Gosh, this review has taken me a long time to even attempt to write! My love of SoulCycle is somewhat complex. You see, people seem to either love or hate SoulCycle, even my most trusted sources seem to disagree. For example, Kelly Ripa (who introduced me to Physique 57 and changed my life) loves it. Well and Good, who I adore and respect, has some mixed reviews. Neither is Andy Cohen for that matter.
Anyways, maybe I am getting ahead of myself.
What is SoulCycle?
It’s a boutique indoor cycling studio with 36 locations in 8 states and not one but two cute logos!
The Studios: SoulCycle studios are shiny, sleek and clean in fresh white and sunny yellow. They are spotlessly clean with high end bathroom amenities. I will say that the studios vary in size by location. I’ve taken most of my classes at the NoHo location, which is large and bright with a more than ample locker area. On the other hand, the Union Square location is teeny tiny and the locker area is a madhouse. Did I mention that the Union Square location is a three minute walk from the location one block up on 19th street? Crazy! The classes are that packed!
The studio itself has high quality bikes in stadium style seating.The bikes are pretty close together and have no measurement of resistance or RPMs–it’s a feeling not a calculation. Most classes are done in candlelight, which adds a nice ambience. Also there are 2 pound weights that rest on the back of the bike.
45-60 minutes of spinning to upbeat music. There is a mind body element–it’s sort of zen/yoga-esque. You are encouraged to let go of your day and focus on your workout. My classes have been heavy on the push ups and bike dancing, which I love. I always feel like I am being pumped with happy endorphins. However, the classes are very low on resistance, so you really have to self regulate to feel the burn. There is a short weights section done with very light weights. This is followed by a cool down, where most people really bliss out!
What I love: I love how fun SoulCycle is! It is literally a joy to be there. The class is a non-stop good time with a side of work out. If I’ve had a rough day and just need to get away from it all for an hour; I immediately book a soul cycle class. I also think the instructors are very good and the front desk staff is always super friendly and welcoming. The general vibe of the place is great, it feels young, fun and a little bit fancy.
Why I’m not head over heels: While I really enjoy soul cycle classes, I don’t think I get quite as good a workout as I do at Flywheel or even other similar studios. I like having the accountability of the RPM and resistance gauge. It ensures I push myself to the max. I don’t always leave spent At SoulCycle, I really have to keep on my resistance because it’s rarely even mentioned, so you can spin your heart out without really burning anything if you aren’t careful. On the plus side, SoulCycle will never bulk you up the way Tracy Anderson claims most spinning studios do. As a friend put it, “I feel like I can go to Soul Cycle if I’m a little bit sick”, meaning you can kind of phone it in if you want to. For example, the 2 pound weights that are attached to your bike are pretty wimpy, you have to take it upon yourself to pick up heavier weights at the front of the class.
Bottom line: If you are someone who can push yourself without someone screaming in your face and telling you exactly how hard to push, SoulCycle will be perfect for you. If you want your workout to actually feel enjoyable, Soul Cycle will be perfect for you. However, if you pay to get whipped into shape, Soul Cycle may not get you there, even though you will leave with a smile plastered across your face.
Cost: A single ride in NYC is $34, your first ride is $20.