intimate setting, I like its rustic and original feel. MARDA is close to home for me and most of my friends spin there. AVDA is my home studio, I was brought on when it first opened and I feel like the music blasts there and classes always sound so good. You can catch me at MARDA for 7AM classes on Thursdays and twice Fridays down at Avenida. I try to pick up as many classes as I can though.

When is your favourite time to spin? What advice would you give others who find it difficult to find the motivation or time to include spin in their schedule?

I often thought that I was strictly a morning spinner. But now that I've been teaching evening and afternoon classes I've realized that anytime is a good time to get on the bike for a sweat. With the amount of classes that YYC Cycle offers it's hard to not be able to fit it in. I would say step out of your comfort zone and try a new motivator. Or someone you haven't tried in a while. Constantly pursue your favourite class... it's out there.

Lastly, how do you maintain balance between life on and off of the bike?

I feel like I'm the wrong person to be asking about balance. I am constantly on the go and very much of that seems to be on the bike. Whether it's hustling to work on my fixie, training to ride from St. John's to Vancouver or teaching a class, my life is often observed from the saddle. I wouldn't have it any other way though.

Kyle Williams

You can catch Kyle on the bike or learn more about his incredible journey here: https://www.gofundme.com/ghdf7k-aspire-to-inspire

Until next time,


It's ok.

It's ok to find art in completely ordinary places. It's ok to make it when you can't find it. It's ok to see the world in a way that makes you feel lucky to be in it. It's ok to be in love with every single thing around you. It's ok to wait. It's ok to hurt. It's ok to feel joy pulsing so fiercely through your body you can hear its heartbeat out loud. It's ok to not be able to find patience to get out of bed each morning you are so excited to live. It's ok to lie there and wish you never had to leave the sheets. There are no wrong answers here, no rules beyond this: Be kind to everyone and everything, and give yourself away.
It's ok.
Tyler Knott Gregson.

Hello my beautiful bikergang friends,

You may have noticed that the classes at YYC Cycle are becoming busier as each day passes. How great is this? New friends!!!! As the incredible poet above gently reminds us, it's ok, (and absolutely encouraged) to make the effort to introduce yourself to, and to make the new bikergang members feel welcome. Rather than becoming frustrated at the fact that somebody took "your" bike ( I too am guilty of this instant reaction), make the effort to go meet that person. You already have one thing in common ( shared love for that fave seat), who knows what other common features you share! Get curious :) And if you're feeling extra daring, find a new friend at spin and invite them over to whip up some of these delicious treats, let's stop that pre spin hanger one protein ball at a time. 

The post below is courtesy of our very own bikergang member Amy Karl, perhaps you've seen her in the studio a time or two!

Protein Bars: The Do’s and Don’ts

Snacking. Most of us need a snack mid morning, mid day, before bed or post workout. But, most of us don't want to think of, or make an extra snack to add to the Tupperware meals that we’ve already packed for the workday.

This is when protein bars really come in handy. They're convenient,

easy to pack and usually quite tasty. However, there are dozens of so

called "healthy" protein bars on the market that are basically candy

bars in disguise. Here are a few things to look out for when you're

deciding on a protein snack bar.

First, decide if it’s a snack or a meal replacement. Some of these

bars pack close to 400 calories. That's almost as many calories as a

meal. If you'd rather eat real food for your meals and use a bar to

fill in the gaps, aim for a bar with around 200 calories or less.

Next, check out the sugar content. 30 grams of sugar is way too much. It doesn't matter if it states "naturally sweetened". It's all converted to sugar in the body. Look for bars with no more than 10 g of sugar. Also, don’t be fooled by things sweetened with agave nectar or date paste as the first ingredient, its still sugar. Plus since it’s one of the first few ingredients, there’s A LOT of it.

Then look for real food ingredients. There are some bars that have only four to five ingredients. These are the best choices. Can you easily identify these foods? Or, are they processed and manufactured by food companies? The best options will have 4-6 ingredients. On the other end of the spectrum are bars with 27 ingredients! Yes, they exist.

Finally, check out the protein content. I find it odd when I see a so called “protein bar” with less than 6 grams of protein. Protein helps to keep us satiated and our blood sugar a stable. A snack is much more likely to get you through the time until your next meal, if it includes protein. The proteins that are best used in bars are whey protein, brown rice or other plant based proteins like pea or rice and seeds like such as hemp and chia.

Trying to make more of your own food? Try the simple, quick and delicious recipe for homemade protein ballz below.

Chocolate Coconut Protein Ballz


2 -scoops Whey or vegan Chocolate Protein Powder

4 tbsp. Almond Butter

2 tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

2 tbsp. Raw Organic Honey

2 tbsp. Unsweetened Shredded Coconut + 1 tsp. reserved for coating balls

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 tbsp. Dark Chocolate Chips, coarsely chopped


1.Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.

2.Roll into balls approximately 1.5" in size.

3.Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Makes 4-6 servings

If you listen to your body when it whispers, you won't have to hear it scream.

Hi Bikergang!

How have you been holding up?

When I decided to contribute to to this blog I did so with the intention of building an outlet for the bikergang family to access valuable information that would contribute to a healthy body and mind both on and off of the bike. One of the most important and valuable lessons I have learned through this process is that I (and we) MUST listen to our bodies. If your body is begging for rest, then rest, or if you have a nagging pain that just won’t quit, go see a professional.

With that theme in mind, the blog posting below is from our very own YYC motivator and yoga instructor Laura Berg. Read on to discover why aligning your body both physically and mentally is crucial to maintaining health as you hop on and off of that bike.

Let’s talk about alignment baby…

Why do YYC Motivators repeatedly say things like:

Chest Up, Shoulders Down, Core Tight, Back Straight…?

In addition to the importance of proper bike setup, your posture during your ride is equally important to both protect your body and maximize your workout. Motivators cue proper body alignment throughout classes because we want you to be aware of your body, ride safe preventing injury, and continue getting stronger.

As a yoga teacher I was trained to speak to what I see when I teach – this translates to cueing as a Motivator and I also speak to myself at the same time when I am cueing in classes. We Mo’s are hustling just as hard as you. Including myself when I start to get tired, the first thing that typically goes awry is your alignment. So that is why we cue the heck out of proper posture.

The most common thing I see is a hunched back. The reality is we are constantly hunched over and out of proper alignment in our day-to-day lives, driving, working at computers, while we eat, cook, clean. It is so important to use exercise as mindful movement to counter all that hunching. You want exercise to improve your posture and spine health, not make it worse.

Another thing I commonly see in yoga and spin is dangling heads. For the health of your neck, keep you head up – treat your neck always as an extension of your spine, keep yourself aligned from your tailbone to the crown of your head. You don’t want your neck jolting forward.

If you ever notice you are struggling to keep your back flat, chest or head up, that is a sign to take a seat, take a few deep breathes and re-set yourself for success. If you are hunched over, your core is not engaged. A strong core will improve and maintain proper posture – an awesome side effect is a more toned tummy! Ultimately our “core” is our spine, and our spine health is so important to our longevity, to our mobility and to elevate our quality of life.

I would rather riders’ sit down than cause themselves back, neck or joint pain. You might not feel something class one, but you could very well feed injury if you don’t focus on proper alignment when you ride. I like to say focus on building strength and not pain. Be patient and try to listen carefully to the Motivators cuing.

Ultimately spin is primarily a lung and leg workout but it is also an opportunity to strengthen your core and spine. Remember the handlebars are more for balance and stability; they are not where you should be putting your weight. I always say more resistance is better than less. Find your edge with each beat and always be challenging

your legs, that goodness will trickle up to challenge your core and as long as you prioritize your alignment, you will prevent back and neck pain, and improve your posture.

Another few things to note, I can never say enough the important of our breath. When it comes to exercise and mindful movement #1 is your BREATH, #2 SPINE, #3 CORE, #4 move from your largest joints – HIPS and SHOULDERS. Breathe deep and slow as much as possible, through your nose and out your mouth. Keep your shoulders arms and hands loose and relaxed. Then focus on what’s going on with your belly and spine. Keep your abs tight as much as possible, also important for the health of your hips.

Browse the YYC Cycle website and click the “Learn” tab for more information about Bike Set, Spin Etiquette and FAQs.

See you on the bike gang,



Laura Berg is an YYC Motivator, Yoga Teacher, Holistic Nutrition Consultant, District Manager of Cru Juice Inc. and Founder of Nourish Sweat Soul – an apparel and education brand encouraging us to shop mindfully and conscientiously. LB has a passion for educating others about the impact of what we put in our bodies, on our bodies and how our choices also affect the lives of people, animals and our environment.

Check out Nourish Sweat Soul - eco-friendly, ethical and sustainable apparel at Market Collective March 25-26th. You can also find Nourish Sweat Soul apparel at Cru Juice locations. To connect with LB or for inquiries about nutrition workshops or to get eco-friendly, ethical and sustainable clothes branded for your business, contact lb@nourishsweatsoul.com.


To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

Oscar Wilde.

Ola Bikergang!

If you’ve been following along with these monthly ramblings then you’re well aware of my suggestion that we make an effort to kick our habitual patterns, be mindful of our spin etiquette, and be totally present in each spin class we attend. How’s it going? Have you managed to make a new friend or two yet? Or, have you been able to convince a loved one or partner to join you for a spin inspired sweat session? If not, what are you waiting for?

Speaking of loved ones, Valentines Day is quickly approaching and love is in the air! If you’ve already met your dream fella or lady, bravo! If not, why not head out to a spin class on February 14th..because you just never know who may end up sitting beside you in that hot sweaty spin room … ooh lala.

In an effort to keep up with my 2017 intention of love, and with whole body health in mind, I contacted the lovely ladies at The Gut Lab and asked them to share a secret or two on loving yourself, and your guts in particularly. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but your gut and your brain are in a relationship, and you need to keep both of them happy in order to maintain that healthy bod. That being said, your challenge for this month is a simple one- to love yourself. If you haven’t made the commitment to your health and wellbeing yet then perhaps it’s time to ask yourself why? Because, as Annie Dillard put it- how we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives, and what better way to spend a life than with an abundance of self love?

Love yourself, accept yourself, forgive yourself, and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.
Dr. Leo Buscaglia
Professor, Author

… and if you can’t find it in you to love that reflection in the mirror just yet, then why not begin by loving this soup.. because your guts will sure love it and your brain will eventually follow suit :)

Grandma's Borscht- Courtesy of The Gut Lab

2 L The Gut Lab Chicken Bone Broth
2 cups organic crushed tomatoes with juice
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup shredded carrots
2 cups shredded beets
1/2 cup diced mushrooms
2 medium yellow onion- chopped
himalayan salt + pepper to taste
organic milk kefir or plain organic yogurt to serve

This soup brings us back. It reminds us of our grandmother, who used to make it, then our mother after her, using her own home made bone broth as a base. If I close my eyes the taste + smell takes me right back to eating this as a little girl- bowl, after bowl, after bowl.

1. in batches, add all veg (minus onion + mushroom) to food processor until shredded to small pieces.
2. saute all veg in large pot with coconut oil until tender yet firm. (may have to do in batches also depending on pot size)
3. add TGL chicken bone broth + crushed tomatoes. simmer for another 15-20 minutes. add s + p to taste.
4. serve with organic milk kefir or plain organic yogurt.
tip: if you like your borscht a little thicker, whisk in a little arrowroot powder!

You can check out more about these incredible sisters at their website: http://www.thegutlab.ca.


Spinning in the New Year.

Oh life.
Thank you
for your beauty.
Thank you
for reminding me
how lucky we are
to be part
of something
so big.

-Tyler Knott Gregson-

Happy January Bikergang!

And just like that, 2017 has landed on our doorstep. With a new year comes promises of new beginnings, new challenges, and ultimately, change. I don’t know about you, but I find change to be one of the most constant and difficult things to embrace. It seems as though life is constantly whirling us around, and trying to tip our usual sense of balance - merely to see if we are paying attention.. and sometimes that means we fall right on our faces. But hey, what’s life without a little tumble now and then? 

Speaking of change, i'm sure you've noticed a variety of new names pop up on the YYC schedule. Please join me in welcoming the Avenida motivators to the bikergang family, (and obviously go check out this beautiful brand new studio!) If you haven't had a chance to book a class at Avenida, then look out for these fresh faces as they sub in at both Marda Loop and Kensington. Also, keep in in mind that as January rolls out, so will an outpouring of new bikergang members. Be nice! Introduce yourself, smile…or perhaps just be willing to meet the eyes of a stranger. Here's an idea, LET’S ALL BE FRIENDS! 

I know that you are already aware of the sign up policy (you are not permitted to cross off a bike for anyone but yourself...and I know that you wouldn't dare bring your phone into the spin room).. but should you need a refresher on all things etiquette-related, please read on!

At YYC Cycle we believe in creating a very positive and safe environment for everyone. Our guidelines help us to achieve this:

At YYC Cycle we believe in creating a very positive environment for our students. Check out our guidelines below:

Shoes. Please take your shoes off at the front door. At check-in, you will be provided with a pair of spin shoes. Please do not wear these shoes outside of the spin room! They are VERY slippery on the concrete floors.

Work. Come ready to work… and get really, really sweaty! If you begin to feel faint or exhausted, slow down (but don’t stop), and wait for the class to finish. In case of emergency, please make eye contact with the Motivator to let them know whether or not you require assistance.

Early. Aim to arrive 15 minutes before class. If you are not in the studio 15 minutes before the start time, your spot will be given to someone on the waitlist.

Appropriate clothing. Make sure you wear clean, appropriate workout attire. As we discovered in grade school… no one likes to be the stinky kid in class.

Talking. Please refrain from talking in the spin room as it is distracting to others ( this includes your cell phone, leave the texting and the instagram for after class please!)

.. and if none of that resonated with you, then I will simply leave you with this...

Go and make interesting mistakes,
make amazing
mistakes, make
glorious and fantastic
mistakes. Break rules.
Leave the world more
interesting for your
being here.

Neil Gaiman
2017, we're ready for you.

Locker Room Talk

Dear Bikergang,

Let’s have a locker room talk

Ok, so I am going to talk about some of the issues that can crop up downstairs when you spin like a maniac. You might have experienced it, or maybe you are shocked to discover that this happens to others. This problem is real and it can be quite bothersome. What am I talking about?

A chaffed crotch
Irritation of your skin in your crotch region
A swollen sebaceous gland or cyst

Is this just for ladies? Nope, dudes get it too.

I chatted with a few of the motivators at YYC Cycle, and we discovered that we had all experienced some sort of annoying crotch BS. We suspect that sitting on that bike seat in sweaty, tight workout gear might be to blame.

I wanted to get the 411 from a medical professional so after a chat with my family physician I decided I should relay this information to you.

When you have a sweaty, hot region of skin that rubs against another sweaty hot region of skin, irritation occurs. Sometimes it creates a minor abrasion of the skin that will go away after a couple days of rest from the activity. But, if you keep up with the activity, infection and further abrasion can occur. In some cases, a swollen sebaceous gland can form. What is this you ask?

According to the medical encyclopedia (https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000842.htm) a sebaceous cyst, also known as epidermal cyst is a closed sac of cells created under the skin into which a protein called keratin is secreted. These cysts are often the result of swollen hair follicles or skin trauma and are formed when the release of sebum, a medium-thick fluid produced by sebaceous glands in the skin, is blocked. They are harmless, often painless, slow-growing small bumps or lumps that move freely under the skin. And sebaceous cysts are usually found on the face, neck and trunk, but can occur anywhere on the body and even in the vaginal area or other parts of the genitalia of both women and men. In addition, acne could be a precursor to the growth of these sebaceous cysts.

My doctor said she would suggest a cream to bring down the swelling and help dry up the gland. She also said to never try to remove it or (gross) - extract it! Your body should eventually absorb the cyst, however a topical cream such as benzyl peroxide can help speed the process along.

So what to do about chaffing?

I found a miracle cream at Sport Check called “Skin Glide” and I swear by it. It has cut down the amount of chaffing I experience from spin to almost zero.
I also found that not wearing underwear decreases the amount of friction for the groin region (no undies party woop!).

What if I have chaffing or abrasions?

To limit the chances of bacteria growing or getting into any broken skin, here are some healthy practices to follow:

Change out of your sweaty workout bottoms immediately after class. Don't go for coffee, juice, or lunch until you have dry bottoms on!
If possible, shower as soon as you are able to rid your down south region of sweat, and bacteria
use an antibiotic ointment on the broken skin and avoid spinning if you can until the area has healed. Even 1 day off can make a huge difference
If you find any lumps or bumps, go to your doctor. Rule out STI’s (don’t worry, you CANNOT get STI’s from a bike seat) and address the swollen sebaceous gland with your doctor

Healthy habits to form regarding your workout clothes:

Wash your clothes as soon as possible. If you leave them in a plastic bag and you go to work, bacteria will continue to grow all day long. If you don’t have that option, try a fabric bag that breathes. Washing your clothes ASAP remains the best solution
Turn clothes inside out when washing
Spray a pre-soak or stain remover on areas that receive high friction - yes, the crotch of your workout pants. Stain removers are often tough enough to break down oils and sweat that trap odour and bacteria
Sniff test the clothes before putting them in the dryer. Otherwise you could ‘cook’ in the nasty smell with added heat
Add a cup of white vinegar to your wash, or baking soda to your wash. Vinegar kills bacteria and breaks down the natural oils left on your clothes. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer
Give workout clothes a sniff test after about 4-6 months. If they still wreak after the wash, it’s time to chuck them and buy new ones. Bacteria can hang around even after its been through a wash cycle. Plus, the oils in your skin mixed with your glorious natural musk and a generous amount of sweat creates quite a cocktail of EW!

If after reading all this you think to yourself “Wow, some people must really stink” well, its true. We do.

Let me know if you have other helpful tips to reduce ‘down there’ discomfort. mcandrews.cm@gmail.com
Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any discomfort that doesn't seem to go away.

Keep that crotch healthy and happy so you can spin forever!



To Yin, or to Spin?

Hey Bikergang!

By now you’ve surely adjusted to these dark mornings and chilly (almost) winter evenings. I personally believe that this is when the true commitment to your morning exercise routine kicks in. I know that the temptation to hit that snooze button and snuggle up to a loved one, pet, or a steaming mug of coffee can be quite alluring! I also know that there is nothing quite the same as beginning your day in the company of like-minded souls.

That being said, I do want you to know that it is quite alright to shake up your routine every so often. Do not commit to a 6 am spin class simply because it’s something you’ve always done. Rather, do it because your body is physically and mentally capable of blasting out that weight track. Remember that your body is your most intelligent possession, listen to it. If the extra hour of sleep and rejuvenation are what you need, - for one day or several days, then sleep, or relax in some other way (helloooo yin!). Do not run the risk of injury because of your innate fear of spin FOMO. And if you can't quite comprehend the notion of a morning without spin, then remember that YYC Cycle has so kindly expanded the schedule to include 7 am classes. Take advantage my friends!

Why am I rambling on about this? Well, two years ago, I became trapped in my work out regime. I cancelled or declined plans because they interfered with my routine. I don’t know why, but I simply could not comprehend the notion that I could accommodate both a social life and exercise routine and still maintain balance and happiness. I was an exercise robot. Does this sound familiar? 

This brings me to your challenge for this month! Instead of running on “autopilot” and trying to juggle your social life and commitment to spin, try mixing the two together. The next time a friend or family member invites you out for a drink or a movie and you really want to go but you’re worried that saying yes will compromise your cycle routine, then take a moment to ask yourself - which of these two activities will leave you feeling more fulfilled? Perhaps that late night dinner will cause you to miss your beloved Tuesday 6 am spin class - but you know that you can go on Wednesday instead, right? New classes, new faces, new friends! To make this choice even sweeter, the next time you accommodate your cycle routine to make space for a friend, see if they will return the favour by joining you at your next class. Fair is fair, right?


P.S. Look for a post from our very own motivator extraordinaire Elle coming at you mid December! 

Beyond Appearances

"Look up more than down. See more than say. Listen more than speak. Hope more than dread. Believe more than criticize. Yes more than no. No more than maybe. Laugh more than cry. Love more than hate. See. More. See."   -TKG

Hello Biker Gang!

I recently returned from my solo trip to Australia and it made me realize how difficult life can become when you have to turn autopilot off and actually make decisions on a daily basis. While that may sound silly to you, just imagine a life where you were unable to habitually plan your days based on classes, work projects, never-ending timetables, and competing deadlines... it's quite hard! Well, my overuse of vague responses and my inability to commit to a plan made me realize that sometimes it's just better to live in the moment and say yes. Let's do it together? Yes? Yes! For the next month, week, or even day, try to use yes more. A friend asks you to meet them for a last minute coffee? Say yes! A motivator you haven't had the opportunity to ride with invites you to join their class? Yes! Think of all of the fun people and opportunities awaiting you :)  If you're truly brave, write to me and tell me how your yes adventures went! And keeping in line with this yes attitude, please enjoy the post below from YYC Cycle Key Leader (and blogger), Rachel Antony.


'Beyond Appearances'

Have you ever had a friend or colleague do something out of character and then you judge them for it?  Thinking, “who are they, they never do that.” We all do it, we put the people in our lives in certain boxes making it easier to know what to expect from them and feeling like you know who they are. It could be the human tendency to prefer the status quo, the familiarity and comfort in the norm, and usually the need to pass judgement on people at all times. 

I always find it surprising when I find out which boxes people have put me in; not necessarily how I would see myself. When I think about how I would describe myself it always starts with while sometimes I like this, sometimes I do that, when I feel like it I do this, one time I did that. But when you go to describe someone else, you’re like, she does this, says this, dresses like this, acts like this, and thinks this. Bam. Judge-y much? If I had a nickel for every time someone was surprised I listen to country music…
We are always striving towards growth and change, and to do that you need to get out of whatever boxes are holding you in. Just because other people don’t think you can do something, doesn’t mean you can’t reach those goals or make that change. In the same way, when you start to put people in the box you are used to seeing them in, take a second and open that door for them to grow in your mind. We are all working towards a better version of ourselves, and the best way to do that is with the support of our community.

I read in a relationship article one time that you shouldn’t use absolute words when arguing because it creates negative energy within your relationship. Words like never and always. I think it’s a good habit to get into when you are talking about yourself too. So before you say “I never do 6am spin,” give yourself the chance to set your alarm for 5am and crush those inner doubts. Like I said before, it’s better to use the “sometimes” than the “always.”

Wait, let’s do this. Sometimes I like country music, sometimes I do spin, when I feel like it I bake things, one time I decided to try out to be a motivator, other times I am taking too many Instagram brunch photos. There are a million ways to describe me, and I like to keep switching it up to keep people on their toes.

- Rachel Antony