(I’m also trying to purge myself of my granola sins by killing myself with exercise. Healthy, right?)
I’ve been hearing a lot about Soul Cycle since moving to the US. People are obsessed with it! It really has become something of a cult. I’ve watched the soul-cyclists from afar for a while now, fascinated by them. (Is soul-cyclists the correct noun? Soulers, maybe?). The one and only San Francisco studio is in the Marina and every time I happen to pass I see crowds of ecstatic looking people at the entrance (in their LuLu Lemon of course), shouting to the heavens about how amazing the class was and how they swore they found Jesus, Mary and Joseph during that last hill climb.
In addition to the regular folks, all the celebs seem to be hopping on the Soul Cycle bandwagon as well. A friend in work said she frequently saw A-listers (Katie Holmes no less) sweating it out in the New York studio she used to go to. God, I love New York.
Needless to say my interest was definitely piqued before my friend Mags suggested we try out the Palo Alto one. Sold!
(Mags, by the way is my new training bud so she’s going to come up a lot in this blog. She’s now been upgraded from ‘my friend Mags’ to just ‘Mags.’ The same goes for ‘my roommate Lysbet’ and ‘my roommate Venessa’ FYI.)
Soul Cycle is an expensive class to take, just like Barry’s Bootcamp – $30 per go. But they do try to make it a little bit posh for you – free use of towels, free use of spin shoes, free hair ties, free deodorant and body lotion in the restrooms, free chewing gum and, this was a new one for me, free ear plugs! Can any hard core fans out there tell me what these are for? Surely the point of the thumping music is hear it and get your groove on? If it’s loud to the point where people need earplugs, why don’t they just turn it down? Actually, maybe they glow in the dark and it just looks cool to see hundreds of ear plugs rocking up and down in time to the music. God knows. I didn’t partake anyway. I’m slightly scared of ear plugs.
The set up inside the Soul Cycle studio is very much like Barry’s Bootcamp. The night-club themed exercise class is so en-vogue now. The quirk with Soul Cycle is that they use candles! The instructor sits on a raised platform, surrounded by lots and lots of flickering candles. There’s a definite altar feeling to whole to the whole thing (soul / alter, get it?). It’s all very atmospheric and lovely.
At least it was until I dropped my water bottle in the middle of the class and couldn’t find it again because it was so dark.
The staff were very helpful in getting the bikes set up correctly, which is so important. If you do a spin class and you’re not sitting properly on your bike, you can kill your back. Not fun!
The class itself was a mixture of spinning (obvs), crunches, weight work and dancing – all on the bike! I think it probably takes a while to get the coordination right. In addition, you don’t have any gauge for what the resistance levels are. The instructor just tells you to turn to the right or left, and you can be very liberal with your turn or very reserved. I think I was quite reserved – my resistance was definitely not up high enough. My thighs didn’t burn as much as they usually do in a spin class. I’m going to have to work on it.
The ‘soulful’ part of the class came at the end, with some yoga-class-esque affirmations telling you to embrace your failures, let go of the past and simply live in the moment. Considering I had another granola slip up today I was comforted by this and finished up the class feeling at one with my myself.
All in all, a positive experience, and I think I’ll try it again. I’m determined to get the spin/dance/crunch combo right. I was so out of sync with the other soul-cyclists (?!?) it was embarrassing.
Also, while I didn’t see any Hollywood celebs in the class, I’m thinking there could have been some secret tech celebs in attendance. I just wouldn’t know what they look like! In which case I should probably make more of an effort with my outfit the next time.
Food and Exercise:
- Snack: Apple and 8 almonds, coffee with milk before a very early morning meeting
- Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with steamed kale
- Lunch: Salad with quinoa and grilled chicken and loads of veg
- Snack: Granola (I KNOW)
- Dinner: Chicken, avocado, cherry tomatoes, pico de gallo (new fave thing, introduced to me by Mags- so fresh, with a nice kick. Great for making plain chicken or fish a bit more lively).
- Dessert: Strawberries