Sunday Morning Soul
Last Sunday after my amazing series of decisions that left me with 3 hours sleep and an inability to bend my knees without wincing in pain, I found myself walking down to the UWS branch of Soul Cycle. If I hadn’t been meeting a friend, and I hadn’t already paid for the class, I’m honestly not sure I would have gone. But autopilot can do funny things to you, and somehow I ended up checking into class.
The first thing I noticed was the noise; between the noisy chatter of people arriving and leaving and the music, this place was crazy loud! The décor was all shiny white with yellow highlights – very uplifting and refreshing. Despite the sweaty people walking out of class, it smelled amazing, thanks to the Jonathan Adler Grapefruit candles. Yum.
As I mentioned, I was meeting a friend. I have to admit, I’m not sure I would want to be going to Soul Cycle alone – everyone seemed to know everyone else, and the hum of chatter and community was a little overwhelming if you were alone. Elena and I announced ourselves as newbies, were given shoes, and shown how to adjust our bikes. I would love for someone to tell me when I get my bike set up what height etc it has been set at, so I can actually remember rather than guess every time I go back. We were in the back row and thanks to an unfortunate supporting wall, I didn’t have the best view of our lovely instructor, Lauren. The room was dark and club-like, and had a general hum of excitement.
Lauren came out and started an awesome warm-up to tune of Massive Attack’s Teardrop. Laurie’s warm-up talk through was timed perfectly to the verse-chorus of the music, lending to a genuinely epic feeling to the start of the class. We then started into some hills, and then speedwork. The class was based up a number of intervals up hills or sprints, sitting, standing, or frequently doing that sort of front-back move that spin class regulars will be able to tell me the name of. We also incorporate push-ups on the bike. We were frequently encourages to turn the resistance up, but were not really told how much – one turn, one quarter turn, three turns? I had no idea. I went for the scientific “a bit”. I didn’t want to get into a Flywheel situation where I end up dying ¾ the way through class because I’ve been too keen with the resistance .
We also had an arm sequence to tone biceps, triceps, chest, and shoulders. The weights section was good, but never got to that burn that I’ve felt in other classes. I also found holding both weights in one hand a little awkward at times. Suddenly, the class was on the last song – Florence’s “Dog Days Are Over” with a mix of high octane sprints, and it was time for stretches.
Thanks to the class, my legs had a temporary reprieve from all the soreness, tightness, and lactic acid that I had built up from running and Refine Method, and I walked out of the class on a high. The music was awesome, and it definitely got the endorphins going. But, dare I say this? It wasn’t that hard. Maybe it was the freedom to adjust the resistance as needed and I didn’t do it enough, but I was surprised that the class didn’t leave me feeling more winded or begging for the end, in the same way that Flywheel or even Refine does. Having said that, it was a great fun way to break a sweat and get long-run legs moving again, so I can see SoulCycle becoming a regular part of my post long-run recovery plans this summer. I gotta say, the music was absolutely incredible, and definitely lived up to the hype. If Soul Cycle sold their mixes on iTunes, I would totally purchase. And maybe next time I won’t feel quite so intimidated rocking up to the studio alone and dialing my resistance up to the next level.