On Thursday, I finally mustered enough courage and determination to attend my first SoulCycle class! When a new location opened in my area not too long ago, I was instantly curious about the hype that surrounded the new workout fad now taking over the suburbs. Before signing up, I knew little about SoulCycle and what it actually consisted of, so for months I put it on the backburner on the list of “Things I Want To Try.”
For those of you who haven’t heard of SoulCycle and wonder how it differs from a cycling class offered at the gym, SoulCycle is a full body indoor cycling workout that rides to the beat of the music while incorporating upper body exercises into the workout. More than that, what makes SoulCycle different is their approach. The forty-five minute class also consists of your instructor shouting positive and inspirational affirmations above the blaring music stemming from their mission: to provide “an inspirational, meditative fitness experience that’s designed to benefit the body, mind and soul.”
I’ve tried different types of workouts such as hot yoga, regular yoga, zumba as well as just the regular visits to the gym for some traditional cardio, but SoulCycle is in its own lane for sure. To get started, you first are required to sign up and reserve a class online. My friend and I researched tips for first time soulcylers on how to prepare, so the night before I focused on staying hydrated and getting a full night’s rest, while the morning of, I ate a light breakfast at least an hour before my session. As advised, we got to the studio ten to fifteen minutes earlier than our start time in order to fill out paperwork and get assistance with setting up our bike. Something to note is that cycling shoes are provided free of cost for your first ride and are charged $3 after, so if you plan to commit to SoulCycle, I would suggest purchasing your own cycling shoes.
Our class began and our lively instructor, Sabine, welcomed us along with the sound of pounding yet propelling music. I took note of the environment: a spacious room lined with close to fifty or more bikes, four fans in each corner of the room that I silently thanked God for, a mirrored wall at the front (where our instructor would claim as her designated spot), while the other walls were lined with inspirational quotes. Something I found to be very interesting and I came to really appreciate was the fact that the lights remained off for the majority of the session, an act done intentionally to encourage cyclers to focus on themselves and to not feel pressured or judged by their peers.
With that aspect, the upbeat music and the nonstop words of motivation streaming from Sabine, I focused on the task at hand. Our forty-five minute class consisted of slow and fast paced cycling intervals coupled with choreography, reps with weights (you can choose from one, two or three pound dumbbells), stretching and ended with an optional ninety-second plank which I opted out of due to the fact that I already couldn’t feel my arms by the end of the class. Another characteristic that I liked was that cell phones were prohibited which I believe really helped me to really focus on being in the moment and to connect with the experience even more.
Overall, I had a great first ride and I really enjoyed the class. It was fun and different. I went without knowing what to expect but kept an open mind. I liked the approach and the overall mission of SoulCycle resonated with me because I love all things that revolve around self-improvement and aim at bettering the soul. Although it is a bit expensive at $30 per class, ($20 if it is your first time) and my whole body is sore as I write this, I would definitely do it again. I left the class feeling proud, motivated, inspired and believing that I can achieve anything I put my mind and soul towards.