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.