Three weeks ago, I entered into a world unlike any other. In my quest for health and overall physical and mental well being, I’ve been pushing myself to try new things. So, when I got the opportunity to take free Soul-Cycle class through work, I decided I would give it a shot. On Sunday, March 9th, 2014, I entered the world of Soul-Cycle, and I will never be the same.
My research beforehand concluded that Soul-Cycle was “a spin class but different”, “sort of spiritual”, “difficult” and “expensive”. The only other time I’ve ever taken a spin class was with my Dad in middle school at the racquet club, and this was no where near the same type of experience.
I will preface my perspective on this with the fact that when it comes to exercise and athleticism, cardiovascular activity has never been my strong suit. Running a ten minute mile in middle school was a triumph, I got a D in PE on my report card in 7th grade, (we had to take a test about the rules of Basketball) and I've never been picked first for kickball. When I do anything cardio related, my body turns into a noodle, my brain fills with what feels like blood, and I can't form sentences.
When I arrived to the studio, I checked in at the front desk and the receptionist gave me a pair of bike shoes that had these weird clip things on the bottom. They are really difficult to walk in on solid ground so imagine a sea of people walking around in work out clothes with a slight heel on the toe of their shoe. My coworkers and I scrambled to sign up for a bike while the mic’d instructor was gearing “19” (the studio is on 19th street) up for class.
The room was dark, jam packed with exercise bikes, and the instructor was riding a bike lifted up on a pedestal surrounded by candles and a Mac laptop/ DJ station. Words like “obsession”, “cult”, “warrior” and “strength” were plastered across the wall. I found my bike and attacked the first obstacle: clipping into the bike.
Figuring out how to clip shoes into bike pedals has to be one of the top ten most awkward 1-5 minuets of a person's life. There is no way to explain how to do it, you basically just have to match up the bottom of the shoe to the pedal and jiggle around till it stays. You can spot a newb from a mile away.
I prayed to God that I'd be able to clip my shoes into the bike before everyone started pedaling and being better than me at exercise. At the last minute, I clicked my shoes into the bike, the dance party dub-step music started blaring, and our instructor/DJ with the abs of Channing Tatum on a woman led "19" in the most painful 45 minuets of our lives.
Like I said before, when I do intense cardio, my body turns into a noodle, my brain fills with what feels like blood, and I can't form sentences. I also cough up a lot of phlegm, which is gross and a sign that I should probably see my doctor about my allergies or start taking Zyrtec on the reg. So while all of this was going on, I followed the teacher’s instructions and doing these weird pushup things on the bike while she talked about fear and told us to close our eyes and pedal towards the light or whatever. (I've also heard rumors that Soul-Cycle teachers are also trained in motivational speaking.) There’s also this wheel on the bike that you turn to increase or decrease resistance, and I kept forgetting which way was more or less resistance, so I spent most of the class either pedaling way too fast, or way too slow (usually the latter).
After what seemed like an hour and a half of tap-backs, arm bouncy thingies, and modified pushups, we sat back in the saddle (seat) and I thought, Yay! It’s over! But no, it was not over. “Grab the weights out from behind your seat” our instructor said. I let out the hugest Liz Lemon eye roll of my life: THERE ARE WEIGHTS!?!?! My jaw dropped, and my coworker looked over and gave me a “Yeah, she’s not kidding” with her eyes.
So we did weights. I’m not really sure how well I participated at this point. I had an exercise related anger blackout. The weights are only 1-2lbs but they feel like you are bench pressing a human. After we did weights for a while, we went back to spinning because of course you can’t end your workout with a few tricep and bicep curls, you have to put the pedal to the metal so your heart blasts out of your chest and you keel over and die.
After 45 minuets of cardio blasting, we stretched, which was my favorite part cause it made me feel less retarded. And then I got to use the facilities where the showers are stocked with Aveeno products and smell like grapefruit. And then I went back three days later, and I keep going back, and I've been going 2-3 times a week for the past 3 weeks, so I guess now I'm in a cult.
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