After several days of lying around like a blob, I’m finally starting to feel better and am ready to dive back in. And what better way to do that than with an early morning spin class?

As you know, cross-training is essential to becoming a strong, healthy runner. And although I’ve started to do yoga once a week, spinning is by far my favorite way to cross-train.

My outdoor runs are often solitary, quiet experiences, so I like to mix things up once a week with a loud, high-intensity group activity like spin – not that I talk to anyone during class, but I always feel a sense of common purpose that I can never recreate when cycling on my own.

Spinning certainly isn’t for everyone, but I absolutely love it – the dark room, blasting music, shouting instructor, sweating bodies, the communal sway to the rhythms and gasps for air – the pure energy of it all. And like with the treadmill, it’s a welcome break from things like cars and pedestrians – you can completely switch off and focus on your workout.

When I lived in NYC and worked out at Equinox, finding a challenging spin class was fairly easy – pretty much everything there was hardcore, and as far as I was concerned, the more hardcore the better. I would religiously attend a Sunday morning class at 19th & Broadway, getting there an hour early so I could get a spot (the teacher was very popular). Some of the spin “groupies” were pretty nuts – I didn’t think it was physically possible to move your legs that fast! And so many hard bodies! But I guess that’s just New York.

Here in London, things are of course a bit different – massive city, but relatively slower paced. On the health front, Londoners are increasingly conscious about what they eat and how much they exercise, which is wonderful, but certainly nowhere near as health obsessed as New Yorkers. In NYC, you can get pretty much anything at any time – but here, the range of healthy options available, and particularly when they are available, can be limiting unless you cook for yourself (which I try to do as much as possible). Thankfully, things have improved since I moved here three years ago – for example, you can now buy tofu in (most) normal supermarkets!

In terms of spinning, it took me awhile to find a decent class that didn’t bore me to death, but I finally discovered one that I love and attend every Tuesday morning at Fitness First Gracechurch St., taught by an awesome instructor named Chris. He always strikes the perfect balance, getting you highly motivated without getting militant. It’s been five hours since I stepped out of class this morning, and I’m still buzzing!

I truly miss those shiny NYC gyms filled with beautiful people, and I know they exist in London too for people who can afford them, but it’s also been quite refreshing to exercise in a more low-key environment. I ♥ NY, but I can’t say I miss the craziness!