In our sunnily fractured Los Angelian reality, if green juice is our religion then SoulCycle is most definitely our church. The lore often precedes it: model-esque figures in Lululemon whites walking its halls, clutching frosted bottles of SmartWater and emerging after 45 minutes definitively transformed. My own first experience was decidedly less glamorous. A lifelong dancer and now semi-regular gym goer, I was wiped. It tested my strength, weighed my perseverance and by that last exhausting climb, the lyrics to “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” were speaking to me on a spiritual level.
But I wanted to know how a SoulCycle session compared to the strength training and cardio of different workout routines. Enter my three recruits, Alex, George, and David, all current or former UCLA students and SoulCycle newbies. A regular weight lifter, Alex was ready a chance of pace with some “upbeat cardio.” David generally likes to run and play pick-up basketball with his friends. He was apprehensive (“There’s no way you can fall off a SoulCycle bike, right?” he texted me the night before) but was excited to finally try the workout all his favorite athletes talk about. George, currently training for a triathlon and relatively unaware that he was the subject of an article, said he expected “to wear yoga pants and do juice shots afterwards to detox.” Overall, they were feeling pretty confident.
My SoulCycle guinea pigs, from left to right: Alex (21), David (21), and George (21)
Forty-five minutes later, the boys were forever changed. “That was one of the most tiring forms of exercise I’ve ever done,” Alex proclaimed. All three agreed that this was the most they’ve sweat from a workout, maybe ever. Their first time wasn’t without its challenges: namely getting used to the choreography, George overestimating the challenge of a high resistance, and David’s inability to tap it back. But all in all, the guys were feeling good—exhausted but down to go again. “Once every two weeks, at most,” David was quick to clarify. But I think we can consider that a success.
Exhausted and relatively unenthused by my paparazzi photo skills
So did they feel that inspirational, life-changing, SoulCycle buzz? Maybe not, but they still felt part of something special. It may not be an everyday addition to everyone’s workout routine, but the experience that you get at SoulCycle is definitely unique. In George’s words, “I’ve always wanted to join a cult.” And we mean that in the best possible way.
Find out more about SoulCycle and classes near you here. Hear more from the guys somewhere around the Court of Sciences.