When I was first told about SoulCycle, I laughed at the thought that anyone would pay the ridiculous price they charge to ride a stationary bike for 45 minutes. Halfway through the class, however, I decided I wasn’t leaving without buying a package first. There’s a reason they have such a dedicated following of people who pay those crazy prices time and time again.
The Sweat Scale
While 45 minutes might not seem like a long workout, don't be fooled. What the class lacks in length, it makes up for in intensity and difficulty. The class, which mixes dance and cycling, is coined a "party on a bike" – where you must find the rhythm of the beat in each (awesome) song played. After those 45 minutes of spinning (and one arms song) in that enclosed room with only some corner fans, I stepped out of the spin room looking like I was stepping out of the shower.
The only class that worked with my schedule during this hectic week was a 5:30 AM class taught by Julianne. While the thought of being up before the sun terrified me, strangely, I didn’t hesitate before reserving my bike. Soul allows you the option of reading a little bit about the instructor teaching the class and even gives you samples of the recent music they’ve played, which I especially liked because if I’m waking up at 5:30 AM to do some high energy cardio, I want to at least hear good music.
From the second Julianne walked into the studio, I had a feeling that I was in for a good class. Between her badass demeanor and comment about how she only wears black while working out (same here Julianne, I'll stop wearing it when they make a darker color), I knew that I made the right choice. The minute class started, we were instructed to turn up the resistance and start to hit the rhythm of the music. Along with the resistance being turned up, there were the "dance moves" – push ups, crunches, quick fires, tap backs to work different muscles, all while keeping the rhythm to whichever bomb ass beat was going at the time. About 3/4 of the way through the class, when the sweat scale was at an all time high, comes the arm circuit, in which you can use weights anywhere from 1-5 pounds, or (if you’re really daring) you can mix weights for a higher number. By the end of the class, every muscle I had (including those that I didn't know about) was worked, leaving me absolutely exhausted but desperate for more. I felt completely energized, full of endorphins and "high on sweat," and realized that I was now in simple terms, a Soul addict.
What To Wear and How To Prepare
I couldn’t count my blessings enough that I was not my friend who wore thermal leggings (never mix your thermal leggings and workout clothes, folks) to the class. I highly suggest wearing lightweight clothing because between the natural heat of the room and the badass moves you’ll need lightweight, sweat-absorbing clothes that can breathe. As for shoes, you will need a pair of spin shoes. You can bring your own or rent a pair from the front desk (for $3). Each bike is compatible with both Look Delta and SPD clips. Another must-have is water, as you will not make it through class without it (or at least if you do, you’re probably some sort of superhuman). You can bring your own (there are water fountains to fill up your own bottle) and SmartWater is also sold at the studio for $2.
If dark enclosed spaces aren’t your thing, Soul probably isn’t either. There are so many parts of the exhilarating experience that put the Soul in SoulCycle and the atmosphere is at the top of that list. Once the door closes (and everyone is on their bikes), the “soul etiquette” is kicked into high gear and there is no talking, or leaving the room (unless it is an absolute emergency). At first this seems unnecessary and annoying, but because each bike is in close proximity to each other, the smallest things can become distracting (don’t mess up the zen vibes of the room, just follow the rules!) The next thing that contributes to the spiritual transcendance (seriously, it’s probably better than a therapy session) you will undergo during a Soul class is the music. The music blares out of the speakers all over the room (if it's too loud for you, there are free ear plugs available at the front desk!) The lighting of the room mostly from dimly lit grapefruit scented candles around the room (talk about zen!) The scent of these candles reaches the very depths of your soul (seriously), and instantly calms you so much so, that when you do smell the scent elsewhere you’ll immediately be calling to reserve your next class.
The Bottom Line
SoulCycle is a physical, spiritual and mental workout (mind, body, soul, duh) that will leave you sore, sweaty and high on endorphins. Really, what else could you want from a workout?
Location in Relation To Campus:
15 minutes away, down post road
4 exits on I95 South
(203) 683 7685
372 Post Rd E
Westport, CT 06880