Within the past year, my mindset of viewing exercise as a method to look better physically has transformed into gaining mental clarity and finding strength emotionally. While the physical aspect is kind of an added bonus, it’s not something I fixate on anymore. I go to spin to turn my day from 0 to 100 or 100 to 1000. For 45 minutes out of 24 hours, I’ve never been more at peace. Here’s why.
For those who don’t know, SoulCycle is a nationwide indoor cycling experience that focuses on riders riding together on the rhythm and beat of the music together as one, shall I say, “army of love” (check out their March apparel/theme currently). It’s not about one person being better than the next but riding as one group, building each other up, supporting each other and often giving high-fives to the riders next to you for support. It’s tough, it’s sweaty and it’s a challenge but every 45 minute class (they also offer 60 and the occasional 90) is always worth it.
When I took my first SoulCycle class back in 2014 (December 31st to be exact), I won’t lie I was drawn to the aesthetic. That and I told my best friend I had heard that a girl from my high school met Bradley Cooper in one of her classes so naturally, I thought I might meet a celebrity too – ha. It was during a winter trip to California with two of my good friends and one of them was as equally intrigued by SoulCycle as I was. We ended up going to that first class during a visit to California and my two friends and I managed to all get in 5 minutes late and fail miserably at the tap backs and push ups. But we made it and we loved it.
Only a few months after, SoulCycle’s first location opened in Chicago and I remember calling my friend to tell her about it. I’ll always remember my first class, with Jaclyn, at SoulCycle’s Old Town location. The class ended with the song “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers and the whole room screamed at the top of their lungs the line, “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier.”
I’d say from that point forward, I knew someday, somehow, someway SoulCycle would have an impact on my life but I wasn’t just sure when it would come. Until this past February.
As a part of an event with Nike, I tried a SoulCycle class again for the first time in a few months. I was hooked instantly but this time for different reasons rather than just viewing it as 45 minutes to lose X amount of calories or get my sweat in for the day. I was surrounded by some people I recognized, some new faces and an insane amount of energy I couldn’t shake off for the rest of the day. Like I mentioned in my post earlier this year on how yoga helped me grieve, SoulCycle has transformed how I grieve the loss of my mom, the anxiety I’ve had due to graduating (in 6 short weeks), work and anything else that comes my way – whether it’s something I have the power to change or not.
I think everyone experiences workouts that they somewhat look forward to in one way or another but to me, SoulCycle is unlike any other workout I’ve experienced. It’s the first workout I’ve done where I feel inspired and motivated from start to finish. Even on the days where I’m tired from work or stressed from school, I make it to the studio because if anything, it will be a small highlight to my day.
The second I walk into a SoulCycle room and feel the heat in the dark space, I have this indescribable feeling where nothing can ruin my mood. I usually start off the class thinking of a few things that I’m worried about or are upsetting me through the day and use them as my motivation to make each step on the bike a little faster, a little harder and a little stronger. Usually after the first or second song, I’m at the point where I know my worries are behind me.
There are always classes that are better than others, like with everything, and I can specifically think of two in which I felt like I could have kept spinning for forever. One was an 8:00am and one was a 5:30pm. Two totally different vibes considering one is when people are just waking up and the other people are ready to head home from work and be done with the day. They were both with one of my favorite instructors, Naz, and if you live in Chicago, you must ride with her. She has a contagious energy and always seems to be in the best mood which comes in handy when leading a pack of 50+ people to give it their all.
I remember after I took her 8am class – where she played ‘Alone’ by Marshmello and ‘Something Just Like This’ by The Chainsmokers – I was instantly in the best mood considering both of those songs have importance to me. During SoulCycle classes, the second last song is a song where you can ride at any preferred pace and it’s that one song that’s just for YOU. You ride to your own beat, the lights turn off and the candles in the front of the room go out. This specific class, Naz put one of the many candles in the room right in front of me and I can’t tell you how much my energy increased and how much I thought of my mom in that moment.
We then talked after class with the usual “that was such a good class” talk but I mentioned how I’ve actually thought about being a SoulCycle instructor one day. Here’s where the surprise comes in.
Ever since getting into cycling last April, I’ve literally become hooked on spin. Ask my roommates, friends, family and I’m sure if you follow me on Instagram, you see it.
I’ve thought about it on and off but even mentioned it to my friends at Nike at the end of last year – My 2017 goal is to become a yoga or spin instructor. Now that I’ve bounced back into the love of SoulCycle, I see how passionate the instructors are for what they do and for myself personally, I see how empowering every class is. I can tell you all it is definitely a goal of mine and why stop myself from trying to reach that goal? I don’t see it happening this year but within the next 2 or 3… why not?!
You’ll never know if you never try.
If SoulCycle has taught me one thing in the two years I’ve known about it and in the past month I’ve been riding non stop on a weekly basis, it’s that if you really want something bad enough, it’s all yours.
Nothing can get in your way except yourself and all it takes is practice, patience and passion and eventually, that will lead to progress.