On a recent trip to Dallas for a fabulous bachelorette party (read the full recap here), I mentioned that we started our Saturday with a sweat session at SoulCycle Uptown. I have been dying to try SoulCycle for a while now and going with a group of girls that were all a part of the same party was really the best possible opportunity to make my dream of taking a Soul class a reality!
First of all, the place is the most efficient well-oiled machine I have seen from a boutique style fitness facility. We walked in, told our names to the front desk staff, signed in on our reserved bike and were asked to step to the right where all of our new client paperwork was waiting for us to complete. After quickly signing our waivers we were given our bike shoes and directed to the locker area where we locked away our personal belongings. We were then escorted to our reserved bikes in the cycling room and had individual staff members set our bikes up for those of us that were first timers. It all happened so fast and efficiently. Pedaling their bikes was smooth as buttah (read: butter) As we sat for a couple of minutes and got used to pedaling, our instructor made her way into the room. Soon, the lights were off and the only light in the room was the Exit sign and burning candles. The whole facility smelled awesome actually, from the moment we walked in the front door. You would have never known how much sweat is poured out in there.
Our instructor for class was a human named Lexi. She made an announcement at the beginning of class that there were two celebrations happening that day, one was Ashley’s bachelorette party being in class and the other was a client riding his 800th SoulCycle class (bravo, sir!). The only instruction she gave before the first song of class was to give a huge turn to our resistance knob. Full disclosure, the first ten minutes of class had me questioning my level of indoor cycling condition after being an instructor for 3 years. The first ten minutes were very challenging and I have decided that I felt that way for a few reasons. The first reason is that I wasn’t familiar with their bikes, the second is that I wasn’t sure how much resistance I was supposed to be adding and possibly added more than I was supposed to, the third is that Lexi just made the beginning of class to be really intense. I think my struggle was a combo of all the above.
After the initial ten minutes, I realized I wasn’t going to die and just like anything else, I needed to pace myself. I found my groove and really enjoyed the rest of class! We did some movement on the bike, a few push-downs with our arms and a lot of hoovers back over the seat. There was a fast beat (sprint) that we rode to every single song and the transitions were quick with hardly any down time. The breaks we took were pretty much on our own time and then we just jumped right back out of saddle. The whole thing was intense! We had 2 arm songs and that involved forward and backward arm movements with weights (that were already set up on all of our bikes under the seat). There was no side-arm work because the rows of bikes were stacked so closely together. A few of the girls in our group said afterward that they had initially felt claustrophobic because there were so many bikes in each row stacked closely together. This wasn’t an issue for me, probably because I’ve seen Soul Cycle photos and videos and expected that set up. Our class time was a “SoulSurvivor” full hour class compared to their “SoulCycle” classes that are 45 minutes. The class was so awesome, I was grateful for those extra 15 minutes (and it helped my calorie burn too!)
The energy of the class was incredible. I have thought back to it so many times since, trying to put my finger on what exactly was in the magic potion that made it such a memorable experience. In my original instagram post from that day, I mentioned crying “endorphin tears” during class and that is 100% true. Lexi, our class instructor was awesome and played a huge part in what a great experience the class was. I was surprised that she only rode her bike maybe 30% of the class but spent the majority of her time being a DJ slash motivational speaker. Her delivery in every thing she said felt genuine and she pushed us to go as hard as we could. She knew her music, but didn’t appear to have specific movements choreographed. It was more like we were all jamming to the music on our bikes and when she felt like counting us in for some movement we would sporadically move. There was a button on the wall behind her bike and she would push it at times correlating with the music to shine a bring spotlight down over her podium at the front of the room. It was amazing! Another big factor were the riders in class. They were there for the experience, there for the instructor, and there for each other. I really think the bikes being stacked so close to each other helps bring it all together too. People were whooping and shouting out all throughout the class. Sometimes after something Lexi said, sometimes after a big push in class. I liked it! At one point Lexi had a second of hesitation and spoke into the mic, “I was trying to decide which song I wanted next but then I realized that this is my class and I can do whatever the f*** I want” and I swear the room roared in a cheer just supporting her doing her thing. It made me smile real big!
Anyway, back to my endorphin tears. I fully believe that when you are pushed to a certain physical limit, things become less physical and more emotional. Seeing others struggling through the same challenge I was a part of, being encouraged by someone who I knew had been through the same type of challenge, and feeling the joy that comes from doing something I already love while surrounded by music that makes me want to dance- that equals endorphin tears. That’s what sucks you in and makes you want to go back to class again and again. I loved everything about the class! I have been wanting to go to SoulCycle for a while not only because of it’s nationwide popularity, but because as an indoor cycling instructor I enjoy taking other classes and being inspired by others. Each time I take a class outside of the classes I teach, I am inspired by the creativity and environment unique to each experience. I’m not here to play the comparison or copy cat game, I am here to learn and to grow because my hope is that after each class I teach, clients will leave craving more. I loved the opportunity to try SoulCycle and afterward I felt even more grateful to be a spin instructor and a part of the indoor cycling community. If you are ever in a larger metro area, definitely hit up a SoulCycle class! Drop in rates are $30 in Dallas. You can sign up via their website on Mondays for the following week. It was an unforgettable experience and I think you will love it too! Thanks for reading today, and have a great week!