Editors note: Originally written in April 2016.
I went to SoulCycle today and almost died.
SoulCycle, the suburbanite craze that is taking over all of the cities that matter. It's a cycling class on steroids: an hour of intense cycling to intense music with an intense lead cyclist.
I went today because someone told me it was free for law students and as a future lawyer who spends all of her non-income on organic food, vacations, and lipstick - fancy free fitness is all I need to hear. So I put on my overpriced yoga pants, put on a lipstick that was bright enough to show but subtle enough to look like I didn’t put on lipstick for the gym (because who does that) and headed to SoulCycle not knowing what to expect.
As soon as I got to Soul Cycle Coral Gables (or Soul Cycle CoGa as the cool kids say) I hear loud music, I see a lot of people in leggings and I feel the pulse of energy in the air.
That is when my fear first set in; the energy was so high I could tell that everyone was bracing themselves for the next hour. This was the first moment I wanted to run away.
We signed in and they gave us SoulCycle shoes - which reminded me of bowling shoes and thus slightly grossed me out. But, I was committed to seeing for myself why this exercise craze that had all the rich housewives losing their minds.
We walk into a dark room and there are a ton of fancy bike machines all pretty close together. In the center of the room there is a slightly elevated stage and bike with a dim spotlot that shines on the DJ's laptop. (The DJ and the main cyclist are the same person). The stage is illuminated by candle light. Mood set.
Rachel walks in, a super toned, sweet, sporty woman with a lot of long blonde hair and a lot of energy. I could hear in her voice that she was going to try to kill me. She reminded me of the girl that was the star of my high school's soccer team. Hot sporty blonde, raspy voice, strong enough to toss you over a balcony but too "chill" to ever really put her hands on you. Rachel did not let me down.
Immediately she got the class moving. I started a little late because I had to have help being snapped/strapped to my bike. Yes, you read correctly, they attach your feet to your bike and so, to my dismay, I could not run. I was stuck - on a bike, in a dark room fully of hyper SoulCyclers with Lululemon Pants on and high messy buns.
The class is a non stop cardio class - you pedal at different speeds with varying levels of resistance. You do upper body exercise, weights, arms, core, and of course legs. I’m not sure if Cycle CoGa offers a beginners class but I would recommend it because it took me until the middle of the class to even figure out how to change the resistance on my bike and I never figured out exactly how to multi-task by peddling and doing all the other things she was shouting from her Britney Spears headset.
Rachel was extremely uplifting and positive. In between Demi Lovato and Rihanna tracks she was yelling to us about confidence, inner power, and pushing through your self-doubt. She emphasized hard work and using the bikes to peddle away your stress. She also screamed at us to stop settling and start recognizing that through our effort we desere better. Rachel, girrrrl, YES! I loved it. If I were able to breath during the session I would've told her that I appreciated the messaging.
The one major problem I had with Soul Cycle had nothing to do with Rachel, or Soul Cycle Coga, but was that I realized (or was reminded) that I have NO rhythm. I could not locate the beat no matter how hard I tried. I was thankful that the space was a cell-phone free zone because I wanted no evidence of my inadequacies. I looked like a jellyfish attached to a bike: no muscle, no rhythm, just sweaty wet limbs flailing around.
Still, even with my lack of rhythm I got an INTENSE work out. When I finally figured out how to adjust my resistance, I increased it and peddled until my legs burned. There were so many times I wanted to climb off of my bike and run out of the room but I couldn't even figure out how to detach the shoes - actually at the end of the workout I just took the shoes off and left them attached to the bike and wobbled back into the lobby.
I think Rachel almost killed me but it was awesome. I finally understand the craze… I'm going to go die again tomorrow.