Fitness Class Review: Terlingo Cycle

A spin class that cares as much about the state of your mind as your body.

The Class: A Terlingo Cycle class vows to “guide you through an inspirational journey geared towards strengthening your heart while cleansing your body, mind and soul.”


The Appeal: Spin is my cardio exercise of choice. I hate running so much that the sight of my sneakers makes me nauseous, so the idea of combining 45 minutes of heart-pumping cardio with a therapeutic edge was enticing. Eager to compare Terlingo to other local spin studios, I grabbed a friend and booked a class.


The Instructor: We decided to go straight to the source and ride with John Terlingo himself. Terlingo is a Dallas native who honed his cycling skills in Los Angeles for 10 years before moving back home to open his own studio. He greeted us with a smile from the front desk before leading an exhilarating class that changed the way I think about spin.


The Space: The Oak Lawn studio is just off Cedar Springs Road on Regan Street. The entrance opens to a welcome area with cubbies for personal items and padded benches to sit on while you wait for class to begin. A large brick wall with a simple white neon sign reading “Provide Nurture Guide” encapsulates Terlingo’s philosophy in a nutshell. There are no showers or locker rooms here, but the restrooms and changing room provide ample space to get dressed if you’re coming straight from work or catching a lunch-time class. The cycle room has three rows of stationary bikes facing a brick wall lined with backlit mirrors and the instructor’s spot. A wall to the left houses towels and free weights, the only accessories you’ll need.


Who’s There: The women outnumbered the men in a class of about 25. The crowd was young, fit, and dressed in trendy gear. The studio sells a decent selection of trademarked clothing, and students are encouraged to wear their own locking shoes (rentals will run you $3 per class).  I struck up a conversation with two strangers before class that jumped right into why they love working out there. One said she loved the lack of competition in the class format, and the other compared it to therapy as she described the meditation period that the instructors talk you through at the end of each session.


How It Went: My accomplice is a SoulCycle veteran (they utilize the same style of bikes), so he clipped right onto his pedals and took off while I stood on one foot as a trainer locked my shoes in place for me. Terlingo spent the first song talking us through the motions and getting everyone in sync as we mentally set our intentions (a common yoga practice). To my surprise, we spent most of the next 40 minutes riding with our behinds hovering just above the seats, breaking only for a few seated sprints. We were encouraged to pedal together to the beat of the music as we bobbed up and down, left to right, and back to front. Terlingo didn’t go over how to use the screens at the front of our bikes, but it didn’t look like many students were using them. My heart rate climbed to a steady 160 (my intense cardio average) and stayed there throughout the class.

Later, we grabbed our free weights (I grabbed 3 pounds) and did a series of curls and isolated holds that torched my arms and shoulders as the last few songs played. When Terlingo said we were “riding home” I couldn’t believe it. Hasn’t class just started? I must have blacked out. A cool-down song began, and we closed our eyes to ride calmly as Terlingo hopped through the room misting each rider’s face with an aromatherapy blend (cheesy, but effective).

Finally, we stretched and rested in a few moments of meditation as Terlingo encouraged us to let go and remember all of the good in our lives and told us about a sweet letter that had been left for him in the studio’s new mailbox that day.


The Aftermath: I slept like a rock and felt more exhausted than sore the next day.  


Loved: The killer music included inspiring mixes by artists I didn’t recognize, along with plenty of Britney, Madonna, and J. Lo. I also fell for the idea of meditating in action. Focusing heavily on breathing and moving in sync creates strength in practices like yoga or Pilates, so it makes sense to bring that method to a class like this.


Hated: It was difficult to hear instructions over the music, so I had to keep an eye on Terlingo and the people around me in order to keep up. I also didn’t like the fact that there’s no way to know how much resistance you’ve put on the bike. I’m a numbers girl. I like to know how heavy everything is so I can work on increasing weight with time.


Cost: Cleansing your soul doesn’t come cheap. Single classes will run you $25 each, or you can purchase large packs of classes to get the price-per-class down to $20. They do not offer an unlimited monthly rate at this time.


Difficulty Level: This class is tough. You can turn the resistance down on your bike as much as you want, but in the end, if you’re not keeping up with the pace of the class, you might feel a bit out of place. Pick a bike on the back row and observe the regular patrons for your first few sessions.


Bottom Line: We giggled a few times at some of the antics, but we got one hell of a workout. If you’re looking for a zen place to spin, book a class and give this unconventional studio a try.