Articles and photos by: Jojo Greenzaid
I am scrolling aimlessly through my Insta feed when I come across yet another photo of SoulCycle’s lit-up logo wall. It seems as if every person who tries a cycling class at one of their locations feels obligated to Instagram the wall, usually with a caption along the lines of “Obsessed!” or “Lost my #SoulCycle virginity!” What is it about this place that induces such cult-like behavior?!
At risk of experiencing severe FOMO, I decide it’s time to find out for myself. I download the SoulCycle app and attempt to book a spot in the 5 PM class. Just my luck, all 60 bikes have already been reserved. I begin to wonder if I should follow through with the sign up – what if I’m not physically ready for my first forty-five minute ride, which their sight claims can “change lives”?
Well, there is no turning back now. I call the studio and officially sign myself up for the 6 PM class. I called just in time, as it turns out there was ONE. BIKE. LEFT. Cue destiny.
What do I wear?! I don’t want to look like the new girl who isn’t a member of the Tribe. I Google, “What to wear to SoulCycle” and the Internet suggests bright colors and patterned leggings. Noted.
Water bottle in hand, I begin walking to the Wisconsin Avenue location, giving myself just enough time to sign in and get some newbie advice from the front desk. (PRO TIP: Timeliness is crucial: Sign in at least 4 minutes prior to a class’s start to prevent losing your spot!)
After signing a waiver (ugh so cool, they want my autograph) and renting a pair of hip biker shoes (free rental for your first class, then $3 each time thereon after!), I notice the lit-up SoulCycle logo wall and fight the urge to be #basic and Instagram it. Instead, I decide to follow studio etiquette and put my phone away to maintain the empowering, “live in the moment” atmosphere.
I find my bike, seat 5. It’s in the FRONT. ROW. I immediately mask the fear on my face with a smile. I can do this. They say it’s all about the right mindset. I ask the girl next to me, clad in SoulCycle brand leggings, to show me how to click my cycling shoes into the pedals. Voila! My feet are secure and I’m ready to find my soul!
The room goes pitch black. Scented candles are lit along the floor. Alex, the instructor, tells us that it is time to commit. For the next forty-five minutes, we must let go of our thoughts and get into the zone.
Everyone cheers as the first song comes on, a Beyoncé classic to get the room pumped up. I am surrounded by bikers, all jam-packed within three inches from my body. I never thought I would say this, but somehow being in a room congested with 60 sweaty bodies felt inspiring.
“We ride to become the best version of ourselves,” shouts Alex on her headset microphone, while all 60 of us pedal in unison to the fast pace beat of Justin Bieber’s latest track.
Arm time! As Alex leads us in arm-strengthening exercises with two-pound weights, I am awestruck by the ability of a single exercise class to simultaneously incorporate a dance party, yoga section, weight lifting, and high-resistance cycling. The only rule? Do not stop peddling at any time.
After a five-minute cool-down and stretch period, it is time to unclick our shoes. Wow. I managed to successfully stayed motivated on my bike (despite the burning sensation in my thighs!) for the entire forty-five minutes. I not only leave class feeling more energized than when I arrived, I also walk away with a few inspiring mantras; my favorite being, “Open yourself up to the possibility that the best part of your life hasn’t even happened yet”.
No regrets, I drank the Kool Aid. SoulCyle single-handedly succeeded in freeing any negative thoughts from my mind for the duration of the class – an incredibly difficult feat considering the fact that I’m a Georgetown student at the peak of midterm season. I leave the studio feeling like a happier, healthier version of myself.
Next time you’re craving a fun, empowering workout, you can’t go wrong with SoulCycle! PRO TIP: Be on the lookout for The First Lady and Malia Obama – rumor has it they go to the Georgetown location on weeknights!