Part of the Cult

I get to cross something big off my New York City bucket list!

One of my best friends, Katie, and I decided it was finally time to see where all of the posh Manhattanites disappear to in the Financial District. We’d always heard about SoulCycle, but we hadn’t worked up the courage, stamina, or funds to try it. I also love cult workout things, and I think all of them need to be tried at least once.

Katie had spontaneously received two free passes, so this afternoon we headed to SoulCycle’s Financial District studio. They were walk-in passes, meaning we could not register in advance, but we figured that the studio would be pretty quiet at about noon on St. Patrick’s Day. We were right.

The staff is incredibly attentive, and once we signed all the necessary paperwork, we were given a quick tour. The studio itself is really cool- very open, bright, and filled with all sorts of motivational, powerful quotes and posters all over the walls.

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We were also given access to the lockers and given shoes. At SoulCycle, you clip your feet into the pedals of the bike, which at first seemed like it was going to cause me to have a minor panic attack, but actually ended up being very helpful. Your feet do not slip or slide off the pedals when your shoes are locked in.

The actual space where the class takes place is much darker in contrast to the rest of the studio. Here, one of the SoulCycle employees helped us lock our shoes into the bike for the first time, and adjusted the seats and handlebars for us. He taught us how to use the resistance knob at the front of the bike. Before we started, he also gave us a quick overview of what the class was going to be like.

Katie and I are part of that weird breed of people who actually enjoy working out, so although we were a little nervous, we were pretty excited. The instructor sits on a bike on an elevated pedestal with exceptional back-lighting and candles at the front of the room. We took class with Bevin, who was ball of energy and encouraged us to push ourselves throughout the entire class.

We stood and pedaled, sat and pedaled, pedaled while doing oblique crunches, pedaled while doing modified push-ups, pedaled while lifting weights, and were dripping sweat within 10 minutes of starting class and from that point forward. It does require some degree of coordination and body awareness, but if you don’t have either of those, it most certainly isn’t going to stop you from getting a great workout (It didn’t stop me!). If something is too hard for you, it is accepted and encouraged to change the movement or lower the resistance on your bike (both of which Katie and I had to do a couple of times).

My favorite thing about the class, aside from the killer party music playlist, is that resistance knob (Yes, I know, that’s weird, but stay with me…). There are no numbers on it. Turn it to the right to increase resistance, and turn it to the left to lower it. You don’t know how high your resistance is, or how high the person next to you has it, or how high the instructor has it. Not once did I ever feel like I had to compete with anyone else in the room- I was just getting a really good workout.

With maybe 7 minutes left, Bevin said “If you have anything left, take it and put it into that resistance knob, and show us you can succeed!” I have no idea why I found this to be so poignant, but without thinking, I did, and it felt great afterwards.

The class goes fast, and before I knew it Katie and I were unlocking ourselves from the pedals of the bikes (which is an exciting accomplishment) and heading out to inhale grab lunch. It’s understandable why people swear by SoulCycle. I’m not sure this is something I could do every week, but I will be back if I’m craving a serious sweat and some life motivation.

We did it!

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