My first experience with SoulCycle Santa Monica was a charity ride for the EIF Revlon Run/Walk that I participated in as a freelance writer covering the event for Ask Miss A. I wasn’t sure quite what to expect as I walked into the mostly glass, blindingly white entry way of the studio, but the front desk staff was so helpful in getting me started.
After signing a waiver and claiming a bike, I stored my gear in one of their lockers and strapped on my specially designed SoulCycle shoes. Word of warning: while these shoes keep your feet secure while on the bike, walking around the studio in them is an exercise in balance and caution.
Once I was in the class, I encountered my second obstacle with the shoes: getting them to lock into the pedals. But once again, the staff was more than happy to help get me situated and ready for the ride.
The class itself is a trip. To borrow some words from myself:
SoulCycle classes are very discotech-meets-indoor-cycling, with pulsing nightclub music DJ-ed by the instructor and dim overhead lights with a few candles on the instructor’s platform. But don’t let the hip vibe make you think you’re in for an easy ride.
All the classes I’ve been to thus far have been wonderfully, sweat drenching-ly, boundary pushing-ly intense. Each class begins and ends with a very yoga-like approach–closed eyes, centering focus, setting intentions–but quickly escalates into a rhythmic race for the invisible finish line.
Throughout the 45-minute class, we dialed up the intensity and changed pace with each of the songs, climbing imaginary hills and sprinting across flat stretches, all while incorporating tricep push-ups on the handle bars and quickly switching back and forth between standing and seated.
Like I said, much more than a simple spin class.
Near the end of the class, we added hand weights and incorporated bicep curls, shoulder presses, and cross-body punches, all synchronized to the beat of the music. SoulCycle is all about the music. And the journey.
Each ride is different, and each ride is a new chance to push yourself further. Despite the fact that I had to return to work after class, I found myself not caring about how sweaty I got, because I knew I was doing something good for myself.
As we neared the end of the ride (and my endurance), I was thankful for the cool down–a chance to slow down and reflect on the class. Yes, I was physically tired, but I was also invigorated by the energy of the room. (Bonus: I never hit “that 2:30 feeling” on days when I take a SoulCycle class.)
After dismounting the bike (Pro tip: you have to twerk, yes twerk, your foot out to the side to disengage the shoe from the pedal.), our instructor had us stretch and breathe into any areas of tightness.
And then the glorious moment of showering! Not only are these showers brand new and not like any sketchy gym locker room you’ve been in before, but it’s fully stocked. Towels, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, bags for your sweaty gym clothes, hairspray, aerosol deodorant–they’ve got you covered.