I have wanted to try Soul Cycle for months. The branding intrigues me and I hear raves from people who have tried the class.
Last week I signed up for a class at the new Soul Cycle in The Castro. I am not in great shape and I felt out of my comfort zone, surrounded by what I could swear are teenage kids and very fit 30 something’s. I ignored my fears and wedged my way into the tiny, dark room to bike number 44.
Immediately I understood a few differences. The bikes are crammed together, mere inches from each other. There are candles at the base of the instructor’s bike, which is raised on a platform facing the crowd. The music is loud, which explained the jar of earplugs available at the front desk. The teacher bounces up and down as though on a pogo stick, and there is very little attention to form.
But, there is something about the class. It’s not only the party like/dance club atmosphere. Or the black lights they turn on at key moments. There is an addicting component. While you are sweating, getting your ass kicked, the instructor is calling out more than instructions; they are calling out mental and emotional challenges. “THE WAY YOU DO ANYTHING IS THE WAY YOU DO EVERYTHING.” They are speaking positive words of encouragement; “YOU’VE GOT THIS! CHANGE IS UNCOMFORTABLE, CHANGE IS GOOD.”
I have a lot of voices in my head, many of them nervous or negative. Over the last few days, I’ve noticed myself having more positive thoughts. I attribute this to the massive endorphin rush of good exercise. But I also think that hearing all that encouragement, and being in a room with all that positive energy, gets to you at some level. It may even sink deeper because you are absorbing it while getting your ass kicked.