In this post, I’m in the heart of Soho, New York (on 45 Crosby street to be precise) at c. 6:30 am, soul searching… on a bicycle! SoulCycle is a class I’ve been meaning to try for ages, having seen countless friends & clients back in London rave about it. So here I am, a bit too excited to be booked in to the super-early-morning class (though theres one even earlier!), burdened with jet lag and crammed into a miniature studio along with a large group of seriously energetic pre-office New Yorkers. Here follows my review, but since guests aren’t permitted to take any photos inside the studio, I thought I’d include these amazing photos of the view of New York, all taken from the roof terrace of my stunning hotel, The Mondrian. I wore the lovely new collection from an old favourite, Striders Edge for my SoulCycle class, and a pair pink summery Asics trainers and for a cheeky drink on the terrace too! See more BELOW…
As a matter of principle, I always share my honest views on FitnessOnToast and I try not to write too much negative ‘blah blah’ (because who likes a moaner?!), instead focussing on the positives that I want to communicate; perhaps it was the fact that I’ve heard so many great things about it, or maybe I was a little jet lagged but I still couldn’t help to feel slightly disappointed during and after the class. Below is my run down of my SoulCycle experience – good and bad so I apologise in advance to all the serious fans out there!
1) THE STUDIO:
Though I don’t suffer from claustrophobia, I could certainly associate with a sufferer, as we were packed in like veritable sardines – especially noticeable every time the guy in front of me sat down, which required some emergency manoeuvres to avoid my face crashing into his behind! Not only was this very annoying, but it also interrupted the focus and attack with which I could approach my cycling. Even though there was air-con (of course, it’s New York!), somehow the air still felt humid and smelt a little damp. I kept questioning ‘Am I sweating or am I just reacting to the sauna/sardine situation?!’. The physical location then, isn’t a comfortable experience.
2) THE INTENSITY:
This is the strong point. The 45-minute class was a powerful and tough hit of exercise, and is clearly adaptable to suit both the likes of Victoria Pendleton or just little old me. Innovatively, my session also included an upper body workout, which surprised me, and I certainly enjoyed; they use one-pound weights to punctuate the arm motions. I very much wish there’d been a heavier option too, though having said that it is actually more challenging than I thought, and due to the lack of space, you’re likely to wallop someone in the head during this part! I took one on the arm – a full body session then!
3) THE FEEL:
Our instructor, Michael was eye candy for sure, outrageously enthusiastic and his selection of music was exceptional – it all created a far more energetic and charged group atmosphere as a result. I love to be challenged in group exercise classes like barre and yoga, and although this was my first and only SoulCycle class, it’s clear that there’s a real sense of community, camaraderie, and loyal devotees – the pounding music, the focussed vibe, the constant shouting of encouragement every 5 minutes. It’s a proper dose of fitness motivation, in a way that only America can manage!
4) OTHER THOUGHTS:
Granny alert; I felt the music at times was a touch too loud, especially when the instructor was shouting on top of the music (deafening) and I still couldn’t hear what he was saying?! To balance that though, I absolutely loved the delicious scented candles, endless fluffy towels, all the extras – hair bands, chewing gum and generous indulgent grooming products.
5) WHY TO CYCLE IN THE FIRST PLACE?
There are so many benefits of cycling – it’s a great form of cardio training, it burns calories (c. 120calories per mile), elevates the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and compared to running which puts a lot of stress on the body (especially the knees), cycling is very low impact exercise and is far kinder to your joints. It builds stamina and strength, with fewer injuries along the way. If you’re worried about losing precious muscle mass because of the CV, don’t be, as cycling actually develops muscle, especially in the lower body as power is generated by the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes, which will fuel additional calorie burn even after the journey has ended. It will also stimulate the production of HGH (human growth hormone), and remember, muscle burns more calories at rest than fat, so this is exercise that keeps giving! Get more on cycling in my previous post HERE
For the record, one SoulCycle class cost $32 (not at all cheap) and doesn’t include the mandatory cycling shoes, an additional $3. It’s definitely worth giving it a shot, as it is a unique experience, and you certainly burn calories!
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