How to be Mediocre at SoulCycle

By Camille Vitale

Staff Almost-Athlete

It was a day in mid-October when I got the email that would change my life forever: I was going to try SoulCycle for the first time. Full disclosure, I am neither an athlete nor a workout fiend, so finding workouts that work for me can be rather difficult. But at this point in my life I have been trying different workouts like Yoga, Barre, Ballroom Dance, and now finally SoulCycle. Now, the first thing to remember when trying SoulCycle is that you need to have a fabulous outfit, think workout goddess. We’re talking workout t-shirt in your favorite color that makes you look you just received an Adidas sponsorship and leggings that make type-A moms weep into their Lululemons. Nothing else matters. This is it. This is your time. 45 minutes in the gym everyday has brought you to this point of pure, unadulterated cycling for one purpose: to work the fuck out.


As I walk into the SoulCycle in Bronxville, the receptionist checks me into my first class and I cannot help but look at the perfectly displayed merchandise. The gorgeous leggings, the fabulous sweatshirts, and the sports bras that make you feel like Victoria Beckham are all displayed in such a way that make me want to SoulCycle my way to my best self. After some browsing of the merchandise I put my stuff in what is easily the nicest locker (if you can even call it that) I have ever seen. Big enough to hold all my stuff that and I can reset the lock to a code I choose, it lacks all the usual nastiness that comes with a place of communal exercise, thus giving me even more initiative to sign up for another class.


After the normal small talk with other eager cyclists, we all file into the studio to the Soul Sanctuary, as the pros call it. Once in the sanctuary I take my spot in the back corner. As a newbie to this I am not here to impress anyone. Therefore, being emo in the corner is a solid response to a new workout vibe—I can figure out if I like this method of exercise without feeling self-conscious about never having done this before. Everyone wins.

After a quick tutorial of how the bike works in terms of snapping the shoes into the petals and how to increase and decrease resistance on the bike, the lights turn off, the music turns on to a standard club volume, and the pedaling commences. Everyone is biking as fast as humanly possible. Meanwhile, I am going as fast as I can until I start wheezing and can’t breathe effectively, so I take a break and sit. Is there some internalized guilt? Absolutely. However, I showed up, so everything else is just extra. Soon after, there is added choreography. This is where you are riding the bike while alternating positions of both standing and sitting to the beat of some very amped music such as Ariana Grande. I opt out of some of this choreography because like most people, I just am not there yet. Throughout the class there are a lot of inspirational quotes because no workout is complete without inspirational quotes. I would say the hardest moves were the push-ups on the bike and the free weights in last five minutes of class. My soul was already cycled.


If I had to rate this experience out of ten I would say it was an eight because I did have a good time! I should have done more working out in preparation because some of it was way more intense than my usual workout routine, and I fluctuated between loving it and hating it throughout. With that being said, the aftereffects were great. I felt like my skin had a rebirth—it was so soft afterward. Even though there was some soreness, I felt like I could conquer the world because of how good my body felt for the rest of the week.


If I had to change my approach to how I would SoulCycle in the future, I would drink more water prior and eat more protein in order to feel more present in the class. Also, I would recommend that if you plan on trying SoulCycle, do it after you have established some sort of workout routine. Going in cold turkey would be really fucking rough and is not Camille- approved. Lastly, I would go again. Was I the best one there? Absolutely not. But when looking for a workout you need to find one that works you and makes you feel good, as well as one that tests your limits. So, if there is one thing I learned from this, it’s to keep trying new things, and that SoulCycle can really kick your ass.

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