Soul Cycle – The Good Kind of Cult

Soulcyle_imageIf you have an Instagram or ears for that matter you have most likely heard of God’s gift to group fitness…Soul Cycle. It has gained a cult following since it’s humble beginnings in New York and is now spread out across the country. I don’t normally take other group exercise classes outside of my own, but when a cute girl asks you take a class with her you don’t say no. So I agreed to take a 7:30 AM class on a Sunday…who the hell wakes up that early on a Sunday? You would expect people to be crawling into that class with a fatal case of bed head right? Thankfully to solve this they had free cold brew coffee ready to go so everyone could get cracked out of their freaking mind beforehand.

So here I was sitting in class waiting for the caffein to bring life to me when the instructor walks in. This man was not just high on life, he was overdosed on it. He greeted every guest with a smile and a sassy joke that left a quirky smile on your face. Watching him make his rounds I quickly realized I was one of 4 guys in the class of 50 people, which I suppose I could have seen coming. So if you’re ever looking to pick up chicks I think I have found their watering hole. Before I had finished my second cup of coffee the doors opened up and everyone went to their bikes. Having taught a couple spin classes I figured I would know how this class would go down, but it was much different from the class I teach. After taking 5 minutes to clip my shoes in the instructor dimmed the lights and began with a speech that had a Braveheart meets Independence Day vibe to it. He hyped us up, put on a playlist and away we went.

If I had known rhythm was a major part of the class I would have reconsidered coming, because I was off on every single beat imaginable. It was 45 minutes of peddling, leaning forward and backwards, twisting side to side, and constantly cheering on the instructor as he cheered us on. Everyone had a laser focus on the instructor and he made sure to look each and every person in their eyes, and their souls. It did start to feel a bit repetitive, but because of the music and constant pep talks from the instructor I didn’t have time to think about this. When the class was all said and done I was drained physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We made our way out of class and the instructor said a farewell to all of us individually. Once I had another two cups of that cold brew I was able to gather my thoughts and give an honest review of the class.

Let’s start with the price, at first it seemed a bit pricey at $30 a class (not including shoe rentals). When you consider costs of other classes and even personal training it seems pretty reasonable and pretty affordable for what you get. You can easily spend $50 dollars a session on training and aren’t guaranteed to burn as many calories. So the price of class is definitely reasonable.

Was it a good workout? I would say so if you’re just considering burning calories. My beef with cycling is the lack of upper body, core, and especially hamstrings. Since cycling is a quad dominant exercise and most people in this world have knee problems from this already I was hoping they would address it in some way. Also, like most cycle classes, they had a small weight circuit that only hit biceps, shoulders, and triceps. They tried hitting chest with some presses on the handles of the bike but nothing that really worked this area. They also tried to hit the core with some strange feeling crunches and attempts at Russian twists on the bike but I figured that’s all they could really do. I did manage to feel a burn in my arms, and quads and when I checked my friend’s fitness watch it said she’d burned around 400 calories at least. So since I’d come to this class looking to burn calories, not work a specific muscle, I was more than pleased.

Did it live up to the hype? I would say so, thanks to the instructor you forget how much constant pain you’re in. They do a good job at the beginning of class greeting guests, meeting new members, and trying to inspire people. They remember birthday’s, comment on your Instagram post, and always love taking pictures. The do a great job creating a sense of community that I have tried to incorporate in my own practice. You get this weird cult/family sort of feeling when you show up and after you leave the class.

All in all I enjoyed the experience and would recommend it to someone who is looking to burn some calories and have fun doing it in a group setting. If you’re already fit and looking to be a little more specific I would stick with some personal training but if calories are your biggest priority this class will definitely help you. One day I may take the class again when my soul needs some inspiring.

XOXO – Fitness and Shit.

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