Soul Cycle is a spin class that has amassed a large following of celebrities, models, and Instagrammers over the past few years. It’s often deemed to be part of the LA-green-juice-drinking-lululemon-wearing cult-like society that has spawned from the healthy lifestyle industry in LA.
As an avid gym-goer and lover of endorphin highs, I put it on my list of things to try out on my two week trip in America this summer. I wanted to see if it lived up to the hype, or if it was simply a trend that has been over-tagged on Instagram.
The tempo and movements change every 45 seconds, so you can’t afford to lose focus…
Luckily, there was a promotion on while I was there that allowed first-time riders to go for free. Otherwise, it’s $30 per class, which explains the celebrity following! My friend and I woke up early on our third morning in LA to head to the Santa Monica class.
As soon as you enter the studio, welcoming receptionists provide you with cycling shoes and towels (trust me, you’ll need them). The girls’ bathrooms were kitted out with absolutely everything you could need pre and post-workout, including little extras like hairspray, cleanser, and moisturiser. The hefty price started to make much more sense.
Being constantly focussed on keeping in time somewhat distracts you from the exertion…
The actual class itself was about 45 minutes, and intense. The bikes are crammed in a dark, candle-lit room, surrounding a platform where the instructor (who’s a little crazy, but in all the right ways) rides. The tempo and movements change every 45 seconds, so you can’t afford to lose focus.
Luckily though, being constantly focussed on keeping in time somewhat distracts you from the exertion, which is why these kinds of workouts are so effective. Weights were also incorporated into the routine (think 90’s spandex workout video kind of arm weights), meaning every part of your body was fully worked in 45 minutes.
Both my friend and I admitted afterwards that we got a bit emotional at points…
Where Soul Cycle differentiates itself from other mainstream fitness classes is that they claim to be a cardio class that works your mind, body, and soul. Clearly, this has the potential to sound pretentious and cliché, but mid-way through the class, when things are getting tough, the instructor asks you to dig deeper, giving you mini life lessons and mantras similar to what you might hear in yoga or meditation classes.
This kind of approach might be scoffed at by some, but if you accept it for what it is and learn to go with it, you could find that the experience provides more than just a workout. Both my friend and I admitted afterwards that we got a bit emotional at points, as we both resonated with what the instructor had said in different ways, and other people have also admitted to crying in the classes.
The only way you’d feel out of place is if that’s how you allow yourself to feel…
The process is cleansing and while some may see it as an overpriced workout fad, I enjoyed the experience and would recommend it to those who are interested in fitness (or even those who aren’t), and travelling in the States.
While the majority of clientele were young women clad in expensive workout gear, there were men, more mature women, and people of different shapes and sizes. The only way you’d feel out of place is if that’s how you allow yourself to feel. My only piece of advice is this: the front row is for the well-seasoned spinners, first-time riders, beware!