GET INTO SPINNING: THE WORKOUT OF 2016

We recently met talented Canadian Olympian, author, motivational speaker and fitness professional, Alexandra Orlando for The City Series Toronto to chat all things fitness and fashion. Now, with January in full swing and our health regimes hanging on by a thread, Alexandra is here to help motivate us for one of the most popular workouts of 2016: spinning.



The alarm goes off. It’s pitch dark and so incredibly quiet - it feels like the whole world is still sleeping. The last thing you want to do is open your eyes and roll out of your warm little cocoon to face the winter cold. 60 seconds goes by as you debate whether to go back to sleep and then your mind starts spinning. You’re thinking of that rush, that energy, that happiness you’re going to feel in an hour if you just get your butt out of bed.  Alarm: 0 You: 1.

Alexandra competing at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Photo: (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
Alexandra competing at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Photo: (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Welcome to the love hate relationship of working out in the winter. It’s cold, it’s dark and whether you’re an early morning riser or a late night gym goer - all of us are searching for some extra motivation to just get there this time of year.               

Enter spinning. If you’re not a believer yet, trust me - I was right there with you. A few years ago I was terrified of what went on in that spin studio. I’d walk by on the street or at the gym and see all the exasperated sweaty bodies and think “you couldn’t pay me to get on that bike”. I liked to work out alone - gym time was ME time and I liked to stay inside my comfortable weight training bubble. It’s not easy to just wander into the fitness unknown – for anyone. But I was doing myself no favours.

When I retired after the Olympics, I was so battered and bruised I couldn’t keep going even if I wanted to. My body was screaming for me to rest, recover, re-group. Those next few years were a long winding road that forced me to come to terms with the injuries I had sustained as an athlete. My ankles would never be the same, the ligaments torn and stretched on both sides, and a reconstructed ACL (amongst other things) that made it too painful to hit the pavement. I was working out, but not seeing the results I wanted and was consistently frustrated and demotivated. I needed a change. So I stepped - no leaped - out of my comfort zone and took my first ever spin class. I sat in the back row, in the furthest corner away from the instructor as possible. For some reason I thought that would make me invisible (hmm not quite, we see you guys!).


"All of us are searching for some extra motivation to just get there this time of year."

 

Over the next 50 minutes, I went through a rollercoaster of mixed emotions . I was loving my instructor, hating him, wanting to give up, but then feeling like superwoman - it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. The music flows through you pushing your body to other levels you never thought you had. The people around you become your team - they become the energy that carries you through the moments you don’t think you can keep going. I was hooked. It wasn’t just about getting leaner and stronger, I was a part of a community that helped me fall in love with working out again.

 


"The music flows through you pushing your body to other levels you never thought you had."

 

Two years later, I took another leap and became an instructor, which has been one of the most rewarding journeys of my life. So I live in fitness gear 24/7 and need to find ways to make running from the gym to the office back to the gym as comfortable and stress-free as possible.

That essentially means I need to carry my life with me. My purses are weekenders so I can look professional and pulled together wherever I’m running off to throughout the day. The Sakroots Artist Circle Duffel is the perfect accessory for me that fits everything from my spin shoes to heels. It’s bold and bright, which suits my personality, but depending on my mood the Herschel Supply bags are light, waterproof (yay!) and has it’s own shoe compartment. Umm for someone who has 2-3 pairs on her every day - LOVE.

 


I really don’t compromise on fashion just because I’m coming to and from the gym, even in the middle of a snowstorm. I fuse fitness wear into my street style with comfy, neutral items that match most of my outerwear. I love the ECCO Soft 7 High Tops - crisp and stylish but perfect with skinny jeans or tights. If snow is on the ground though I need to keep my feet warm and dry, so I can just slip on PIKA shearling boots and run out the door. The gold classic dazzle puts a little twist on your normal boot if you want to stand out!

Once I’m in the studio, the game changes. My focus switches to performance and how I can get the best out of my class and my workout. You need to feel comfortable and not restricted on your bike - so what you wear does matter! From your feet up, comfort is king. Socks and a good multi-purpose shoe are ideal if you don’t wear spin shoes. I infuse my attitude into my workout gear, which is why the Richer Poorer low socks collection are some of my favorites.


"As we head into the new year, be empowered to set fitness goals for yourself and not be afraid to go after them wholeheartedly."

 

I’m all about fun patterns and bold colors. I switch up my kicks all the time, but I’m a big fan of Brooks and Reebok these days which both have great performance shoes that take you from season to season whether you’re inside on the bike or out on a trail. They’re lightweight and great for training. The Reebok YourFlex Trainette 7.0 L MTs are definitely on my wish list for 2016!


As we head into the new year, be empowered to set fitness goals for yourself and not be afraid to go after them wholeheartedly. Maybe, like me, you just have to break out of your box and try something new. And remember - what you put in you always get out.

Happy sweating everyone!

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