What an experience! I love trying new fitness classes and checking out boutique spas while travelling. I was riding the spin train pretty good just before I left Kauai at the start of July and have been craving a really good spin ever since. The spinning boom in North America doesn’t seem to be quite as evident or easy to find here in Italy, but leave it to trendy Milan to have the coolest spin experience yet.
I would like to introduce you to Waterbeat Society. A gorgeous fitness boutique in the heart of Milan offering four types of hydrospinning classes and three types of massage therapy. If I lived in Milan I would most definitely own a membership to this place. The change rooms are sparkling clean and fully stocked with all the amenities a busy business woman needs after class. The staff is genuinely friendly and the private lounge is chic and inspirational. I didn’t want to leave, you guys know how much I love being in beautiful rooms.
So what is hydrospinning exactly?
Like a traditional spin class, this is practiced in a small group (up to 12 people max) using the latest generation underwater spin bikes. The trainer is in the water with you, guiding you through a complete 45 minute training session. All you need to bring is a bathing suit, you are provided with a clean towel and shoes for the class. Hanane (the founder) surprised me with a custom Waterbeat swimsuit when I arrived. She is a gem of a human and a total #girlboss!
“Some call it hydrobike, acquacycling, or poolbike: we only call it hydrospinning here.”
Jump in the pool and find a bike. You will adjust the seat and handlebars like a regular spin class. Your shoes will slip into the slots on the pedals and you will sit on the seat underwater. Your head and shoulders are out of the water while the rest of your body is submerged. There is no adjusting resistance on these bikes, the water creates enough resistance and you will adjust your speed throughout the class.
Waterbeat Society offers four styles of hydrospinning. I opted for the Waterbeat Cardio. I love the super fast music, feels like a dance party in the pool. I might have been the only one singing along to the hit songs that were actually in english (in between gasping for breathe!).
They use a HIIT style of training in this class, alternating between intense drills and lighter periods. We also did a lot of arm work, being in water allows you to get a great arm workout in during the class. Think swimming and riding a bike at the same time, yeah! Not easy, requires a lot of balance and core strength. We ended the class with ab work. It was a challenging but very satisfying 45 minutes. I left feeling strong and mobile (not stiff or sore). I was definitely sweating during the class, even though we were in the water. Having a workout in between all the overwhelming excitement of travel was grounding and centering, I’ll definitely be looking for more experiences like this along the way.
Let’s talk language barrier.
If you’ve taken lots of different spin classes and you’re comfortable following the beat, you know the basic spin drills (jumps, sprints, etc) then all you need to learn for this class is how to count from 1-8 in Italian, forward and backwards. Know this by heart, it will allow you to follow the prompts on how many counts until you change drills, rest, etc.
I had Elisa as my instructor. She is a total powerhouse and gave us an amazing workout. I was a little intimidated to begin with because it was instructed in 100% Italian but by the end of the class I was totally in the groove.
Trying a fitness class at a local boutique is such a fulfilling thing to do when travelling, especially when solo travelling. You will not find a swarm of tourists here, this was a class of all locals from Milan, getting in their lunch break workout. It was one of those cultural experiences that challenges you, surprises you, and strengthens you (mentally and physically). Grazie mille bella Hanane! I cannot wait to visit you again in the future.
€15 for a first time drop-in class, a competitive price for fitness classes!
Waterbeat Society. Via Santa Tecla, 3, 20122 Milano, Italy.
[Photos via waterbeatsociety.com]