Underwater Cycling: Pleasure Pain

Buzzing with energy, flashing lights, enticing music… cycling classes are like dance parties thrown by drill sergeants. Could they get any better? Possibly. I first read about underwater cycling in Womens Health. According to the magazine, this type of cardio would “[improve] aerobic endurance, [increase] breathing capacity and [improve] blood flow and flexibility.”¹ Cycling underwater sounded slightly more difficult than my regular class, but I was sold on the positive advert.

Desperate to trial the trend, an internet search led me into the arms of Hydrofit, who offered a private underwater cycling experience. From the moment that I read that it “[destroyed] cellulite,”² I was fully engaged. Could it be that this submerged-in-waist-deep-water-while-CYCLING may be the end-all to my ‘orange peel’ thighs? It sounded exhausting. To be fair, all of the creams, dry brushing, and reduction of sodium intake were also a lot of effort with disappointing results. I scanned through the company’s website so that I knew what to expect: Bluetooth, fancy lighting options and a tv – all in your private room. I used to choose my cardio based exclusively on whatever machine had an available tv screen. What would I be doing more of: channel surfing or pedalling? For good measure, I decided to download a cycling app, to keep my head in the game.


When I arrived at Hydrofit in Fulham, it felt as if I had stepped into a yummy-mummy oasis. The place doubled as a spa, offered nutritional services and was equipped with a juice bar. At that moment, I knew that I needed to enhance my experience with a detoxifying drink. As I sipped it at the bar, the therapist explained to me that they used ozone water for cycling, that each basin was thoroughly cleansed between clients and that if I wished to have a shower after, there was a range of spa products to be used at my disposal. As she led me down the hall to my room, I noted how tranquil the atmosphere was. You would never know that someone was voluntarily torturing themselves behind the seemingly anonymous doors!

In the private cabin, she walked me through the functions of the bike and what all of the icons on the screen meant. The only information I took in was: if I turned up the jets (I assumed literally and figuratively) it would “promote lymphatic drainage and reduce cellulite.”³

The Experience

As the basin slowly filled with water, I gradually began pedalling. Feeling confident, I picked up the pace and immediately cursed myself for being a penny pincher. Why didn’t I buy the £12 rubber trainers that the girl tried to sell me? How was I supposed to jump in and out of the saddle with slippery feet? Ten minutes later, I was frantically splashing my chest, trying to cool down. It may have begun as breezy biking but it was now creating an intense burning sensation in my legs. Take that, dimply thighs!

With two-thirds left to go, I needed to keep my spirits high. Supported by soulful and life affirming lyrics, I privately panted-along:

“You had my heart and we’ll never be worlds apart”… “you should have put a ring on it”… “beautiful liar”… “waka waka eh eh”


In the end, there was no need for the cycling app. My ego was determined to maintain a speedy pace of 40km/hr, pedalling through the resistance of the jets, sans rubber shoes.

The Verdict:

My tip: if you would like to trial the cycling but are not prepared to fork over £30, go during an off-peak time for a reduced rate, like I did. Later, Delphine, the creator of Hydrofit and the in-house nutritionist, tipped me off that they host popular cycling tournaments. The top three contestants who race the furthest in 30 and 45 minutes, are awarded fabulous prizes such as discounts, spa treatments and luxurious products. Bring it on!

I departed on wobbling legs, but felt empowered by the experience. I hope that with practice my ‘orange peel’ can finally be tossed in the bin for good!

Looking to brighten a dull routine? Then underwater cycling is for you! Visit the lovely ladies at Hydrofit to tone your gams and get your sweat on.


xx. Areta



  1. Jones, Amelia Jean. “Raise Your Fitness Game.” Women’s Health Jan/Feb 2014: page 49. Print.