Sarah Takes On SoulCycle

I am coming clean. I have already broken one of my Spring resolutions and it has been less than a week… I went to SoulCycle last night because I was invited to go (freebie!) and couldn’t pass it up.  SoulCycle has  cult-like following in NYC and is rapidly expanding to another metropolitan areas as well. Two years later, after hearing about it non stop, I finally made it to a class!

They set a high bar for themselves with this description on their website: SoulCycle’s full-body workout has revolutionized indoor cycling and taken the world of fitness by storm. Combining inspirational coaching and high-energy music, SoulCycle offers an engaging workout that benefits both the mind and the body. Each SoulCycle ride delivers an intense FULL-BODY workout with a fun and energizing atmosphere. Not only do riders burn calories and get their hearts pumping, but using the SoulCycle® Method, riders also work their core and use hand weights to tone their upper bodies. In all of our studios, we ensure that SoulCyclists are treated to the country’s best instructors and staff, trained to deliver unique services and personal attention to all levels of riders. Beyond providing an intense cardio workout, SoulCycle also incorporates a mental component of inspirational coaching. By keeping the lights low and riding by candlelight, SoulCycle creates a cardio sanctuary where riders can come to clear their heads.

I arrived at Soul Tribeca (flagship) about 15 minutes before my 5:30 class ($34) and got rental shoes ($3) and water ($2). My bike had been reserved earlier in the week. Class sign-ups begin every Monday at noon for the upcoming week (Tuesday-Monday). Apparently the most popular classes fill up in seconds. Stuffed my running backpack and trainers into a (free) locker and slipped on my cycling shoes. Stepped into the candle-lit studio a bit intimidated but ready to go! The room was packed with bikes arranged in a puzzle-like fashion. Most of the people in the class were already spinning away. Found #30, quickly adjusted my settings and snapped in. The class started just a few moments later led by a popular instructor named Rique. The beginning of the class was a blur with lots of ups and downs and side to side. The music was an indistinguishable techno mix that slowed and sped up but never stopped. We started with a sprint and then transitioned to a hill and then back to a sprint, continuing in this manner for most of the class. The full-body part of the workout quickly became evident as many of the sprints involved some sort of push-up or crunch (in time to the music of course) on the bike. About three quarters of the way through we sat up on the bike and while continuing to spin did a full upper body weight workout. The class ended with a standing stretch before we were quickly ushered out to make way for the overly eager Soul fanatics waiting for the next class.

I really enjoyed the class. It has all the ingredients of a solid workout although it definitely is what you make of it. You can push yourself or chose not to. I would have preferred pop hits as opposed to techno music. I subsequently found out that most classes do in fact feature pop music. Our class ended up being an hour but most are just 45 minutes.  If I ever found myself needing a break from running or was injured, Soul Cycle would definitely be the most enjoyable although maybe not the best way to stay fit. I can see how it is so popular with busy New Yorkers looking for an efficient workout and an enjoyable experience all wrapped in one. I would definitely go again but not if I had to shell out the $39 myself. Fingers crossed for another invite!

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