I am the queen of delayed reactions. I was the last person on earth to watch excessively Bridgerton. I still buy loungewear, although I have been vaccinated and absent for months now. Oh, and I just took my first SoulCycle ride, about 15 years after the spin class party started. Yes, I finally gave in to the cult (and controversial) workout that dominated the fitness world for over a decade, despite years of struggling against its hype. I had the opportunity to see SoulCycle’s lively home bike again, and I have to say it was a surprising experience.
Now, to fully understand my journey with the bike, I need to explain my fitness routine before my test. Well, to be honest, I didn’t really have one. Before the pandemic, I was going between outdoor running, Orange Theory, and the occasional hot yoga class. But, once locked in my tiny one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles, I fell off the fitness wagon pretty quickly.
Maybe that was the stressful year that has been the whole of 2020. Maybe my devotion to Netflix took precedence over cardio. Or maybe I just couldn’t stay motivated on my own. Whatever the reason, for an entire year my sofa had more action than my running shoes – and I was feeling the effects. In addition to being zapped for energy, my mental health also declined with my lack of movement and exercise. I was constantly stressed and anxious, and struggled to find an outlet to free myself.
And believe me, I tried. I tried to start my outdoor running sessions, which once seemed like a welcome ‘time for me’ after a busy day of social work. However, with the isolation in full swing and my time spent mostly with my puppy Molly, exercising alone felt lonely and depressing. I tried virtual workouts, but found myself easily bored and distracted. I couldn’t understand how so many people have managed to take advantage of the indoor season to work on their body and mind. All I was working on was my monogamous relationship with Ben & Jerry’s.
Then the SoulCycle Bike got to my door, and I quickly discovered what celebs like Jessica Alba, Kaley Cuoco, and Julianne Hough were thrilled with. Yes, I have become exactly what I had sworn not to become: a spinning evangelist.
Before my trial with the stationary bike (which works via the Equinox + app), I had taken a total of one spinning class that I remember about 10 years ago. The experience was far from memorable, mainly due to the intensity of the instructor, which offered little to no modifications to new riders. I remember struggling to keep up with the fast pace of the rest of my seemingly experienced class and walking away a bit embarrassed by my poor performance (and with a very sore hair). I was hoping this time would be different.
Once my bike was delivered to my apartment with no problems – the whole delivery and installation process took 15 minutes – I took my first baby step. I was quickly reassured and encouraged by the ease of use of the touchscreen as well as the Equinox + app. The first one in particular is super user-friendly and explains everything from the proper placement of the seat and handlebars to how to clip in and take out your bike (which I admittedly struggled with at first).
The first few days of my trial, I tested shorter 20-minute lessons that fell under the “beginner” category. Touchscreen functionality includes a filtering system that allows you to fine-tune your course options to find exactly what you need that day – experience level, course length, instructor, race theme and musical genre. Those last two things ended up being the biggest draws for me. I am very motivated by music, and choosing the right soundtrack or musical theme for my ride helped me get excited about it and made me feel less of a chore.
In fact, Ross ramone, a SoulCycle instructor on the Equinox + app, tells TZR that music plays a vital role in every class. “By combining artistic musical storytelling with powerful motivational coaching and almost meditative moments of reflection, I always try to create an immersive and entertaining fitness experience,” says Ramone, who has proven to be one of them. of my favorite instructors. “I want to move you through the movement. My approach is fitness as an art form. Fitness as a creative expression. Physical form as a proxy for life. It is hard work, but it can also be joyful and inspiring.
As corny as it sounds, he’s not wrong. I quickly became motivated by the musical curation of classes, often selecting nostalgic rides from the early 2000s, 90s and 80s to help get me in the mood for training. And it worked ! I logged into the energetic pop-themed rides, dancing while following the instructor’s instructions on my screen. I found myself looking forward to future rides and seeing them as a treat for myself, a time to relax, take care of my body and mind, and dance to my favorite tunes with total surrender
A few classes actually struck an emotional chord with me. I had a very surprising moment on a rose themed walk where I actually cried during one of his most uplifting songs. According to Ramone, this is actually pretty normal. “When I discovered SoulCycle, I had a revelation: fitness could be an emotional experience and an immersive, artistic and inspiring experience that moved me and would help me connect to myself in an even deeper way. He said.
Another thing I liked was that at least three people accompanied the instructor in each class, which made me feel like a group. I realize now that this was a big piece of the fitness puzzle that I was missing. I missed working with people and feeding on the energy of others. Although I was obviously alone, it was nice to see several faces on my screen leaping with me in class. (Plus, SoulCycle’s touchscreen lets you focus on the profile of an accompanying rider in the classroom to make sure your form and movements are precise.)
After a week or two, once my body adjusted to the pace of the classes, I started to select longer ones to challenge myself a little more. That said, if something felt too intense, fast, or hard on my body, I had no shame in going for the modifications that were always offered and encouraged by the instructors. The spinning actually helped me learn to listen to my body and better understand when I could challenge it and when I needed to back up or stay put.
My two month trial was successful in that it helped me get back to a regular fitness routine. I made a point of taking 30 to 45 minutes a day (about three to four days a week) to shoot, and found that my mood and stress level improved as a result. Even a quick half hour commute made me sweat and left me energized and alert for hours.
At $ 2,500 each, SoulCycle bikes don’t come cheap. However, the multitude of options and classes available can justify the price and make it a worthwhile investment if you use them all. While I haven’t tested the other class options available on the Equinox + app (there’s yoga, barbell, strength training, cardio, etc.), I definitely would if I decided to buy the bike.
I also think a stationary bike like this is perfect for those who aren’t quite ready to resume group training. Like I said before, the class format makes it feel like you’re among other people, so you get that community aspect while still being in the safety of your own home.
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