SoulCycle’s Soul 101 Review

soul-cycle-101

My name is Zara and I am a cardiophobe. My idea of enjoyable exercise includes a five-mile walk around the city,  a dance class, some light yoga, that sort of thing. Actually, I’m sort of scared of hardcore exercise in all its forms – so when I received an invitation to try a free SoulCycle class, my first thought was “I have absolutely no business doing that.”

My second thought? “But maybe I should give it a try.” I’ve been feeling like it’s time for me to find a workout that’s not only fun but also effective in that ‘I just got my ass kicked” sort of way. I work from home so I need something to counteract all the sitting I do and I love to eat and will never diet – so finding a good workout is crucial for me as I head into my late twenties.

Is SoulCycle that workout for me? The jury is still on that one. I expected to have a strong reaction to the class once it was over. I thought I would either walk out as a bona fide SoulCycle addict (like so many people are after just one class) or – and this seemed like the much, much more likely scenario –  I would leave after my first class vowing to never subject myself to that sort of torture again. The reality is that while I’m not quite addicted,  I’ll probably try another class at some point.

I definitely think the 101 class is a great option if you’re new to the studio – you spend the first half hour learning how to clip into the pedals, maintain good posture and form, follow the music’s rhythm and hit the basic arm positions. The second half of the class is a mini ride – you pedal at varying resistance levels, do an arm circuit (with light weights that don’t feel light at all once you get going) and end the class with a full throttle sprint. There’s a lot of good about Soul Cycle but then there are also a few elements that are slightly less than ideal, so let’s just take a look at the pros and cons.  

 

Pros:

  • If the amount I was sweating is any indication, this is a seriously effective workout. You won’t be wasting 45 minutes of your life if you decide to incorporate a SoulCycle class.
  • The class went by pretty quickly. I was definitely ready for it to be over before it was, but it wasn’t a session of pure slow-moving torture like I feared it might be.
  • The music is amazing.
  • My instructor was helpful, friendly, encouraging and so energetic.
  • There’s an emphasis on staying positive and making friends with your neighbor, which makes the whole experience motivation, but not in an ultra competitive way. It’s not for everyone but I enjoyed it.
  • The intro class is a great way to ease new riders into the Soul Cycle way. There’s a 101 class as well as levels 102 and 103, which focus on getting participants used to following choreography while riding.

Cons:

  • There’s definitely an intimidation factor here. They try to cultivate a really open, friendly feel but honestly? Any boutique, ultra trendy fitness class is going to feel cliquey, scary and totally disorienting – it’s a very different experience than you have when you walk into an LA Fitness class. SoulCycle is no exception.
  • The price. $30 a class plus a $3 shoe rental charge is no small amount.
  • The sweat factor was intense….but I’m not sure if this was because of how hard the class was or how hot they keep the studio. I feel like they crank up the temps just to make riders feel like they’re working harder than they are.
  • 101 classes are hard to come by. I don’t see many of them on the class schedule.

I enjoyed my SoulCycle experience more than I thought I would and I think another class might be in the cards for me. With that being said, I would love to take a 101 class again before diving into the real thing and because of the price and the intensity, this is something I would once, maybe twice a week at the most. Have you tried Soul Cycle? Do you know of another workout class I should try? Let me know in the comments!    Image via Rejournals.

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