It’s official- SoulCycle San Francisco has landed. Launched last Saturday down on Union Street, the spin-class-meets-inspirational-speaker program promises to deliver a serious workout along with a dose of mental clarity. The classes’ unique draw has cultivated a legion of devotees, and classes in NYC and LA often book up within seconds of opening. Being in laid-back San Francisco, I was able to book a Monday class the night before.
I usually prefer to work out on my own and usually avoid trendy exercise classes. I’m far from a pretty gymgoer- by the end of my workout I’m bright red and drenched. But when I arrived at the brightly-colored SoulCycle studio, my anxiety evaporated. Everyone was smiling, and my fellow class attendees (members of “the pack,” in SoulCycle speak) were makeup-free, unpretentious, and focused on starting the class. Within minutes, I found myself on an expertly adjusted bike with my shoes clipped in to the pedals. At least I didn’t have to worry about falling off (a very real possibility for me).
And then it was go time.
12:00 PM – Am I the only person in here not wearing Lululemon? Oh wait, there’s that elderly gentlemen over there in gym shorts. He counts. Hey, there’s actually a cool mix of people here. I’m impressed.
12:15 PM – OMGOMGOMGOMG this is hard! I can’t do this! Will anyone notice if I sneak out? What was I thinking?!
12:18 PM – Oooh, Nicki Minaj is playing and we get to sit back down on the seat! Ok, maybe I can do this after all.
12:20 PM – Damn, I can’t believe I made it through that song without stopping! I’m so turning up the resistance on the wheel!
12:30 PM – I AM AN UNSTOPPABLE CYCLING GODDESS! MORE! MORE!
12:45 PM – Oh, it’s over? Already? Ok, I guess stretching is wise, considering I can’t really feel my calves.
1:00 PM – Can I go again?
And there you have it. Where other exercise classes may have let me half-ass the routine, the blasting music and positive group vibe made me want to give it my all. I even had a moment of surprisingly intense emotion when the instructor encouraged us to think about something we wanted to run towards in our lives. It may be corny, but it worked!
SoulCycle’s biggest drawback is the $30 price tag per class (although first-timers like myself can go for $20), which makes it an unlikely fit for those of us on a budget. However, taking the class was the perfect way for me to jump-start a healthier routine, and I can easily see myself popping in a few times a month if I need a physical and mental boost. If you have the resources to make this a part of your regular routine, they offer a slight discount if you purchase classes in bulk. But even if it’s just a place to go when you need an occasional pick-me-up, SoulCycle will be there.
Images courtesy of SoulCycle.