That Time I Sipped the Soul Cycle Kool-Aid

I first tried Soul Cycle about three years ago. (Read my review of my first time here!)

I enjoyed it but didn’t think it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Because duh, everyone knows that the greatest thing since sliced bread is a bagel.

Since then, I’ve gone several more times, but either for a special event or with a big group of people, like for Kristine’s birthday.


Or that time I worked out with Olivia and Hannah from The Biggest Loser?

Over the past year or two, Soul Cycle’s gotten infinitely more popular…and I wondered why. Had they changed something about since the classes I’d taken? Because…it was fun, but I just didn’t see the hype.

I started realizing that almost everyone I knew in NYC that was into fitness was hooked on Soul Cycle. And then I started realizing that within Junior League, there was another little sect of Soul Cycle-obsessed people.

Was I missing something?! Since I needed another pricey hobby like I needed a hole in the head, I decided that if I perhaps was missing the gene that literally everyone else in NYC seemed to have that made them like Soul Cycle, it wasn’t such a bad thing. I was happy to go on with this existence.

I did the Sports Bra Challenge, which was a SoulCycle class–and which I really liked–but I chalked that up to the craziness of the event, not the actual class.

And then I saw this post on Mary’s blog. She was training to become a SoulCycle instructor and had several community rides (which serve as their auditions.) I very tentatively signed up for one…and it was AMAZING. She’s a fabulous instructor, and it turns out that Taylor Swift songs are really fun to rock out to on a bike. I took one of her classes…

…and I got it.

I got why everyone else and their mothers were hooked. I understood the energy and the community aspect of the classes. Everyone is there to have fun and get an awesome workout in, and that energy is freaking contagious, especially when you have an awesome instructor. I took two more of Mary’s community rides, but I’m sad to say (for New Yorkers) that she moved back out to L.A. last week.

I knew she was leaving, so I asked my Facebook friends for recommendations of instructors: Charlee, Danny, Jolie, Ben T, Marvin, Lauren, Stevie, Laurie, Lori A, and Isbael all came highly recommended.

They have an FAQ on their site for first-timers/beginners, but I’d add just a few things from my limited experience: ask for help setting up your bike the first time or two (and/or clipping in – I am clumsy as all hell and it took me forever to master this.) Part of the class is about the energy and riding to the music, so if you’re new, you probably don’t want to ride in the first row right away. I did it for one ride last week and felt like an idiot. HOWEVER, I usually hide in the back in spin classes and when I moved up a bit, I realized how much more awesome it was to be up close.

So, consider the Kool-Aid officially sipped. Thankfully, I started marathon training today, so I can’t gulp it too hard for the next four months.

Do you sip the Soul Cycle Kool-Aid? Who’s your favorite instructor? Any advice for newbies? (If you’re a marathoner, how do you include it in your training/balance it with your training?)

33 comments on “That Time I Sipped the Soul Cycle Kool-Aid

  1. Lemon

    It’s official: I am the ONLY person left in NYC who doesn’t get it. I’d try again but I think I just don’t get spin… and my wallet will be much happier without.

    1. Theodora

      @Lemon: You actually may be now. I mean, I will still always <3 running far more than spinning…but yeah. If I find one of those instructors that I really like, I'll take you with me 🙂

      1. Dori

        @Theodora: You’re not the only one, Lemon. I am a spin instructor and I don’t get it! I’ve tried about 4 times now and my experiences have ranged from beyond terrible to just OK.

  2. Natalie

    I’m a runner, and live in DC where they don’t have soul cycle yet, but every time I’ve been in NYC I have LOVED it. I go to E 83rd st and every class I’ve been to (granted, 3 times in the past year) has been awesome. I think you nailed it with the enthusiasm/ community aspect- it’s contagious!

  3. Lizz

    @Natalie–I was just in DC and went to Biker Barre. It was pretty decent.

    We don’t have Soul Cycle in Chicago, but I go up to Evanston to Revolution Spin and it is AWESOME. I’ve definitely been converted and actually prefer spinning to running for the most part. I think they’re very complimentary to each other. I feel as though I was able to build my running endurance with spinning.

    One of us, one of us!

  4. Kristine

    We just got a SoulCycle in Northern California and I’ve been once and have another class booked this week (once a week is enough for me since I pay for Pilates Reformer classes 3x a week already). I actually took Jolie’s class on Saturday morning in NYC at the Union Square location – she’s AMAZING. Her energy is unreal. She was then at the wedding we were in town for Saturday night and aside from being an incredible instructor, she is SO NICE. Definitely take her class!

  5. Becky

    I’ve actually never taken a spin class, but being a Zumba addict, I totally get the energy and sense of community aspect! If Soul Cycle comes to DC soon, I’ll probably have to try it out, though!

  6. Ruth

    I love SC! We moved from NYC to Zurich, Switzerland 3 years ago and hands down SC is what I miss the most! Everytime I am back in NYC I feel like I “live,” at SC and my European friends do not get understand why on my NYC vacation I spend my time at SC and not at a Bway show, the met or whatever… Anyway – no worries for me bc I am moving to London and SC is coming to London in early 2014!

  7. Cindy

    I have taken loads of spin classes, but since Soul Cycle has only just made it to London, I’ve yet to try it out. I would love it if they came to Glasgow! I am hoping to try it out when I’m next in London, if I can get in a class.

  8. Jenn

    I don’t think I’ve heard of soul cycle, but I don’t generally frequent the gym so maybe I’m just under a rock 🙂 It sounds like fun, though and I’m glad you found something you love!

  9. Jen @ Jens Best Life

    I really need to try SoulCycle again! I had a similar experience to you several years ago, although it was before I was active. I really do like Flywheel and have several instructors there who I LOVE, but it’s always fun to try new things. Let me know how you fit it into marathon training!

  10. Jen

    I’d say that it’s highly dependent on the instructor. I go all the time (at one point, I was trying to get to everyone’s class at least once, but I gave it up because they kept adding instructors!), but there are some instructors that I don’t love. I’ve never had a bad class, it’s just that I connect with some personalities, their teaching style, and, all-importantly, their music more than others.

  11. Jessica @ FromtheKitchentotheRoad

    I’ve only ever taken one spin class and it was years ago. I’ve never done Soul Cycle. I’ve really been missing my group fitness classes so maybe I’d try it out. I liked the spin class I took but there were other classes I was obsessed with so I didn’t take the class again. Seems like a good bandwagon to jump on.

  12. fiona

    I’ve been to Soul three times now, and had a range of experiences. The E83 community class in January I took I passionately hated, but the classes I’ve taken at W77th st were fun. I have heard that the studios all have a different vibe depending on the clientele and the time of day. Anyway, I’m not anxious to keep dropping $35 on a 45-minute class that isn’t consistently amazing. The grapefruit does smell amazing though.

  13. Gillian @ That's G

    I LOVE Soul Cycle. I’m out in LA – but if Laurie Crago ever comes to NYC, take her class. She’s a beast, and has the best music.

    I use soul-cycle as recovery/off-days from running. I found it was great to get a hard workout in, but didn’t hurt my knees/IT band/quads like a long run would, and it also sped up recovery after long runs.

  14. Katie

    I live in MN but the next time I go to NYC for a vacation I am for sure taking a soul cycle class! I finally found a gym near (1 hour away) from my house that offers spinning and will be trying to as soon is my marathon is over on Saturday! Okay, I’ll probably rest for a week or so and then try it…

  15. lauren alysse

    I am dying to try soulcycle. I spin once a week as part of marathon/half marathon training, but i don’t live in NYC or LA so no soulcycle for me 🙁

    but i LOVELOVELOVE spin. I think its one of the best best best workouts out there <3 and one day i will go to nyc and soulcycle. and one day it will expand to michigan? please please please soulcycle??

  16. Courtney

    Word on the street is that Soul Cycle is coming to DC. I’ll definitely try them when they do, but it’s far too expensive for me to do on a regular basis. When I do spin in DC, I go to Biker Barre, which I love for both spin and barre.

    Sounds like a super fun class,though!

  17. Sarah

    I am a runner who recently got into Soulcycle, and my speed has actually improved. Try Nicholas’, Kaili’s or Sydney’s classes at Union Square… you will thank me later.

  18. Cate

    I’ve never tried it, but they’ve yet to open a studio in Boston (rumor has it, one is opening). I do love spin and eve own a spin bike, so I’m curious to seenwhatbitsnall about!

    PS – congrats on your tri this weekend! Rockstar!

  19. Erin @ A Girl & Her Mutt

    I can’t wait to try Soul Cycle. I love spinning and I hear such great things about these classes. Right now I”m taking Real Ryder classes so the bikes lean left and right too. Very weird! I’m hoping to make it to NYC in the next few months and plan to try the class then.

  20. Jessica

    You absolutely HAVE TO take Michael! He is AMAZING. His music is everything you know the words to (and if you don’t your googeling the lyrics on the way home), his enthusiasm is off the charts and his work out is challenging, but that amazing kind of challenge that makes you feel unstoppable and not incompetent. Also Rique, a lot of hype but his workouts are worth the $34 price tag he will kick your butt.

  21. Mary Cosedine

    I live on a farm out in the country and have never exercised in a gym. I tend to jog and bike when fine, but to me one of the best all round exercise routines for muscle,joint, flexibility, heart and “puff” is rebounding with weights.

    I have to say it is great jogging about the countryside, except we have one straight bit of road that goes for 6 kilometers and that is a bit of a drag!

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  23. Jenny P.

    Hi! What training plan are you using for the marathon? I am trying to figure out which plan to use for NYC this fall. Thanks!

  24. Heather

    I drank the Soul-Cycle kool-aid and then my enthusiasm for it slowly faded because I think it feels a little too cultish for my tasting. However, recently, I have begun going and just kind of taking the classes and not overly engaging in the social media or cult aspects of it and I love it so much more. I have my favorites (Danny, Parker, Lindsay – all highlights), but it’s really about how soothing I find riding there. So, I guess I sip the Kool-Aid but don’t gulp it down 😛


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