New workout class tones muscles and relaxes the mind
Photos by Chloe Tajada/for Metro Toronto
“Yeow! Work it girl!” Sari Nisker is shouting over thumping Jay Z music but this is no nightclub. This is Nisker’s and Casey Schacter’s yoga and cycling studio and they are working their butts off on a bicycle as part of their new workout regiment called Spynga.
Spynga is a combination of spinning and yoga, with a leg-trembling 25-minute cycle ride followed by a mind-soothing 25-minute yoga class.
“With one hour of Spynga you can soothe the soul and work all the parts of your body,” says Schacter, a petite brunette who should be a poster woman for yoga pants and is co-founder of Spynga.
Schacter and Nisker, both of whom are certified yoga and cycling instructors, say that Spynga strengthens the heart, tones the muscles and burns calories. Even after five minutes on the bike, you can feel the muscles tighten.
But you don’t have to be an expert to take a class.
“These exercises are not pounding the body into the pavement,” says Schacter. Spinning exercises include stretching and lifting your butt off the seat while pedaling. A yoga session can include positions such as the downward facing dog and cobra pose. “You’re going to sweat pretty early,” says Nisker, a thin, auburn-haired woman with a big smile and muscles to rival Lance Armstrong. “But it also lowers stress and tension and keeps your mind healthy.”
Stress is what led the best friends to founding Spynga. Both were living together in New York City; Schacter as an actor and Nisker working in product marketing at L’Oréal.
“I was stressed out and I needed more meditation in my life,” says Schacter.
While Schacter had been spinning since 1998, Nisker started to teach yoga, and they convinced each other to try each other’s favorite workout.
“I never was a gym person,” says Schacter.
They came up with the idea for Spynga about three years ago. “It was one of those funny conversations. We just said ’Let’s do Spynga!’” says Nisker.
The two combined their knowledge of cycling and yoga and are opening their studio to the public on April 16. With eight other instructors on board, classes are offered seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
They are also offering pilates, on-site nutritionists, dietitians and massage therapists. One-hour classes are $17 and packages are also available.