I went to SoulCycle and HATED it

BEFORE the session

Never mind the title… I am writing this before I go, in case I get sucked into the cult. Seems like it’s a real cult. Seriously. (not that running isn’t but I am already busy with one!). Or at least the people I know like to pray about it and suck you in…

My friend Michelle decided she’d take me to SoulCycle as a bday present. And I have to say I’ll always take an experience over a thing as a gift I said YES, even though I figured it’d be an experience I’d hate…

Here is for my reasoning on why I will hate it. I am a Runner. I run. I will NEVER run on a treadmill. I hate treadmills… I am NOT a cyclist, I don’t bike. Why would I want to get on a stationary bike? Eh???

I don’t like crosstraining. I hate doing sporty things that are indoors.

I hate showering in places that I have to carry all the crap with me.

I only like running.

See?

But Michelle is a good friend and Juan (poor thing, I think deep down he still thinks I might ever get on a bike or swim (but it’ll NEVER happen, NEVER) got REALLY REALLY excited. He digged out his bike shoes, his tri tights (we’re the same size) and made me try it all one. Ugh. I am a minimalist and this is annoying.

AFTER the session

Well, so  Ugh. Where to I even start??

I had written the before part above in hopes I’d love it and the post would end happily even with my crappy attitude. I think that expecting to hate something can only help: it can never be AS BAD as the things I can imagin: I am a super pessimist. Oh God. It was worse: a set up.

It was CROWDED. EVERYWHERE. the lockers room… we couldn’t even turn around or find an empty locker (this was the Soho SoulCycle, for the Wednesday 7:30 pm class)… we went to change and decided to wait until the next class emptied out to grab a locker, but omg then everyone from the class came and it was hot, stinky and still crowded but we managed to find a locker. Stressed already.

soul cycle 2

Oh, and then we head into the class.  I wanted to run away. Shiz: it was HOT, and stinky, and dark. The bikes were all inches from each other. INCHES. It was SO claustrophobic. And I can’t even tell you what I felt once my shoes got secured into the bike… PANIC. Seriously, the cult was sucking me over and I couldn’t even unclip.

Anyway, Michelle was being super nice and super patient. She grabbed someone to adjust the bike for me, and soon as I there. My butt hurt instantly, even though I had one of those tights with the diapers in it… OUCHIE. Speaking of, people in there were sizing me UP and down… I was wearing all of Juan’s gear: I had Ironman shortie tights, a tight logoed top and super professional shoes (they all had the same shoes they get at the front… and regular tights), I was kinda waiting for them to have a great laugh if I fell off the bike a minute later! Luckily I didn’t fall.

Anyway, soon the class instructor was there, a little and super muscular Michael with a headset. Now, let me set this up… It was a tiny space, with machines everywhere, we were all super close, sweaty, super hot and muggy, LOUD loud loud music, darkness, candles… I felt like I was 16 again and I was at American Wave and we were all cranking our muscles (cause of the heels!) getting sweaty, dizzy, loud music, people were shouting and no one really knew what was happening.

Sad thing: I am not 16 anymore. I don’t like loud. I don’t like feeling claustrophobic and like I can’t breathe, or move or have people two inches from me! It was so loud, I never understood a word Michael said, I just did whatever Michelle did. It was really way too clubby for me.

Now, the workout part, and let me preface it: this is the exact opposite of what I like a workout to be. I am not into choreography, I can’t follow instructions (I get distracted easily) and I thought this was all off. I had no idea where to sit on that thing (the front? the back? the middle? it hurt ANYWHERE!), I had no idea where to grab the handles (I just did what people did!), I really didn’t know what I was doing… like for example, when you lean to the front, some people’s elbow were out, some where in? who is right?? I want to make sure I am not messing myself up but I really had no clue… I also didn’t like leaning in, it didn’t feel biomechanically correct, and couldn’t understood that posture under any circumstances. No.

Then, I kept looking at my heart rate monitor… emmmm, 130s????? seriously?? I  get to 160s on an easy easy recovery run…THIS IS A WALK!!! WTF? this isn’t even a workout!!!!!!! 200 is a workout!

soul cycle

I saw it go up to 140s at one point. But, I was sweating a lot, NOT because of the workout but because of the sauna conditions… which explains with the whole first two rows spent the whole class looking at themselves in the mirror. I am not gonna like, I was BORED. BORED out of my mind. So I looked around at people, I tried to chat with Michelle (I later found out talking is a big no no… no fun!!!), I played with the bike intensity, I tried to keep myself entertained. But I have to say, there was a positive here, I found it early. Michelle was having the time of her life. I couldn’t understand it AT ALL, but I loved watching her enjoying it so much. She was in a trance, she was all in, super into it and really having a religious experience. I was so happy for her. I am sure that’s what I look like on a good run and she got all my attention and respect for that.

OUCH. After 10 minutes of the sitting parts, my butt was REALLY hurting. When they went into the superfast speed, I just couldn’t… all the moving made it SO painful. And painful in a bad way. Like I was chafing my bones. how do they do this without even the padding? I have no clue. I really had no idea what I was doing in there. I like being relaxed, outside, enjoying my silence or my thoughts, this was the complete opposite: it was, a sauna, with very loud music, people going mental two inches from me, a club. Not for me.

Disclaimer: I was sure I was doing it all wrong, cranking up the levels up when I shouldn’t or down when they should have been up. I tried, but no one was being clear. Also, Michael did ask if there were first timers in the room, I almost jumped off the bike with my hand so high, still… I told Michelle on my way to the train that if my glutes hurt (good hurt, not bad-from-the-seat hurt, I’d try it again), NOTHING YET. We’ll be posting updates on my glutes if you’re interested 😉

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26 thoughts on “I went to SoulCycle and HATED it

  1. I’d have just said “no” to your sweet friend, Michelle, but I’m a cranky old guy so I can do that. Thanks for the chuckle this morning.

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  2. When I saw the title my first thought was, “I’ll bet she fell off the bike.”

    I can only ride a bike for 10 minutes before my butt hurts like crazy, too. Maybe runner butts just aren’t meant to ride bikes. Sorry you didn’t have a religious experience, but nice job not falling off!

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    • I didn’t fall, I didn’t fall. I didn’t fall, I didn’t fall, I didn’t fall, I didn’t fall!!!!!!!
      I actually freaked out during the whole time there reminding myself to unclip before I got off. The whole time.

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  3. EVERYONE gets saddle sore. It takes riding the bike a few times before you don’t get sore. And, if your heart-rate wasn’t where it should have been for a workout, you weren’t working out hard enough! 🙂 Seriously, spinning/cycling is all about the intensity you put into it, peddle faster or adjust the resistance on the bike higher — I know I’m wasting my time because you won’t be going back. I don’t particularly like Soul Cycle either, but I don’t mind spinning at my gym. There is an instructor I like and the rooms are less claustrophobic and are cleaner than at Soul Cycle. Plus the class I go to is cycling, not some weird class (like some at Soul Cycle) where they want you to do modified push-ups off a bike.
    Good for you for trying it.

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    • my butt’s crying!! how are they all not wearing padding though????? Yes, intensity, my friend made the same point, but when you go for your first run you don’t go and do a 5 minute mile, right? I didn’t want to overdo it and eff myself up, you know how it is, right? Injury is the worse and doing too much of something new is RISKy! my shock was that I was sweating, like I was working out, but my hrm was so low… hence the WTF!>>even when you do your first running mile is hard, no matter if you’re going at 15 mph!!! And yes, we did push ups and weights stuff at the bike, which I was a bit uncoordinated for but at least it distracted me a bit…

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  4. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I can totally see either all in or not liking it at all. The first time I went was a complete turn off for me. I do think there’s something good there and the folks at SC need to be a lot more inclusive of new people, especially when it comes to choreography. I wasn’t expecting that. No one asks if I was new or tried to explain anything. All I got was “rock it out”. I am surprised I ever went back to be honest. But I did. I have done spinning before and enjoyed it a lot so I worked with that and just tried to get a workout out of the whole damn thing. I can only imagine going in there new to fitness, whether running or any other activities. They should definitely do a better job at inclusion

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    • I was surprised because my two spin-loving friends were telling me all about the positions on the bike and how they tell me all in there, and nothing. I was really scared of the biomechanics mostly. (and when he talked I had NO idea what he was saying, it was SO loud!!!), I know I was doing it all wrong and looking around to see how people were positioning and everyone was doing a different thing… so I wasn’t sure and was a bit scared, so tried to point the elbows in and the knees in but who knows..??? the leaning felt awful for me (today my neck hurts!!!) and very unnatural. I think I would have rather have the handles higher and stay upright.

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  5. LOL This was so funny! I don’t get spin either but I know people who love it. Different things for different people! I adore weight lifting but some of my friends hate it. Same with running. I Can imagine you all tricked out in Iron Man gear!

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    • hahaha, I am sure once they saw me so distracted on the bike they were, WTF, and went back to staring in the mirrors 1 second later… I don’t like weight lifting either but I can appreciate how it works. And I can do it quietly (though I’ve been very annoyed at the gym-grunters!!!)

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    • I am SO happy it was a bday gift…. 😉 Or this post would have been a bit worse… $36 or whatever they charge is a bit much for 45 minutes in such a crowded room where no one even looked at what a mess I was doing. I really could have injured myself (well, my but really really hurts).

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  6. OMG, I was dying as I read this! I hate spinning too. Like you, I hurt too much in the WRONG place even with the padded shorts (also borrowed my bf’s). I never understood the cult of SoulCycle or Flywheel. Now run away from the cult!

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  7. I’ve never been to SoulCycle, but I have done “express” spin classes that are only 30 minutes long. That’s about my max for keeping me from boredom. I’d rather run 2.5 hours on a treadmill than ride a bike or spin cycle for more than 30 minutes.

    I once crosstrained on a stationary bike when I had a foot injury, and the seat on that particular bike was BRUTAL. I literally got bruised on my butt and it hurt to sit for days.

    Not worth it. I’ll never be a triathlete. Oh well.

    I’m glad you shared your experience because I’d wondered about the SoulCycle love and if I might like it. Now I’m all “nevermind”.

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  8. Gave spin three tries, to see if it got better after the first time. It didn’t.
    I’m a runner and I need the wind and the scenery to move past me. No matter how cleverly you position yourself under the air conditioning vent it isn’t the same…

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