I decided that my one-time-only trip to SoulCycle warranted a blog post, so here it goes…
There’s a new craze and we’re all victims – but only if you meet the white and rich pre-requisites. SoulCycle is a “high impact” exercise class where everybody spins together on stationary bikes and matches their pace to the beat of loud music. On a scale of “trendy,” this activity has surpassed frozen yogurt.
My experience was an interesting one. I thought it was ridiculous from the beginning to charge people $40/class to get a decent exercise, but I’d heard about a $20 beginner class, so I took advantage of it. Everybody was talking about how much fun they were having. Side note: the class is 45 minutes long, which means you pay virtually $1/minute to be there. I’m not counting pennies or anything, but I could get like, three excellent burgers for that price. Burgers > spinning. Every time. Anyway, I told my friend I’d meet her at the Upper East Side location. I approached the establishment and my worst nightmare starting closing in on me – other 20-something girls in head-to-toe lululemon spandex, neon gym shoes, and perfectly manicured hands…but no eye make-up. (For those of you who’ve never heard of lululemon, I implore you to visit their website. Mind-boggling.)
Feeling overwhelmed and out of place, I decided to grab some coffee across the street before I subjected myself to the depths of exercise hell. Ahh The Coffee Bean. Much more my speed. Unfortunately, it also happens to be a hangout for spinners after their classes. All the 20-something girls get their lattes and talk about how sore they’re going to be the next day. I identified two people I knew as soon as I walked in the door: SHIT – I know that girl. AND THAT GIRL. Get me the fuck out of here. (The constant state of my mind is always in panic mode, apparently.) Seriously, though…I’ve never once seen a celebrity walking the streets of Manhattan, which is why celebrities like Manhattan. Why am I spotting people I’ve known from the past on this random street corner? We don’t hang out or see each other for a reason, AMiRight? I digress.
I sat outside the Coffee Bean for 15 minutes prior to my class, contemplating the decision I made to follow through. Here I was, sporting an old t-shirt, some $10 spandex that had traversed the Thai jungle (these pants have seen it all), and my liquid eyeliner perfectly intact. Leaving the house without eyeliner is like forgetting to wipe your ass. I felt like many of these spin girls were trying SO hard not to try hard and were forgetting to wipe their asses in the most proverbial sense. I don’t know if it was the Upper East Side location or the general SoulCycle atmosphere, but I got a bad vibe almost immediately. Isn’t that the antithesis of what SoulCycle is supposedly all about? Shrug.
Inside, girls were exiting a class and swarming me with their sweat-soaked designer clothing. More panic. When I went to put my belongings in an electronic locker downstairs, someone jeered at me for not knowing how to set a combination. I sure hoped her cycling endorphins hadn’t kicked in yet, or else this was going to be a much longer day than I’d expected!
Ten minutes prior to class, I stepped into the empty cycling room and I realized how gimmicky everything was. The room was dimmed and a super-toned instructor with a Cheshire-cat grin greeted me. She asked if I was “pumped.” I didn’t want to appear grim, so I gave her a quick smile and told her I was a newbie. “You’re going to LOVE it,” she replied. Was I? There was only one way to find out.
In the words of Kurt Vonnegut: And so it goes. 45 minutes of sloppy torture (I’ll get to why it was sloppy in a moment.) It wasn’t torturous because it was too “high impact,” but rather because my body is not made for dancing on a bike. Maybe the proportion of my seat to the handlebars was off – but it was uncomfortable and in my opinion, kind of fucking stupid. We had to dip our torsos to the beat every second, and in different directions. Have I mentioned that my torso is like 5 inches long? Not exactly ideal/comfortable for upper-body movement on a bicycle. I’m sure all of y’all SoulCycle supporters are thinking one thing: I didn’t adjust my seat properly. Actually, I’ve ridden bikes since I was 7 years old. But thanks for your concern. Something that was extraordinarily off-putting was the stream of nonsensical bullshit pouring from Cheshire-cat/instructor’s mouth. “Feel the energy of those around you and FEED YOUR SOUL. You can do this because you were made for this. Hear the hums of the bikes around you – WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER.”
My friend and I agreed that we wouldn’t come back. I’m certainly not the messiah of exercise, but I definitely get a better full-body workout by running…and I can do so by listening to whatever music I desire. But that’s just me. Also, I don’t ever want to feel like I need $90 spandex to fit in with my spin crowd. I’ll take my $10 Target spandex any day of the week – holes and all.
I don’t mean to judge anyone who does SoulCycle, but I guess that, well, maybe I do. Maybe what I’m trying to say is that bobbing up and down in matching spandex ensembles and being overindulged with musings about the contents of my soul… is not my idea of a good time. Maybe I’m just soul-less. Or maybe I won’t find my soul through synchronized exercise. One thing’s for sure: I won’t ever find it in a spinning class. And that’s something I’m totally okay with. My wallet will thank me later.
Over & Out,
The Beech Bitch