Hello October!

It’s okay to be carried every now and then you know, even strength needs a rest.
-Tyler Knott Gregson.

Hello my beautiful (and handsome) Bikergang and hello October!

I don’t know about you, but I find these Autumn months to be more of a transitionary period in my life than the ever famed January. There just seems to be something in the wind, and in the way the leaves aimlessly dance about that causes me to truly wonder just what i’m doing with my life. Perhaps this is nothing but a simple nudge from the Universe, a slight suggestion that I begin to truly pay attention to my surroundings and to live for the moments rather than for the expectation of outcome…or perhaps it really is time to just begin anew.

While I may be infantile in my understanding of life, I do know one thing, and that is this… life is going to pass us by regardless of our ability to truly savour it. And so, in every effort to simplify this hectic life we all lead, I offer you the following suggestion via the ever talented Mary Oliver:

  • Pay attention
  • Be astonished
  • Tell about it

But really, tell me all about it , I want to get to know all of you! If you have an idea you really want to share, or if you have something you would like me to include in an upcoming post than send me an email and we can connect!

Your challenge for this month is a simple one. Try to remember the very reason that caused you to enter the doors of YYC Cycle (and I know that for the majority of you it was a result of your secret crush on Warren, so give me the other reason). Early last year I found myself complacent and in need of a change but I didn’t know exactly how to achieve this. I am a habitual creature, I live for routine and for the expected (I am that person who reads the last page of a book before I even get half way through). So, in order to stir things up in my life I created an idea jar, a jar that I filled with an abundance of “ideas” that I have always wanted to try but never quite found the time or person to do so with. Well, one of those ideas was trying a spin class, and after my first class (with Warren, by complete chance), I was hooked.

So there you have it my gang, there’s my motivation, now send me yours!


Speaking of motivation.. have you ever wondered just why certain genres of music really resonate with you and others do not? Well I did, and so I asked our resident music specialist to shed some light on the connection between music and motivation. Interested? Read on!

Musical Moves! 
Written by Elle McAndrews, MTA, MT-BC


As a motivator at YYC-CYCLE, I often get those happy ‘feels’ when I get to create a playlist for the Bikergang. When I’m sitting at home finding tunes to spin to, I’m often dancing around my house, on the couch, at the kitchen table or wherever! When a track catches my ear, I cannot help but groove it out in my body.

As an accredited Music Therapist it is my job to find out what kinds of music my clients enjoy. When we are listening to or making music together, the response will be greater if the client enjoys the music. The motivation factor increases. This means I am learning many genres of music on the guitar or piano in order to reach my clients more effectively. Back to the spin room…
When you are in spin class and a favourite song comes up, you are more likely to work harder, and feel those good vibes during that track. Which brings me to the big question: How does music motivate us?

Music activates our sympathetic nervous system: airways open, heart rate accelerates, and muscles are primed to move. These are all excellent physical processes that need to happen when you get your spin on Bikergang!

Music affects the coordination of activity within and across different parts of the brain: Studies examining patterns of electric activity across the brain when listening to music suggest that brain signals become synchronized which is crucial for cognitive, motor and perceptual processes. This means that when you listen to music while working out, your brain signals become synchronized with the music allowing you to plan and execute your next move accurately, and get in sync with the beat. Is your criss-cross game strong? The music is definitely a part of that accurate coordination.

Music has the ability to draw our attention away from negative aspects of a task.
Your physical and mental endurance is enhance by music. So next time you are in the thick of a serious hover or a badass HIIT* track, focus on something you like about the song and forget about the temporary discomfort you feel and track will be over before you know it.

Music is able to connect you emotionally and enhance your mood: can I get “HELL YES?” You probably already know what song makes you cry when you are driving in your car - Adele makes me shed tears every time I listen to her, and you know what tunes get you in the mood to dance, party, get it on (oh that surfboard Bey!) exercise, work, relax, and sleep.

Got a request? I love when the a Bikergang member comes up to me and asks me the name of a song I had in my playlist, or even better when they give me suggestions or request of songs they would love to hear in future playlists. I am listening to you! If you ask, you shall receive unless the song is not spin appropriate - sorry death metal lovers, I still love that you love death metal!

Have a music related question? You can email Elle at mcandrews.cm@gmail.com or find me on Instagram @mcpeaches.

*HIIT - High Intensity Interval Track

Expectation is the root of all Heartache


We create expectations constantly, both consciously and unconsciously. Even when you are determined to not create expectations, you have inherited a brain that conserves energy by making predictions about the future based on your experience in the past. It is worth striving to notice your expectations and respond with an understanding of the deeper purpose behind the built-in mechanism. Our struggle with expectations resides in our misunderstanding and attachment. When we come up against an unmet expectation, there can be disappointment, or sometimes relief - if you were expecting something "worse" than what reality handed you. To be disappointed every time your predictions do not match reality is a sure-fire way to live with more stress than necessary. Expectations are unavoidable, but our reaction to unmet expectations can be the difference between a life of happiness versus a life as a cynic.

As the brilliantly creative William Shakespeare said, "Expectation is the root of all heartache." Although Shakespeare coined the phrase, I heard it first from the brilliantly creative Andrew Obrecht. The simple and powerful message warns us to be mindful to not create expectations we cannot commit to, and to not attach to expectations that are outside our control.

As is the case with most concepts of behavioral psychology, there is a spectrum with extremes on either end and exploration down the middle. Naturally, it is not healthy to live with our mind so focused on the future that we are in a constant state of creating expectations that we attach to as if they are a sure-thing. Inversely, it is equally unhealthy - and impossible - to strive for no expectations whatsoever. What does that balance look like? What makes it so difficult to notice our expectations, ground them in reality, and then let them go when they have become limiting?

As mammals, we have inherited a brain that determines what is good or bad for survival based on which chemicals spurt in our brain. Dopamine, our reward system, spurts when our brain makes steps towards something that has been determined as good for our survival, as well as when we make correct predictions about our surroundings. When the rewards you predict are fewer or are lower than what you expected, your body perceives this as a threat to survival and releases Cortisol (aka the stress hormone) to alert you to do something about it. When your expectations are exceeded, you receive a big dump of dopamine, furthering your motivation to continue upwards and onward.

Dopamine feels like motivation for action. It signals to your brain and body to go all in, release the reserve tank, and take the reward that is within sight. If you had this good feeling all the time, you would be depleted and unable to act when the time called for it. That's what I love about being a motivator at yyc cycle. My job is to motivate the bikergang to empty their tank in pursuit of the reward of pride, connection, and accomplishment throughout and at the end of class. To me, one of the most satisfying and rewarding jobs I have.
Our relationship with dopamine can cause some confusion. For example, you may expect a donut to taste delicious. Perhaps you haven't had a donut in a few weeks and you decide today's the day to treat yourself. The first bite you take is absolutely wonderful. Not only do you get a sugar rush, you are flooded with dopamine because the donut tastes even better than you expected. The next day, still buzzing from your re-acquaintance with the donut shop, you head there on your lunch break again. Your expectation of the donut has produced a high-bar in your mind. You order the same donut, expecting the same sensation, and are quickly disappointed. The donut is still delicious, there's still a sugar rush, but we are not meant to get the same surge of happy chemical by engaging in the same activity. Our brain evolved for novelty.

This quirky system ends up making us feel bad when we are on the quest to feel good. And when we feel bad, we are pained with the idea that we need something to fix the situation. You can see how we can end up creating backwards feedback loops, thinking that sugar (or a donut specifically) is the answer to what will make us feel better. And even after the donut doesn't serve its purpose, or we eat too many donuts, we are left with the need for relief. Our system searches for ways to feel good and we find ourselves wanting more donuts.

Loretta Breuning articulates this beautifully, in her new book The Science of Positivity,

"To the mammal brain, anything that relieves cortisol promotes survival. So if a cigarette relieved your anxiety one day, your mammal brain “learned” that cigarettes promote survival. If pizza relieved a sense of threat in your youth, your mammal brain learned that pizza promotes survival. If cynicism helps you experience cortisol relief, your brain learns to see it as a lifesaver. No one thinks this in words, of course. But in a moment when your cortisol surges and you look for a way to make it stop, your brain relies on the neural circuits it has."
This feedback loop can happen with any activity that you have used to curb bad feelings in the past. Let's say you chose to go for a run on a day that you were really struggling with high amounts of cortisol in your body. You were pained with that "do something" feeling, and you chose to lace up your shoes and run. The happy chemicals that flowed from moving your body, working up a sweat, and from feeling proud for making such a healthy choice, begins to create a neural pathway that will urge you to go for a run next time you feel stressed. You see? You can create healthy habits by simply understanding the cause and effect of the chemicals flowing through your body.

There are two phrases I keep coming back to as my reminder to notice my expectations, ground them in reality, and be mindful of my attachment to them. They are "Intimacy without Attachment" and "Expect the Unexpected."

Intimacy without Attachment

There is nourishment in things as long as you do not become attached. Even air becomes toxic if you hold it in without the constant letting go with the exhale. What I love about this phrase is that with Intimacy we have a deep connection or relationship but without Attachment, or without the idea that we are incomplete without whatever we have become attached to. Set big goals, strive for excellence, and get excited about future plans, but let go of the idea that things must go a certain way in order for you to get the rewards or happiness that you seek. Attachment is a form of fear or dependency. Do not look outside of yourself to fill your emptiness, that is an inside job. Seek to elevate your surroundings by embracing who you are without everything else.

We waste so much energy by allowing ourselves to get disturbed by our unmet expectations or our attachments to things that we do not have control over. You will still get bothered, sometimes annoyed, and you will notice you get attached to ideas, things, or people as life continues on. The key is to witness this and then let it go.

In the book The Fear Cure, by Lissa Rankin, she tells us that most emotions will last approximately 90 seconds if you let them flow through you. It is our denial, resistance, or unrealistic expectation that we can be happy all the time that creates the lasting struggle.

Next time you notice yourself getting wound up over an attachment to an idea, thing, or person, ask yourself, "is this worth my energy?" You cannot control the outcome, you can only control your effort.

Expect the Unexpected

We are hardwired to make predictions about our future. We conserve a lot of energy by filling in blanks based on our unique experience and beliefs about the way the world works. While uncertainty can feel dangerous, it is something that comes with the territory of being alive.

Knowing that we get a boost of dopamine when we are correct in our predictions of the future, I find it best to remind myself to expect the unexpected. I can spend time and energy thinking through all the possible outcomes - and perhaps there are some situations that do call for a thorough analysis of future scenarios - but more often than not, when I choose to trust my strength and let life be a wild ride, I have way more energy ready to be used. In the end, reality is generally the middle path between our worst possible and best possible outcome predictions. If you are able to tap into trust, effort, and a growth mindset, suddenly failure becomes a beautiful opportunity to learn and grow, and not something to be avoided at all costs. We can save a lot of energy for being in action when we are able to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. When we expect the unexpected, we train ourselves to adapt and flow with the waves of life. Trust that you can handle what is thrown your way, and work more on being a dance partner with life versus trying to predict and control the unforeseeable.

Yes, unmet expectations can cause heartache. But what is life without a little heartache? Sometimes our unmet expectations are a signal that we are not getting what we need from a relationship, but generally, I would say, we each need to practice not being the center of the universe. I still create expectations, but I am mindful to not blame others or get all torn up when my version of the future doesn't match reality. I still get a little perturbed when I expect to be taken out for dinner but I come home to a tired husband who wants a night in. But I ask myself, "Is this worth spending energy on?" Although I still get caught in expectations, I snap myself out of their hold pretty quickly when I notice my energy has shifted into a place of unnecessary negativity.
Strive for the life that you would be devastated to not create. Trust your strength and resilience to handle the disappointment of bumps and bruises along the way. Ground your expectations in reality and remind yourself that although you can control your effort and passion, there are more factors that are beyond your control. So expect the unexpected. Dance with the balance between striving for more and being content and grateful with what is now. Life isn't supposed to be easy, but damn, even heartache opens up possibility for earth-shattering growth and happiness. Expect greatness, and know there are countless paths to take you there.

Much Love,


***Marin is hosting a workshop at the branded HQ on Sunday September 18, at 630pm. If you are curious to learn more, head to this web address, http://www.dopeame.com/blog/2016/8/8/experience-collective.

Are YOU the next YYC CYCLE Motivator?

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With the exciting announcement of our third Calgary YYC CYCLE in Avenida, we're looking for passionate Bikergang riders who want to take the next big leap into becoming Motivators at YYC CYCLE.

Here's how it's going to work:

We will be accepting ( 60 Second ) video applications until Monday August 22nd.
Using YouTube of Vimeo (You can make your video private) prepare your video application and send the video link to andrew.obrecht@yyc-cycle.com . All videos will remain confidential.

Your short video should include the following:

Introduce yourself and what you do day to day. Tell us a little more about you!
Tell us what motivates you and lights you up.
Tell us why you feel like you would be a great Motivator at YYC CYCLE.

**NOTE** - To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Have attended at least 20 classes at YYC CYCLE
  • Be available to teach at our YYC Avenida ( South) location
  • Be available during weekday evenings for fall training ( Starting end of September) if you are selected for tryouts and make it to our fall training.

OK..... and then what?

Once all video applications are submitted by August 22nd, we will be reviewing all applications and selecting 20 riders to come in for a Motivator Tryout. If you are selected for tryouts, you will receive an email before Sept 1st,. Tryouts will be scheduled for the first two weeks of September. If you are one of those lucky 20, we will provide you with all the information you need to be ready for your tryout!


Not interest in becoming a Motivator, but want to play a huge part in the Business of Happiness? We're also looking for Key Leaders and Crew staff for our studios. If you are interested in positions that may be available within our studio, please contact Lainey Bennett at lainey.bennett@yyc-cycle.com.

What happened to the old shoes at YYC Kensington?

You may have all noticed that we recently switched out our shoes at YYC Kensington. So what happened to the old ones, you ask? . Please do yourself a favor and watch the video above and take some time to feel grateful for the incredible Bikergang you are, and the (International) impact that you have on our global community. Thanks for working the shoes out the way you all did, and providing the opportunity for some CUBAN athletes to ride with some upgraded equipment, thanks to our friends at Inspire Sport!

Motivator Feature - Emily Cheffins

Q: What's the best memory you have so far being part of the YYC Cycle journey?

Em: It's hard to single out just one favourite memory, but the last class I taught before leaving for a circus gig this past summer, I came in to the entire studio decorated like a circus tent: streamers, balloons, floor to ceiling. It was pretty special. That, or when someone wrote "Emily's quads are inspirational" on a comment card.

Q: For those who don’t know, what’s your favourite type of music to jam out to?

Em: Hip hop, obnoxious rap (clean versions, of course!), guilty pleasures, a little dance hall, and a good mid-class throw back to boost morale.

Q: When you’re not motivating, what can you be found doing?

Em: At Talisman, with Nino, or at Talisman with Nino.

Q: What would you tell someone who is nervous about coming to try a spin class?

Em: I was nervous, too! The hardest part is showing up. Bring a friend! And if you don't, you'll probably leave with a new one :)

Q: What’s something not many people would know about you?

Em: I hold the NCAA Div. I varsity record at the University of Wisconsin in 10 meter platform diving.

Q:What’s one of your biggest fears?

Em: Not living life to the fullest.

Q: What are you most proud of?

Em: Having the courage to pursue my dreams.

Q: Other than spin, what’s your favourite way to sweat?

Em: Strength training, bike rides with my Dad, and anything involving flipping, bending, bouncing, or being upside down.

Q: What are you going to miss most?

Em: Being close to the people I love.

Q: When can the Bikergang ride out with you next?

Em: Brenna and I are doing a team teach on May 31st at 5:15pm, and my last class will be June 4th at noon at MRDA followed by a Village Ice Cream field trip/farewell celebration at the new Garrison Woods location!  

Q: How can we keep up with your next adventure? 

Em: Follow me on the 'gram! @emcheffs - https://www.instagram.com/emcheffs/ 


spinathon pic


 On March 5, 2016 starting at 6 pm, you are invited to join in an event that’s guaranteed to get your heart racing! 

 Join us for a night of spinning! Get yourself and/or up to 5 friends and meet us at YYC CYCLE - Spin studio in Marda Loop (3505 14 Street SW), for a night of fundraising and fun. 

Women For Men's Health is a group of diverse Calgarian women who have come together with the goal to raise money to help lessen the discrepancy in gender health. See the Calgary Prostate Cancer Centre's mission statement  HERE. With the support of Calgary’s Prostate Cancer Centre (a non-profit, world-class medical centre - www.prostatecancercenter.ca), we are raising money that will be used to fund programs to increase awareness and to aid research in areas impacting men's health. 

Indoor Spinning is a unique workout that leaves your mind and body energized and rejuvenated - the perfect activity for our initial fundraiser. 

For this evening, YYC- Cycle Spin Studio and the Calgary Prostate Cancer Centre have joined forces and with the help of their amazing motivators - we will spin the night away.

Motivator Highlight: Dan Halber

On Remembrance Day, we're doing our part to honour those who have fought for our freedom.  This includes our very own Dan Halber.


Here's Dan's story:

I signed my contract when I was 17, and off I went to U.S. Marine Corps boot camp in September of 2008. After 3 months of that, it was back for a short Christmas break and off to infantry school on Camp Pendleton, CA. I spent 9 weeks there, and then was selected to go to the Basic Reconnaissance Course. I spent the following 4 months training through some of the hardest mental and physical challenges of my life. Never the less, it all ended and I was stationed on Camp Pendleton permanently.

Once at my unit, we began training for Afghanistan. In May of 2010, we deployed and spend 9 months over seas. Once returned, I found myself being bounced around the world, wherever the missions took us. The Marines taught me many lessons, built me into the man I am now, gave me friends that are irreplaceable and experiences that cannot be created anywhere else.

Remembrance Day is very close to my heart. It’s a day we can honor all those, past and present, that have served and are serving our country. These men and women put aside their own comforts in order to serve and help people of different nations. Sometimes, they even put their own life on the line, and some pay the ultimate price. Our Canadian lifestyle would not be possible without the sacrifices made years ago. This day is a day of reflection, a day of gratitude and most of all, a day to honour.

We Are The Bikergang: Pat

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When did you first discover YYC CYCLE, and what were your thoughts?

I learned of YYC Cycle a few months after it opened. I was recovering from a trauma knee injury and was looking for a safe cardio workout. I had heard good things about YYC and it was conveniently located so I thought I would check it out. I was warmly welcomed and quickly realized that there was much more to this than just spinning, just as the Mission Statement said. I readily embraced the program and have never looked back. All I had to do was the best I could do each session. I have steadily improved but the challenge continues. The staff and biker gang members have been very supportive. I have fed off of their positive energy and made many friends. I'm hooked!

The YYC CYCLE Bikergang is all about supporting each other and our goals. What are some of your big goals?

I want to continually pursue better fitness and test the bounds on what that can mean! That gives me the energy and resolve to best help people in my work and personal life.

What would you tell people who are wanting to get into spin, but may be afraid to attend a class?

I'd say come and just do your best and don't worry about being negatively judged. You are only competing with yourself and you will be strongly supported. You will be happy with your success and feel you belong right away!

What is your favourite guilty pleasure?

None. I find guilt and pleasure don't go along well together, so I try to avoid that combination

Spinning While Pregnant: Q&A

pair-1 (1)

How far along are you?
Georgia Burke: 18 weeks
Jessica Smith: 25 weeks pregnant (just over 6 months) 

What challenges, if any, have you encountered so far?
GB: None! I have more energy than ever up on that bike! I consider myself very lucky to be capable of a fit pregnancy.
JS: My centre of gravity has shifted while getting up and out of the saddle and keeping my heart rate nice and steady.

How often are you spinning?
GB: 3-4 times per week.
JS: 4 times a week.

What advice would you give to pregnant Bikergang members?
GB: Drink tons of water! And embrace that new beautiful body:)
JS: My advice for the bikergang would be to keep coming to spin even if your not out of the saddle as much and never feel like that's a bad thing. Showing up is better than not!!:)

What are you looking forward to most about transitioning from a Motivator to a Bikergang member?
GB: I can’t wait to try so many different styles of classes weekly once I transition from being a motivator. And obviously it will be exciting to ride alongside my new friends who I have seen hustling it out in my classes:)
JS: I am looking forward to still being able to spin at a lower intensity and show that pregnant people can spin and also feel like a part of the group.

YYC Nutrition: Success a Scale Can't Measure

I am constantly coaching and teaching clients how to improve beliefs, patterns related to their eating behaviours and appearance. All of this to help achieve long-term weight goals and a healthier lifestyle. Changes to these beliefs (in some cases) aren’t easy. Especially when we are flooded with TV commercials, warped Instagram photos, supplement guarantees and promises of “quick weight loss”. It adds to the expectation of fast results. “Lose 10 lbs. in 10 days!” or my favourite, “ Six pack abs with this 4 week workout program”. These statements are a slap in the face to someone who has been working for months to manage their weight through diet and a reasonable amount of exercise. They start to think “what’s wrong with me?”.

This creates anxiety and self-doubt in their ability to lose weight. It adds pressure, leaves little room for flexibility and even the slightest deviation from “the diet”, can derail the rest of their day. They soon forget about all the progress they have already achieved. Results that have nothing to do with a number on the scale.

I often remind clients that if they don’t see the number on the scale they want to see that week, to remember that there are still major benefits taking place.

True benefits that the scale can’t measure:

1. “I can sustain this lifestyle without feeling deprived or it affecting my social, work or family life”.

It’s important the approach you take with your weight loss is sustainable. If you’re someone who has been on different diets, re-gained the weight or fallen’ off the “wagon” a few times, a program that is realistic will keep you motivated, satisfied and sane.

2. “I was able to keep my cool when they served the desserts and other trigger foods”.

When trying to lose weight, strict restriction usually fails in the long run. Not only do you

feel miserable afterwards but, the guilt can stick with you until the next day. Enjoying your favorite treats now and then without guilt is important. A few times a week will not derail your progress. Say it with me, MODERATION.

3. “My eating habits are positively influencing my family & friends”.

Now that’s a great feeling. Inspiring others around you to make better choices can add to your motivation and persistence.

4. “I managed my eating around the holidays, which never happened in the past”.

The holidays, work conferences, vacations, etc. will happen. They often involve rich food and

being surrounded by addictive sugary-fatty combo treats. Ordering extra veggies, sticking to one alcoholic drink and packing whole food snacks is a total WIN! Always seize opportunities to do the best you can. Be proud of yourself. In the long run, beating yourself up will only lead to guilt and possibly episodes of overeating. Unless you live in a box, you will never be able literally maintain the exact same eating schedule day in and day out, all the time.

5. “I feel in control but not obsessed”.

Control, wow that’s a loaded word. Often, the behaviors and “rules” some hold related to eating is deeply rooted in a desire for control. Control gives us a sense of comfort, and that is something that as humans we will always naturally seek. Being in control of what goes into your body is the best way to succeed in long-term weight management. So if you feel in control, know you are in a good place and it’s only a matter of time before you reach your weight loss goals.

The benefits above are not what you read about on Instagram, in magazines or on the back of supplements. But, they are happening even in the presence of stalled weight loss or when a person reaches their healthiest or “maintenance” weight. If you do not acknowledge the process and overall benefits of how you get to your weight loss goal, how will you sustain it?


Now, for an awesome recipe!



Serves 2


Dry ingredients

1/2 cup rolled oats, buckwheat or steel cut oats
2 tablespoon hemp seeds
½ tbs cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
couple dashes of nutmeg
pinch of salt

Wet ingredients
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup of almond milk, or coconut milk
1 Apple, diced
1 tbs Honey


1. Add all dry ingredients and divide into 2 jars or containers with airtight lids. Put the lids on and shake to combine.

2. Add the wet ingredients, reapply the lid and shake to combine again. Refrigerate overnight, or at least an hour. You can eat it cold, or heat it in the microwave (I do 1 minute and 30 seconds, stir, then heat for 1 more minute). Top with chopped nuts (slivered almonds, chopped walnuts), cacao nibs, shredded coconut, or whatever topping you’re into.

Serve hot and enjoy!


Amy Karl RN, BN, RHN
The Pristine Body

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