How Soul Cycle helped me figure my life out
I bet you're thinking that the title of this post is pretty bold. And to be honest, it is. But, it really is the only way I can describe the effect Soul Cycle has had on my life in recent months. Keep reading to find out how.
It all started several months ago when I kept hearing all about Soul Cycle. People raved about how great the classes were and how they “found their soul” after going to just one class. Being the somewhat cynical person that I am, I thought that was kind of silly.
But, I have to admit that there was a little part of me that wanted to find out what all the hype was about. There had to be something special about those classes if so many people swore by them, right? Little did I know that a Soul Cycle class would one day help me 'figure my life out'.
Now, I am not a workout class person AT ALL. Even when I had an LA Fitness membership for almost 2 years, I never stepped foot in any of their classes. Being in a cramped room with a bunch of sweaty people is not my cup of tea.
So yeah, I definitely don’t know what came over me that one Sunday morning when I decided to sign up for a Soul Cycle class. I went by myself, signed in, got my funny cycling shoes, and awkwardly waited around until the class started. I am way too socially awkward to go to things like this alone….
Anyway, I walked into the class and the first thing I noticed was that the lights were off and the only light came from a few glowing candles positioned around the instructor bike. “Hey, that’s kind of cool,” I thought.
Soothing electronic music pumped through the speakers as I found my bike and got set up. I clipped in and thought, “well, there’s no turning back now.”
Before I knew it, the music picked up and I was pedaling along to the beat in sync with the other riders. The instructor guided us, telling us when to pick it up and when to increase the resistance on our bikes.
After a few minutes, I was honestly having a great time. The music was perfectly curated and I felt a high matching my stride to the beat. The best part was that the instructor was so motivating and encouraging, more like a yoga instructor than the drill sergeant I expected her to be.
As the class progressed, it became harder as we cranked the resistance up to ‘climb a few hills.’ By the time the 45 minutes were up, I was exhausted and drenched in sweat. It was a solid workout and was a nice change of pace from my typical workout routines.
As I left the class, I understood why people loved it so much. Even though it was a tough workout, it was almost therapeutic being so in tuned with the music while pushing myself as hard as I could. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to go again.
After that first class, I was hooked. I signed up for as my classes as my budget allowed. However, one early morning I went to a class that changed everything.
One early Friday morning at 7 am (yeah, crazy) I took a class before work with one of my fitness pals, Serena.
Waking up that early was tough, but once we got on our bikes we felt a sudden surge of energy. The class was taught by Ross, an instructor neither of us had met before. We didn’t know what to expect, but by the end, we both looked at each other and were like, “well, that was amazing.”
Before heading into that class, I was feeling really overwhelmed after a tough week. I had been super stressed at work and was worried about what the future would hold. I was dealing with a lot of family stress and knew that I was about to make a major life decision.
At this time, my boyfriend was applying to grad school in Denver and we were waiting to hear if he was accepted. If he chose to go, I thought about moving to Denver too. I grew up in Denver, so part of me wanted to go back to be near family again. However, LA had been my home and I wasn’t quite sure if I was ready to give it up.
When it came to making this decision, I felt like my mind was constantly going back and forth and I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do.
Needless to say, I was looking forward to an hour of Soul Cycle to sweat it out and hopefully be distracted from the stress for a bit.
From the beginning of class, Ross made the room feel like a sacred place. He told us to leave all of our worries and troubles outside the room and to only focus on the here and now. As his playlist pumped through the speakers, I pedaled my bike to the beat as my worries disappeared.
As the class went on, he encouraged us to challenge ourselves. His voice echoed through the room as he gently shouted that “there’s a fine line between courage and contentment. Be courageous this morning.” He kept telling us to “make a brave choice,” by adding more and more resistance to our bikes.
He told us that this is the place to be brave and that we should push ourselves to the fullest. He said to carry this mentality throughout the rest of our day.
When it came towards the end of the class, he blew out the candles and we rode in complete darkness. The song “There Will Be Time” by Mumford and Sons came on and we cranked up the resistance on our bikes yet again. He told us to “close our eyes because sometimes we see clearer when our eyes are closed.”
He told us to think about what it was that we really wanted. He said the only way to get what we want is to be courageous and push ourselves to get there.
So, for the first time, I really thought deeply about what it was I wanted. I thought about how I wasn’t happy at my job and that I wanted a fresh start. I thought about how I didn’t want to just keep living the status quo. I wanted to shift my career and focus more on my dreams rather than just on what I knew I could do.
Soon the song picked up and Ross shouted that we had a few big runs coming up and then we would be “home” (class would be over). In the anticipation of the build up of the song, he told us to increase the resistance yet again and be prepared to run. I was out of the saddle and ready to take it on. As the beat dropped, I pedaled as hard as I possibly could.
Thoughts kept rushing into my mind and I suddenly felt completely overwhelmed, but in a good way. I thought about what I really wanted out of life.
I suddenly started to realize that I really did want to go to Denver. It would be a fresh start and a chance to do something new. It would allow me to save a lot of money on living expenses and It would give me the opportunity to hang out with my family more often.
It was almost like my mind was completely made up. I kept pedaling as Ross shouted more words of encouragement and the song blared through the speakers. I pedaled harder through the end of the song feeling happy and completely content.
When the song finished, we gradually slowed down our pedaling to a stop and began to stretch. I felt at ease and ready to take on the day at work.
When I arrived at work, I was in a weirdly good mood. Like really good mood, which usually never happens when I’m working. Clearly, I was feeling those endorphins.
I had a productive morning and finished up several things that I had been working on. I went to take a break and realized that I had a text from my boyfriend saying that he just found out he was accepted to grad school.
It was funny because I completely forgot that he would probably be hearing back that day. It didn’t even cross my mind all morning. I was so happy for him. I always figured I’d wait until he was accepted and then think it over a few weeks to decide what I was going to do. But, in that moment I knew exactly what I wanted.
Fast forward a few weeks and I started making moves to come back to Denver. Even though the big decision was made, there was still a lot to do and figure out. I kept going back to Soul Cycle because it was a great way for me to de-stress and sweat it out.
In my last few weeks in LA, I went to Soul Cycle as many days as I could. It helped me so much with the stress and anxiety I was feeling about moving across the country and starting all over.
I have been in Denver a few weeks now, and I am excited about this new adventure. While it has been a stressful few months leading up to this big move, I’m thankful that I found Soul Cycle which not only allowed me to think clearly about the decision but also helped me blow off steam in the process.
While I am really sad that there is no Soul Cycle in Denver (Um hi, if you’re reading this, can you please open a studio here?!), I know that I will definitely back to a class when I come back and visit.
Moral of the story: If you haven’t tried Soul Cycle yet, what are you waiting for?! It is hands down my favorite type of workout and I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you’re ready for a fun, but killer workout, go sign up now!