In this episode of "Undercover-Fit Guy," I dig out my fake nose and moustache to check out the spin class known as SoulCycle. My goal this time is to find out what SoulCycle is, how it works, and what aspect of it I should review.
Before I dive in, let’s start with this. In the same way that I have pointed out in my previous articles about BODYPUMP, OrangeTheory Fitness, CrossFit, and Pure Barre, if you are trying to meet all of your body’s movement needs with one brand alone, you will run into the same basic problem. One exercise class cannot meet all of our human biological needs for movement.
Our biology is meant to move on every level, plane, and direction, with and without a load, and over across varying terrain and multiple textures. Although every single one of these brands claims to be a “full body workout” it is simply not true. Every one of them fails. And it is not their fault. This is a losing battle.
So, is the answer to spend a fortune attending each and every gym on a rotating schedule? Or is the answer to adopt a lifestyle that incorporates enough incidental movement on a day-to-day basis that these workouts become the chocolate coating on the protein bar, not the protein bar itself? I think you know where I am going with this.
Ok, with that said, let’s get into my experience with SoulCycle.
My First SoulCycle Class
I try not to be a person who yucks someone else’s yum, especially when it comes to workouts. Partly because I don’t want to be a jerk (who does) but mostly because I believe anything that gets an otherwise sedentary body up and moving can’t be an entirely bad thing. But I am also an avid cyclist for recreation and for locomotion purposes so the idea of cycling indoors better involve a velodrome or at least a virtual world where I can race against friends and pros.
For those reasons I have thus far in my 40-some years on this planet avoided spin classes. But last night, that all changed at my local SoulCycle location.
SoulCycle is a "45-minute indoor cycling class that features high-intensity cardio, muscle-sculpting strength training, and rhythm-based choreography." Their website goes on and on from there but I know better than to base my judgement on the marketing jargon of a website, so let’s skip the rest.
It was easy to sign-up for a class online and I luckily have a location within walking (or cycling) distance of my home—score. I signed up on a Sunday and was ready to rock on a Monday. I packed some shorts, socks, a singlette, and a towel in my backpack and arrived the mandatory 15 minutes before class so I could sign the waivers, find a locker, rent some shoes (they have proprietary clips on their shoes), and get changed.
I was ushered into a dark room, with pumping music, and pretty much left to my own devices. I knew that I had been assigned to Bike #30 and I have to admit that it took me a minute or two to figure out where the numbers were on the bikes. I would have asked someone but the music was too loud to bother. So yeah, not off to a great start. But I was determined to keep an open mind. So, I suppressed a middle-aged harumph and started class.
Fast-forward to after class.
As I walked home, I mulled over, again and again, exactly which aspects of the class I would focus on in this article. After sleeping on it, this is what I came up with.