STUDIO LOVE: 8 Things to Know Before your First Ride at SOULCYCLE
Who doesn't love a cardio dance party? That's exactly what SoulCycle is... synchronized, choreographed riding on a stationary bike to the soundtrack of your life. Trying new workouts can be scary- and yes, we agree, it's a pricey workout and definitely a novelty. But, if you're thinking about treating yourself to a SoulCycle class, here are some things that are super helpful to consider.
1. Leave your expectations at the door.
The only expectation you should come with is knowing you'll be paying at least $30 for class, shoes and water are extra. Yes, the bikes are close together. Yes, it does get really hot in the studio, and yes, the instructor might dramatically blow out the podium candles during your cool down and leave you coughing on smoke when you need your breath the most. Other than that, every experience is going to be different. You will arrive different and leave different each and every time. Just be ready to put in the work.
2. It takes at least 3 rides to become comfortable with the format.
Consistency is key. Once you understand an instructor's typical class flow and energy, you can pace yourself accordingly throughout the class. Instructors call out moves rather than teach or explain and there is very little, often no hands on adjustments, form correction or assists. You will be asked to "turn it up" or add on resistance. Resistance is your friend and will help you slow your legs down. Know that you do not have to add resistance if you absolutely do not want to. Nor do you have to use weights if they are not serving you. Focus on YOU and being your best self and not the other riders in the room. After all, your workout is ALL for YOU! Be in control of your own body and ensure its safety.
3. Prepare for class and don't rush.
Give yourself enough time to settle into the space, turn off your devices (don't forget that smart watch!) and adjust your bike. Show up in a way that honors yourself and respects others. Classes can be packed and studios can be small. Arrive early if its you're first time or if you'll need help setting up your bike. My first class admittedly was not such a great experience. The instructor was running late, and did not explain a thing about the bikes or the moves. Pick a spot in the room that allows you to see the instructor clearly and make sure to ask desk staff or the instructor for the basics like adjusting your seat and clipping in.
4. The class is often packed, dark, and sweaty.
Once class has started (people are peddling, instructor is at the podium and the music is blasting) its disturbing to the flow of the class to set up late. If you're more than 10 minutes late, you've missed the opportunity to warm up your muscles to prepare your body for an intense cardio workout and you won't be performing at your best.
5. Make sure to hydrate well before class.
Take Care of yourself! Don't ride on low energy or an empty (or full) stomach. When taking water, sip slowly rather than gulping large amounts to prevent cramping. Take advantage of the short stretch sequence at the close of class, your body will thank you and it will help with muscle recovery. Meet yourself at your edge but never exert yourself past your physical limit. Fainting or passing out is (strangely) more common than you'd think. It happens, and it is really scary! If you find yourself in this situation, don't panic. Sit with your back against a wall and your hands interlaced behind your head. Alternatively, lay on your back with your legs elevated, one hand on your chest, and one on your stomach. Take deep breaths. If you have an injury or you are not feeling well, make the firm decision to rest and recover.
6. Know that each instructor brings a unique personality to the podium.
If you're not vibing with an instructor, give them another chance or try another instructor. The energy of the classes also depends on the collective community of riders. Some studios and different times have varying energies. Find the class and community that gets you excited to show up and commit to riding.
7. Ride to the beat and with the community.
Do your absolute best to stay with the pack but don't be afraid to sit in the saddle or skip choreography. It's about control over speed. If your shoulders are swaying side to side or your bike is rocking, you are not in control. Add on some resistance to stabilize your body. Engage your deep core muscles, reach your hips far back, keep your chest lifted and your elbows close into the sides of the body. Use the breath to maintain control of your body.
8. When things get tough, just ride it out!
Try to stay present and with the beat of the music. Hard work can be emotional... if something comes up, the room is dark and candle lit, so just let it come out. It's totally OK to be human. Some days you'll be there to support others through your energy and drive, and other days you're there to be supported in whatever you're going through. Sweating it out and leaving it on the bike is a healthy part of soul cleansing.
Have you tried Soul-Cycle? What did you think? Leave your tips in the comment section below!
Sign up for your first Soul-Cycle class here.