First-Timer’s Guide to SoulCycle

“Wow, what just happened?” were the first words that came out of my mouth as I left my first SoulCycle class. I was pushed, I was challenged, I was empowered; I loved it.

I showed up 10 min. early which wasn’t early enough for a first-timer because I felt rushed and didn’t have enough time to get a feel for the bike. Everyone is helpful and you first need to acquire a pair of shoes from the front desk that lock into your bike Everyone was assigned a bike beforehand and I was bike #33 which was in the middle row and in front of the instructor.

The room was dark and at first the music seemed overwhelmingly but it was powerful in the end. The music matches the motions on the bike and pedaling is perfectly timed. Everyone moves as one as we listened to the instructor to start doing push-ups on the bike and sways to the left and right. My arms were burning while my eyes were fixed on copying the person in front of me who seemed to know exactly what she was doing.

As we simulated going up a hill, we were instructed to turn the knob on our bike to the right to increase resistance. It increasingly got difficult and my legs burned for rest but I was too committed to wimp out and stop. The class works in HIIT intervals, where you do an extremely fast and hard workout for about 10 min. and then take a short break, and repeat.

I was very surprised yet again when we were told to grab the weights on the shelves on our bikes. I scoffed to find that they were only three pounds, only to be breathing hard two minutes later as we upped the resistance while doing punches with the weights. I liked how the instructor did’t point out what we were doing wrong and instead had us independently figure it out and follow our group-mates. SoulCycle is built on community and everyone working as a team. There was no leaderboards, no competition; it was everyone working together in this empowering environment and pushing ourselves to our maximum potential. The instructor kept reminding of this: “Think of one more minute of pain, push yourself for one more minute, think of your fellow bike members also pushing themselves through this minute.”

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At the very end we dismounted our bikes and stretched. The final words that she told us were “this is a judgement free zone.” That stuck with me, that an exercise class could also be a community. The rules were posted, “Leave your cell phone, stress, and negative thoughts.” It was a spin class with a yoga mindset. When you “click in” to the bike, you are “clicking in” to a new mindset. There is something fun about riding to your max, not caring how much you are sweating, wearing your cutest workout clothes because that is the norm, and plugging into 45 minutes of Cycling Nirvana.

I invite you to try something new and go to SoulCycle. I guarantee you will not regret it.

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