first-timer SoulCycle tips

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As part of the media tour we’re doing in New York City this week, we invited a bunch of health magazine editors to join us for private SoulCycle class on Tuesday night. Talk about combining business with pleasure… and a little bit of pain. Best idea ever! I was a bit skeptical going in, having heard things about the cult-like following, strict spinning etiquette and strategic bike assignments, but now I get it. It’s not just a workout, it’s a complete mind-body experience.
Overall, I loved the entire 45 minutes I was on the bike and for that, I will absolutely go back. The atmosphere inside the studio was amazing but outside of the studio – well, let’s just say it wasn’t warm and hospitable like I’m used to at the yoga studio. Maybe I spent too long living in the South?

A few thoughts on my first class:

  • Are my loaner shoes still attached to the bike? I had to slip out of them at the end of class because I couldn’t figure out how to unclip myself!
  • Why didn’t we pose for photos before class?
  • That was by far the fastest 45 minute workout class ever. I didn’t think how much longer once!
  • I definitely thought I might launch myself off of the bike more than a few times. Thankfully that didn’t happen, but the music is just that good I wouldn’t be surprised if it does.
  • I thought I was in shape… until I tried to keep pace with that girl in the front row. Instantly humbled.
  • I felt more like I was riding a galloping horse than a stationary bike. Unfortunately now my butt also feels like I was on a galloping horse… but it was worth it.
  • SoulCycle might actually begin cutting into my monthly clothing budget.

New workouts can be intimidating especially at SoulCycle where the studios are packed, the music is loud, and the staff run a tight ship. I put together a few tips for first-timers, having just been one myself!

  1. Be prepared to pay up. Prices vary depending on location but they average $25-35 per class. Per class! Oh, and there’s also a $3 shoe rental fee if you don’t have your own clip-in bike shoes. This is definitely a splurge but one class can easily be justified by packing your lunch all week or trading the paraffin treatment for an at-home pedicure.
  2. Sign up early. From what I hear, reserving a bike can be as stressful as registering for classes your freshman year in college. Sign-ups begin every Monday at noon and can be booked for the upcoming week (Tuesday through the following Monday). MyFitnessPal booked a private class so luckily I didn’t have to worry about this but I’ll be setting a calendar reminder for Monday at noon the next time I want to go!
  3. Wear a sweat-wicking tank and crop leggings. The rooms get warm so this outfit will keep you as cool as possible without the risk of chafing those thighs.
  4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. This means before, during and after class.
  5. Have the staff adjust your bike. You’ll likely have to hold up your leg which sounds awkward but trust me, they know what they’re doing. An ill-fitting bike will make you sore in all the wrong places. Take note of settings so you can adjust it yourself from there on out.
  6. Snag a spot in the second row. The first row is for experienced SoulCyclers and their energy is totally contagious. Each cycler has their own style so use them as a guide to find what feels good for you.
  7. Keep the beat. Let the music dictate the bike’s resistance. Decrease resistance if you’re having trouble keeping up and increase resistance if you’re pedaling faster than the pros.
  8. Let loose but hold on tight. Get lost in the music, make some noise and pedal those legs as fast as you can. It’s amazing where the music can take you on a stationary bike!

While they won’t help you feel any less awkward on the bike (I’m guessing that only gets better with practice) I hope these tips make your first class a bit less intimidating and most importantly, more fun.

Experienced SoulCyclers: Have any similar experiences your first time? Any other tips to share?

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  • So I like you, just tried soul cycle for the first time the other day. I have done spinning at multiple studios and am even certified to teach a spin class, I love it that much. My thoughts on SoulCycle, It went to quick that it was amazing, the instructor had so much energy and made the class fun. Why I’m not going back, the room was so hot I had a hard time breathing, I’m more worried about passing out then I am about anything else. Oh Hi Instructor please turn the fans on, nope no fans, apparently she didn’t see me dying. The price, is absolutely ridiculous, really you’re going to charge me that much to hop on a stationary bike? One positive, the clothes are amazing, I wish i loved soul cycle just because I want to rock the clothes!

  • $35?? Yowch!! I’m a non-loyal gym goer. I go for the first class discount and then move on, otherwise I just run and have subscription to Yogaglo. $35 is steep!