Students power up for cycling classes


Kate Engstrom

Bikes sit in rows in one of Zenstudio’s classes. Several White Station students have memberships at Zenstudio, which is located near the school on Poplar Avenue.

Black lights illuminate the room. Music blasts and an instructor shouts words of encouragement. Legs pump to the rhythm. Several White Station students are hooked on the trendy and energetic form of exercise known as cycling. Elaina Chen (11) has been cycling since November, and normally attends practice twice a week with her friend Kate Engstrom (11).

“I’d say that it’s a bunch of fun, but pretty hard, but also rewarding,” Chen said. “All the teachers and other people are so nice and encouraging and will help you in any way fitness wise.”

Chen and Engstrom both attend Zenstudio, which is conveniently located near White Station High on Poplar Avenue. Zenstudio offers several group fitness activities, ranging from cycle classes to yoga classes to kickboxing. Features such as themed classes enhance the experience of members, allowing for simultaneous exercise and enjoyment.

“The themes for the cycle classes are always so fun, the most recent one was a ‘Euphoria’ theme but I’ve done Taylor Swift theme and Megan Thee Stallion,” Engstrom said. “The themed classes are always so high energy and fun.”

The most apparent benefit of cycling is physical. Both Chen and Engstrom noticed significant toning in various parts of the body, as well as growing pains from muscle stimulation after every class. To achieve these results, participants must endure the demanding fast pace of their classes

“I get pretty tired by the end of each class, but I try to push myself to make it to the end,” Chen said. “I make a goal before each class that I finish it without stopping.” 

In addition to the physical advantages of cycling, the mental benefits encourage commitment to a consistent schedule of exercise. It can serve as a refuge from the burdens of everyday life and create a sense of balance.

“Mentally, it’s an escape for me to just go and sweat, work out and not think about school or drama,” Engstrom said.

However, this escape is not completely accessible to everyone. Engstrom, who juggles school work, her job and cycling, has been inconvenienced by the distance she must travel to attend classes. Cost can also be an important factor — members at Zenstudio pay $120 per month in exchange for eight classes.

“I think it’s totally worth it though because there are other types of classes they offer besides cycle like kickboxing, bounce classes that involve trampolines, and barre classes,” Chen said.

Overall, the worth of cycling is subjective. Cycling can be an entertaining, extreme, effective form of exercise that many students can consider worthwhile – barring the price and transportation obstacles. 

“I would say that it’s such a great form of cardio and [is an] intense workout,” Engstrom said. “It’s so much fun, especially with friends.”