These indoor cycling instructors will get you hooked on cardio

Photos by JL Javier

Words and styling by Neal Corpus

Time to sweat it out.

We all want to be fit and toned, but everybody knows that shedding fat takes a lot of hard work — hard work also known as cardio. It’s really a chore for most people, and getting on a treadmill or jogging around your neighborhood’s park isn’t really exciting by any means. But there has been a cardio craze sweeping through Manila, in the form of indoor cycling classes. This ain’t your regular ride on a stationary bike, however: it’s a high-energy group class with high-octane, feel-good music. It’s more of a party and less of a chore, really, and you barely notice as 45 to 60 minutes fly by.

If you’re still not convinced, well, don’t take my word for it. We got to know six indoor cycling instructors from two of Manila’s top indoor cycling studios, Electric Studio and Ride Revolution, so you can hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. Careful, though — once you get hooked, there’s no turning back.

Lexi Gancayco, 26, @lexigancayco

Ride Revolution

Tell us how your typical day looks like.

My typical day would start at about maybe 7-7:30, I’ll hit the gym for about an hour and a half. That’s to do my strength training, to complement all the cycling I do. So I’ll stay in the gym ’til maybe right before 9 a.m., then I’ll get ready for my day. Between 9 ’til about 3 o’clock, I get on my laptop, do some work, and then around 4 p.m. I’ll come to the studio and prepare for class and help out. That’s it more or less. After class I have dinner, go home, and go to sleep. I try to be in bed by 10:30 p.m.

Aside from Ride Revolution, what keeps you busy?

I work with Ride Rev full time as an instructor, and I handle the marketing of Ride Rev. So when I say I’m on my laptop, that’s doing Ride Rev work or maybe making my playlists for the month or for the week. All of the partnerships, the sales, the loyalty and rewards system, I handle that for Ride Rev.

What’s your workout routine like?

My workout routine outside Ride Rev is I do strength training. I do lots of weights, just your basic like squats, deadlifts, pull-ups. Just to build more muscle. Then if I’m not teaching, I like to ride in other instructors’ classes, I think that really helps as well. It’s nice to take other instructors’ classes. Although I don’t consider my own ride as a workout, because it’s not my ride, it’s the class’  ride more than it is mine. That’s why I take other instructors’ classes.

How did you get into Ride Revolution?

It was actually Isabelle Daza who got me into Ride Rev. She just messaged me randomly on Instagram. She was like, “Hey Lexi, my friends and I are putting up an indoor cycling studio, do you wanna become an instructor? It’s a secret.” And I was like, “There’s no harm in saying no.” I was at this point in my life where I was just trying to say yes to all these new opportunities. And so I was like, “Okay, if Belle suggested it, it can’t be weird.” I had absolutely no idea what [Ride Rev] was about. So I tried it out and here I am today. [Laughs] The rest is history.


What’s your ultimate workout song?

My ultimate workout song… at the end of the day, I really like songs with a heavy, big drop. I think the one that gets me every time, like I tell myself if I wanna kill the class, I play the Hardwell remix of the Chainsmokers’ Don’t Let Me Down. Because the drop is so strong. And it just goes so fast. The thrill, it’s all there in that one song. It captures my energy that I love to share with people.

What’s your favorite thing about teaching at Ride Rev?

I have to say, it’s the whole community. Seeing people come in and being awkward on the bike on their first time, and then seeing them three weeks later they’re in and out. I met this guy, and he was like, “You know, I made up for all the cardio for last year, because I’ve never ever considered working out until I tried indoor cycling.” And then they’re here like everyday. It’s seeing people you know, just change their mindset about fitness. I really like seeing that change in people.

Billie Capistrano, 25, @billiecapis

Ride Revolution

What’s a typical day for you?

Billie: It depends. My classes are usually at 12:30 in the afternoon, or around 5:30 p.m., so pretty early. Mostly Tuesdays, Thursdays, and weekends. Because on Monday and Wednesday, I anchor for livestream or TV for Premier Volleyball League, that’s on ABS-CBN Sports and Action.

What’s your workout routine like?

Well, of course as a cycling instructor I get a lot of cardio, so I have to balance the cardio out with going to the gym. I go to the gym and lift weights, and then my cardio primarily is cycling, but then I’ve also been doing pilates on and off throughout the years, and recently, I took some classes to be able to teach pilates. So that’s something I’m also planning to delve into.

What got you into fitness?

Actually when I was young, I was really big. I started going to the gym early on in high school, but it didn’t really work out for me. Until I went on a diet. A really strict diet that made me lose around 40 pounds. After that, it’s been a struggle to keep the weight off, because after you go on a diet without exercise, parang may mentality ka na, “Oh, if I eat this, I’ll get fat.” You get anxious with just keeping it together and not eating so much. So I started to go back to the gym, and I think that was a way for me to embrace the healthy lifestyle. I still eat what I want sometimes, but then now I couple with a good workout. Now I like to take care of my body more. I think if you’re happy with how you look, it translates in other aspects of your life, like you do things better, you get more inspired.

What’s one workout you’ve been wanting to try but haven’t been able to?

Billie: Not really a workout, but it’s a sport… Jiu Jitsu. I think it’s something I want to try.

What’s your favorite thing about teaching at Ride Revolution?

Billie: Aside from the people I get to work with, it’s the people that I get to teach. I get to know more about them every time they take your class: what songs they like, or what kind of workout they like. And free rides [Laughs].

What’s your advice for someone who’s just getting into fitness?

Billie: Don’t pressure yourself to see results ASAP. It’s a long process. It gets frustrating, especially when you reach that plateau where you’re like, “Oh, why am I not losing any weight? Why do I feel like nothing’s changing?” Try to just keep a healthier lifestyle, not super restricting yourself from the food that you want. I think it’s just the fact that you have that mindset where, “Oh, I’m gonna try and be better.” And you’re not impatient in a sense where you wanna see results tomorrow. I think it’s just a process that you deal with. People shouldn’t be discouraged if they don’t see results as quickly as they want to. Because it takes a while and you just have to be persistent.

Gab Banal, 27, @gabbanal

Ride Revolution

Tell us how your typical day looks like.

I’m an athlete, so if I have basketball training at night, I make it a point to workout during the morning or early afternoon. Usually my classes are at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. So I prepare for my class, and then afterwards I rest and then prepare for basketball practice. I alternate my indoor cycling classes with gym training.

What’s your workout routine like?

Depends. Cycling classes, they’re more of cardio and workout for your legs, so I alternate it with, say I ride Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; Tuesday and Thursday I do upper body. And then I just regulate it. Depends also if I have basketball practice, I’ll take it easy on my workout. But I give my all during cycling classes ‘cause it’s good for endurance and cardio. It’s an alternative workout for my basketball.

How often do you switch it up with basketball and indoor cycling?

Usually I have practice everyday, but we’re off-season [right now] so I try to ride as my normal routine. I prefer indoor cycling than the normal jogging because it doesn’t stress your knees, it’s a good cardio workout, and it’s safer ‘cause it’s indoors. And it’s a good community, you get to ride with your friends, people you have one common goal with, which is to be the better version of yourself. You inspire each other.

What got you into fitness?

I’ve been a basketball player since Grade 3. My body’s my investment, so I really had to take care of my body with what to eat, sleeping early. Basically it’s overall health, because if my body suffers, my career suffers also. So I really have to invest in my body and look for alternatives that are safe and that will be beneficial for me.

What’s your ultimate workout song?

Who Gon Stop Me by Jay-Z and Kanye West. It’s my favorite song to keep me motivated.

What advice would you give to someone just getting into fitness?

It’s not an overnight thing, and for me, it’s a journey. A healthy lifestyle is a journey. When you achieve your goal, don’t stop there. You continue it until you reach more goals. And what’s important for me is to inspire others also through your results, and how you live your life: being healthy, what you eat, how you take care of your body. Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done.

Kristina Sy, 33 @kristinagsy

Electric Studio

What does your typical day look like?

I’m a night owl. I actually wake up really late, I wake up at around 10:30 in the morning. When I wake up, I get my morning coffee, and that’s when I make my playlist for class. Once I finish with my playlist, then I have a gazillion meetings to go to, whether it’s in the studio or outside. I really like to pack my day so I can be as effective as possible. Then I usually teach a night class. After class, that’s when I sit down and do all my emails. I really like staying up late to do work, ‘cause that’s when I feel more focused — I feel like I’m not being pulled in different directions, so I can just sit down and hammer everything out. So I sleep at around 3 or 4 a.m. everyday.

What’s your workout routine like?

I teach at Electric around four times a week. On my off days, I either do pilates, or I do suspension training one or two times a week. I usually rest one or two days.

Which one out of those is your favorite?

Electric [Laughs]. No bias aside. What I love about Electric is that it’s a 45-minute workout, and in 45 minutes you get cardio, resistance training, you have weights as well, you do crunches and push-ups on the bike. So I feel like whenever I need to get a complete full body workout in 45 minutes, Electric really does it for me.

Tell us a bit more about how you decided to put up Electric Studio.

It started three years ago. At that time, Manila had no indoor cycling boutique studio, it didn’t exist.  There was no dedicated cycling studio. I lived in New York for a long time, and that’s where I got addicted to it. I really wanted to be the first to bring it to the Philippines. Once we did, we didn’t know how it would be regarded in the market. Indoor cycling has weights involved, as I mentioned, you do more than just ride on the bike. You really do a full body workout. But so far it’s been so good, we found that it’s really something that people love.

What’s your ultimate workout song?

I love music, its one of the things that makes Electric so good. Hearing the right song can really empower you and motivate you and turn a blah day into a really good day. For me it really depends on my mood, but right now I’m so addicted to Blkkk Skkkn Head by Kanye West. It really pumps me up all the time. It makes me workout.

What makes a good indoor cycling playlist?

Good question. The beauty about our classes is that you will never hear the same playlist twice. Our instructors play the music that appeals to them, we never tell them that you have to play specific songs, because for us, it’s really what motivates you. Of course there’s a curriculum where you make sure you get that good workout, but in terms of what makes a good playlist, it really depends on the instructor. Some instructors love more hip-hop, some people love more EDM, some people love pop. And the great thing is, if one day you feel like listening to rock, you know which instructor really plays a lot of rock music. If today you feel like you really need more EDM going, you know which instructor to take.

What advice would you give to someone who’s just getting into fitness?

You’re never too young to start. I know this is sometimes a common misconception about that. For me, fitness really started early, and I noticed that if you start early, it really becomes part of your lifestyle, so you don’t have to convince yourself that you have to workout — it’s already part of it. But if you’re only starting now, my suggestion is start now. There’s no perfect time, just do it. But the key to it really is to find a workout that you really love. Because at the end of the day, you will go to it if you love it.

Yessa Yu, @yessayu

Electric Studio

What does your typical day look like?

My average day is pretty hectic and often filled with client meetings and calls. I always find time to make a playlist and listen to it before class if I’m teaching after work that night. It’s not the most stress free schedule but a glass of good wine at the end of the day helps me relax!

Aside from Electric Studio, what keeps you busy?

I’m also a travel consultant by day specializing in luxury safaris to Africa and a proud mom to a chunky French bulldog.

What’s your workout routine like?

I love my studio workouts and hate the gym so my routine is mainly 3-4x a week of a mix between indoor cycling and pilates.

What got you into fitness?

The main motivation was to stay healthy and fit while eating my heart out.

What’s one workout you’ve been wanting to try?

None, I think I’ve tried them all!

What’s your favorite thing about teaching at Electric?

It’s more than just a workout, it’s a transcendental experience.

What advice would you give to someone just getting into fitness?

No matter how cliché it sounds, always be stronger than your excuses.

Nico Mojica, 26, @nicomojica

Electric Studio

Tell us how a typical day looks like for you.

There actually is no typical day, but one thing that remains constant is that I always have one workout, whether that’s teaching at Electric or going to the gym. But right now the thing that I’m working on is a company called My Code, where I teach kids computer programming. Because it’s only me and my sister who run it, I’m either meeting with schools, or setting up or teaching a class, or working on content like branding or promotional content. Usually, if I’m not teaching, I split the day up into two with a workout in the middle of the day.

What’s your workout routine like?

Other than Electric, I go to the gym three or four times a week. I do weights, it’s a typical… I guess you would call it a body-building style approach where I focus on getting stronger, and I hit each body part two to three times a week.

Do you work on the different body parts on rotation, or do you work on them all in one day?

Typically, I’ll hit two body parts a day, because I wanna hit each one twice a week.

What got you into fitness?

When I was younger, I was always fairly active, but I never did so well with team sports because when I was growing up I was very shy. But I always wanted to stay active, so when I was in high school and college, I got into just going to the gym. One thing that I really liked about going to the gym was that when I worked on myself and my body, it was something that I fully control. Everything that I do is my own decision, and all the results are because of the work I put in, and there aren’t really any external factors that can affect that. It’s just that when you have so much going on and things don’t go your way, one thing that you can always full control of is taking care of yourself.

What’s one workout you’ve been wanting to try but haven’t been able to?

One thing that I haven’t tried yet is CrossFit. But more specifically Olympic weightlifting, that’s something I wanna try in the future.

What’s your ultimate workout song?

Right now, it’s a song called Express Yourself by Diplo. It’s fast-paced, and all the workouts that I do are very fast-paced, so it fits the style of what I do.

What’s your favorite thing about teaching at Electric Studio?

I think it’s just the community, because there are many ways to workout and get fit, but when you go to Electric, you just wanna keep coming back because of the people, the music, the motivation. It’s almost not just good for you physically, it also helps clear your mind, relax.

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