By Mario Toneguzzi
Loma Ammar, a clinical geriatric pharmacist, has a passion for helping people lead healthier lifestyles.
It’s that passion that led her to establish CycleBar Windermere in Edmonton - the brand’s first upscale indoor cycling studio in Western Canada.
The Edmonton location, in about 3,000 square feet, will open March 26.
Ammar said the studio will have 51 stationary bikes in the cycle theatre.
“Essentially what we offer is high intensity, interval training on a stationary bike in the environment that is very similar to a nightclub. It’s dark. Loud music. There’s lights in there and it’s essentially a different way to get a workout in,” says Ammar.
“The benefits of cycling is that number one it’s excellent for cardiovascular activity. Very, very low impact . . . And on top of it all, it’s fun. The music. The fact that there’s 50 people in a room sweating it out together, feels like you’re in a concert then you’re done. Essentially it brings together all these different elements that working out in a regular gym or working out on your own you don’t typically get. There’s something about group fitness. You feed off the energy of those around you.”
CycleBar has more than 150 locations in North America.
“They’ve branched out into areas even overseas, Dubai and Great Britain, and we are number two in Canada. The first location was in Toronto and that opened last year,” says Ammar.
The Edmonton location is in the southwest part of the city in the Currents of Windermere shopping plaza.
The studio will feature a stadium-tiered spin theatre, giving each rider a clear view of their instructor and allowing for movement between the bikes. Classes range from beginner to pro. After each workout, CycleStats are emailed to riders providing a breakdown of personal metrics like heart rate, power, calories, and more.
Amenities will include spin shoes, bike selection at time of booking, snacks, water, free parking and high-end toiletries, providing a spa-like atmosphere.
“Boutique fitness is a little bit different than big box gyms. So what we do is essentially create a space where all you really need to do is show up,” says Ammar. “It’s more like a spa than a gym if you think about it that way. The whole purpose is to create a space that’s really embedded in the community and is also like a hub. A hub of fitness where people come and get a workout in and also develop relationships with all the people that come."
“My intention is to create a space where people of all walks of life, and all fitness levels, can come together to become the greatest versions of themselves.”
The location will have about five or six classes per day during the week and three to four each day on the weekend.
Ammar’s personal journey in life pushed her in this direction of opening a CycleBar studio.
In 2016, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“As a woman, 38 years old you’re diagnosed with this disease and you’re thinking ‘okay I’m going to go through physical changes and all these things are going to happen to me. I’m going to lose a breast and lose my hair’. That all happened but throughout it all I maintained my physical activity and I felt like that really pulled me through. So for me it was knowing that about myself and knowing that because I still worked out I felt good no matter what . . . I felt good from the inside and that’s what physical fitness did for me,” says Ammar.
“And then after going through surgeries, I was doing research and found out that actually physical activity and exercise reduces the risk of cancer . . . It became something not only that I was doing to maintain my weight but also something I was doing to stay alive.”
It was during this time that she decided to open a spin studio.
“I wanted to create a place for others that can help them the way fitness helps me,” says Ammar. “That’s what took it to the next level and made me want to create space where people would come and feel better than when they came in. Essentially it’s a passion project for me . . . It comes from the heart. My intention is to promote to health and wellness.”
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.