By Kirsti Correa | Photo by Jody Tiongco
Flanking the Newport Beach border, Grit Cycle on Santa Ana Avenue in Costa Mesa beckons people looking for an upbeat workout. The energy pulsates with loud music, neon lights, encouraging instructors and a 500-plus-calorie-blasting session in less than an hour.
“[Grit Cycle] is the one workout where I do put a little bit more thought into what I’m wearing,” says Cassie Piasecki, a Newport-based certified Pilates instructor and nutrition consultant who has been attending classes about a month shy of Grit’s opening in 2013. “I have a philosophy—I think that when you look good, meaning what you’re wearing, you work out a lot harder.”
For Piasecki, an ensemble starts with wearing something to spark motivation before the class begins. “On my way into Grit, I wear some sort of T-shirt with a positive message on it [like] ‘high vibes’ or ‘namaste,’ ” she says, adding that her favorite brand is Spiritual Gangster, which is carried at the studio.
The type of sports bra she’s wearing underneath the shirt is equally important, as it becomes the focal point of her outfit when the sweat-inducing workout begins. “If I wear something tight and covering me like a T-shirt, I would just be drenched,” Piasecki explains, noting her ideal option is Lululemon’s Free to be Wild bra, which has an open neckline and crisscross back straps for more freedom under a loose tank. “On the top, less is better so my body can sweat and the sweat can come off.”
Accessories like socks and shoes are at the forefront for fashion and function. Cycling requires specific footwear compatible with the pedals to allow for better control and muscle balance as you ride. They aren’t as bulky as running shoes and often come in bright colors, though Piasecki prefers a neutral color for style’s sake.
“I wear a white shoe so it’ll match all of my outfits. If I have a pink shoe, I’m the matchy-matchy girl who’s not going to wear those with green pants,” she explains. “And I always have a Lululemon bag (currently the Om For All bag) that has a slot for my cycle shoes.
“Also, 99 percent of the time I wear a neon sock because when the lights go down at Grit, I like my socks to glow in the dark,” she adds. “When I’m shopping, if I can tell that it’ll glow in the dark at Grit, that’s another sales point for me.”
The final component of the look is the bottoms. While the bikes are stationary, indoor cycling requires a lot of leg movement and the right type of leggings can make all the difference.
“There’s a brand they carry at Grit called Teeki. I love them,” Piasecki says. “No. 1, they’re made out of recycled water bottles. No. 2, they stay on the body. No. 3, the nature of that fabric is that it dries very fast. Besides being super cute, it solves those functions that I need. If a pair has a cute print but it doesn’t feel right then I don’t care how cute it is.
“Another company I really like at Grit is called Koral,” Piasecki adds. “The reason I like those clothes is they’re kind of edgy. The leggings have a little bit of sheen to them and … can take me from place to place. I might go get juice after at Nekter [with friends], so we’ll take a rinse off but throw on another athleisure outfit.”