What Is SoulCycle?
June 10, 2013 | Ali Robbins Hyatt
Let’s be honest. We’ve all been hooked into a fitness fad at one time or another, but we usually lose interest after the craze ends and we realize we don’t look anything like the ripped models who promoted the workout. But there’s a new trend in fitness, SoulCycle, which just might be effective enough to keep people hooked.
SoulCycle was founded in 2007 by Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler, two women who had relocated to New York City and were looking for a new cardio routine. They combined an indoor cycling routine with an upper body and core workout, which they thought would be an ideal combo for positive body change. Many class attendees seem to think they were right. The workout has boomed in the years since, and now counts celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper and Kelly Ripa among its fans. Equinox purchased the company in 2011 and began expanding the class to its locations nationwide.
But as you probably assumed from the name, SoulCycle isn’t just physical. It aims to create an aesthetic in which class attendees can have a spiritual experience at the same time. During the class, lights are turned down and candlelight is used to create a more relaxing environment. (Bonus: reduced pressure from others watching you during the workout.)
Each 45-minute class begins with high-energy music turned up loud, to get everyone pumped up. The instructor leads with a combination of riding and breathing exercises. As the workout heats up, the class kicks into high gear, resistance goes up and riders simulate climbing hills. Along the way, they do abdominal and side crunches and use light weights to work their upper bodies and tone their core, triceps, biceps and back.
Six things to keep in mind when you try SoulCycle
- Wear cushioned bike shorts. SoulCycle recommends newcomers wear padded shorts or a cushioned gel seat until they get used to the bike saddle.
- Get hydrated. Downing fluids before class will help you perform your best during the workout.
- Be conscious of what you eat. Make sure you eat what works for you, both the day before and the day of the class. You're going to be burning a lot of calories, so your body should be prepared with the energy it needs. (Check out The Ultimate Pre-Game Fueling Menu.)
- Wear form-fitting, breathable clothes. Baggy clothes can get caught on the bike, which is no fun. Breathable gear lets you stay cool as the workout heats up.
- Don't get discouraged. Any new workout cab be difficult at first. Give yourself time to get into the swing of it, and know that certain aspects of the workout can be modified.
- Have fun. Trying a new workout can be excellent for your mental and physical state, as your muscles experience new exercises and your mind gets the fun of tackling something new.