Hello there! I’m Julie, author of A Better Life with Burgers. I’m thrilled to be guest posting on Jenn’s amazing new blog.
|Our main hobbies are eating, drinking, and working out together.|
Last weekend, our mutual friend Fay came into town for a quick visit and invited us to join her at SoulCycle, an innovative spin class only available in LA and New York. I hadn’t heard of it until Fay’s invitation, but the website’s description is:
Each SoulCycle ride delivers an intense FULL-BODY workout with a fun and energizing atmosphere. Not only do riders burn calories and get their hearts pumping, but using the SoulCycle® Method, riders also work their core and use hand weights to tone their upper bodies. In all of our studios, we ensure that SoulCyclists are treated to the country's best instructors and staff, trained to deliver unique services and personal attention to all levels of riders.
We called ahead to reserve our spots (we had to create an online account first) and to ensure that we got the beginner discount. Normally, the classes are around $30, but first-timers can try for $15. We were even able to choose our bike location (the woman I spoke with on the phone suggested either the third or fourth row for a newbie, and I chose the back). Luckily, on the phone, we could even request to be next to each other.
The best part about signing up ahead of time was that we didn’t have to stress about fighting for a seat. A lot of the time when I take yoga or dance classes, I find it awkward to figure out where to put my mat or where to stand. Perhaps this isn’t a problem for you, but I may or may not be the world’s most insecure person at new fitness classes. But this way, I walked in and found my bike number with no problem.
Okay, so upon arrival we checked in at the desk and the incredibly friendly ladies behind the counter helped us out with shoes (you have to wear the clip-in kind, which feel like cleats but are actually nothing like cleats—first-timers get shoes for free; otherwise the shoes are $3 or you can bring your own) and offered us water. (You get free Smartwater if you don’t bring your own—although if they notice you have your own they won’t give you a bottle. Perhaps that justifies the $30 per class price tag?) The studio also provided lockers, showers, towels during class, and gum.
Yeah, I thought that was so strange. But a TON of other people were chewing gum, so I thought I’d give it a try. Honestly, it had absolutely no impact on my workout, so I still don’t get it, but hey, free gum.
Before class, we chatted with one of the regulars and asked him what to expect. He just said we would have a lot of fun. Okay! We were still nervous as the previous class poured out of the room dripping sweat.
The room was tiny, hot, and still humid from the last group of riders. The bikes filled almost every corner of the room, and the back row, raised on a platform, didn’t really allow us to hide our newness too successfully. Thank goodness the girl next to me was experienced and told me how to clip my shoes in and how to lower the seat. Jenn, however, could NOT get her shoes clipped in for the first few minutes! We were definitely a little frustrated about the quick turnover time between classes, because we didn’t have a chance to ask the instructor for help. Once Jenn’s feet were secure, though, we were off!
The class was 45 minutes of loud, energetic music (oh! SoulCycle also provides ear plugs to tone down the volume), sprints, hills, and what I call butt-off-the-bike riding (I’m sure there’s a technical term, like standing, but I’ll claim ignorance here). Our instructor, who actually teaches in New York regularly, was gorgeous, entertaining, and super into it—what more can I ask of an instructor? At first, she was head-banging to the music, and we were nervous that she expected us to follow; thankfully, no.
Class ended with some light arm work with one- or two-pound weights while still moving our legs. It was perfect for a little fatigue and to make me feel like I got a full-body workout. And I sweat A LOT, but I feel as though a significant portion of the sweat was sauna-induced. Like hot yoga, but for biking.
In general, I really liked the high-energy atmosphere and the instructor’s pacing; I felt the class moved quickly and kept me engaged. But I wish that the workout had been a little more intense. Next time, I would know that I can push myself a little harder to get my heart rate up more and feel more of a burn in my legs. Then again, at $30 per class, I’m not sure there will be a next time. It was good, but perhaps not $30 good.
The guy we spoke to who said it was his sixth class in a week would beg to differ, however, so you should at least check it out. There are studios in West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Brentwood (the one we went to), and New York. Also, SoulCycle has several new studios opening soon, including two in the Bay Area!
|Look at how adventurous she is...riding a spinning bike with out her feet clipped into the pedals!|
I plan to continue joining Jenn on her fitness adventures, so I like to think that you might be hearing from me again soon. Meanwhile, I hope you’ll stop by my little blog sometime for healthy recipes, fun workouts, and stories about Jenn. Have a great week!