Why I am still OBSESSED with SoulCycle

Written by: on Friday, June 27th, 2014
Indoor Cycling Class

Get ready to turn off the lights: SoulCycle classes are illuminated by candlelight, which adds to their aura.

By now, most people know about SoulCycle and their fiercely loyal pack of followers (of which, I admit, am one). Riders can be spotted from miles away with SoulCycle apparel and those telltale metallic shopping bags. Riders ‘like’ SoulCycle’s Instagram and Facebook posts religiously, enthusiastically share their success stories on the website, attend events where everyone is just as obsessed as they are, and rarely skip even just one regular cycling session (doing so has been known to provoke anxiety in even the most sane riders among us).

You definitely don’t see this kind of crazy obsessive enthusiasm in a gym. And that’s how—and why—SoulCycle (which has 29 studios across America) differs from your average workout.

The mantra of SoulCycle—which came onto the scene in 2006 thanks to founders Julie Rice and Elizbeth Cutler—is “Take your journey, change your body, find your soul”. This is what makes it unlike any other cycling studio or class. According to New York City-based rider-turned-instructor Amy Warshaw, “SoulCycle is about training your body, mind, and soul. In a city, which is all about competition, SoulCycle is about allowing yourself to be selfish during your ride. When an individual feels better about themselves they interact better with all those around them.”

Indoor Cycling

You can burn up to 500 (and sometimes more) calories in one 45-minute class.

In every 45- to 60-minute class, the instructor guides riders through steep hills, fast sprints, and arm-strengthening moves with one-, two-, three-, or five-pound hand weights. The playlists are always different—but inspiring—filling the studio with energy, power, and strength. Unlike most other cycling classes, SoulCycle promotes itself as an emotional experience that encourages self-improvement and discovery. A crystal is placed behind each instructor bike to encourage balance…a little out there, I admit, but it seems to work as there’s plenty of good energy in each class—and I always leave feeling energized and balanced.

I ride at the West 77th street SoulCycle four times a week—and yes, you could say it, I am literally obsessed just like everyone else who signs on for this workout. It makes me feel fit, healthy, strong—and happy (most likely the result of the feel-good hormones, called endorphins, that literally race through your body when you’re on a super-fast free ride).

There’s an energy, too, that makes you work harder—in both the class and in life. When you push yourself to get through a really tough ride, you just feel better about yourself. Since I started riding consistently at SoulCycle, I have a newfound sense of confidence and commitment to myself and what I can—and want to—do. Not surprising, says Warshaw, who says her favorite part of teaching is the feeling she gets when she walks into the room. “I have the opportunity to touch someone’s life,” she says, “to inspire them, make them smile, and push them harder than they ever thought possible.”

And that’s reason enough to get your butt off the couch and to class as often as possible. It’s also why—in a world where fitness fads come and go—SoulCycle is here to stay.

 

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A Father’s Incredible Dedication to His Son

Written by: on Friday, June 27th, 2014

In honor of Team Hoyt, who finished their last Boston Marathon together this year, I’m featuring this video—which brings me to tears every time.

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Get Married For a Healthier Heart?

Written by: on Monday, June 9th, 2014
Happily Married Couple

Turns out that love, particularly when it results in marriage, keeps your heart healthy.

A recent survey of 3.5 million Americans has shown that people who are married—regardless of age, sex, or even cardiovascular disease risk factors—have significantly less chances of having any kind of cardiovascular disease than those who are single, widowed, or divorced.

I find this fascinating because while we do so much for a healthy heart—exercise regularly, eat healthy, etc.—there are social factors, like marriage, that play a big role, too (and are often forgotten).

With so many couples griping about their own marriages, I had to ask lead study investigator and NYU Langone cardiology fellow Carlos L. Alviar, M.D., if this research applies to couples, whether they’re happily married or not. And, according to Alviar, these findings do hold true for both happy and unhappy couples. Here’s what he had to say:

“There are some intrinsic factors from just having a spouse or partner that could contribute to better cardiovascular health,” he says. “For instance, a spouse might still take care of his/her significant other and promote healthy habits (medical follow up, diet, exercise, medication compliance, etc.) even if their marriage is not the most harmonious one. In the same way, the fact of not being alone might also contribute to lower levels of physical and psychological stress—which directly affect cardiovascular disease—even if at other times there are disagreements or unpleasant moments.”

There you have it: if you’re worried about heart disease—get hitched or stay hitched. Here are some of the interesting stats from this research, courtesy of NYU Langone Medical Center:

Married People Have Less Cardiovascular Problems

 

 

 

 

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Healthy Vegetable Frittata

Written by: on Friday, June 6th, 2014
Healthy Vegetable Fritatta

Fritattas make a perfect breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Looking for a quick and healthy meal that tastes fabulous? Your search is over. My Spring Vegetable Frittata is super easy to make. Plus, it’s loaded with fresh asparagus, tomatoes, and onions. (You can also add other veggies of your choice like peppers and spinach.) Besides using quality ingredients, the key to making this recipe is your skillet. Make sure you use a really good pan so your frittata cooks evenly and slides out easily. Watching your cholesterol? Go ahead and use egg substitute or instead of 6 eggs use 4 whole eggs and 4 egg whites. My family loves eating a light dinner like a frittata or quiche on warm spring or summer evenings. Last time I made Spring Vegetable Frittata, my teenage son informed me, “Guys don’t eat frittatas, they eat skillets!” Needless to say, he cleaned his plate! Your family is going to love it, too.

Spring Skillet Frittata

4 Servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 small red potatoes (12 ounces), each cut into 8 pieces (I used new potatoes)

2 cups asparagus, cut-up into bite-size pieces

4 plum tomatoes, sliced

3 tablespoons green onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 large eggs

1/3 cup skim milk (or almond, rice, or hemp milk if you’re dairy free)

Salt and pepper (optional)

½ cup feta cheese or dairy-free cheese (optional)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

 

Directions

1 Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add potatoes, cover and cook about 10 minutes or until almost tender, stirring occasionally. Add asparagus, tomatoes, onions, and garlic; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until the asparagus is almost tender, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Add the milk, salt and pepper if using, and beat well.

3. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the skillet. Sprinkle with the feta cheese and basil. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and cook about 12 minutes or until the eggs are set. To serve, cut into wedges.

Nutritional information per ¼ frittata serving (with dairy) 327 calories, 17 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrate, 18 grams fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 296 milligrams cholesterol, 3.5 grams fiber, 341 milligrams sodium

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