For most of us, the cardio area of a gym is hardly a source of motivation. In fact, it’s the exact opposite, filled with zoned out, distracted people. While they succeed at reading “Fifty Shades of Grey”, chatting with friends about bad dates or getting sucked into an episode of reality TV on the treadmill, they are failing miserably at hitting target heart rates or maximizing caloric burn. I’m convinced this section of the gym should be renamed as “the everything but cardio area.” It’s the mental equivalent of a hamster in a wheel on the fitness road to simply going through the motions.
Enter SoulCycle, the inspirational arrow that penetrates body, mind, heart and soul in one fell swoop. It promises to resuscitate the “work” in working out by breathing life back into it during a 45-minute indoor cycling class. The Soul Cycle culture is like a mini Black Rock Desert, where expression and reliance of self in their fitness community results in mass epiphanies.
SoulCycle has nailed the art of positive first impressions. The white and yellow color scheme is an instant mood lifter. Air is grapefruit scented and smiling staff members are genuinely at your service. Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, it does. Within the studio, participants (referred to as SoulCyclists) are warming their engines in preparation of what’s to come and the audible sound of spinning wheels fills the candlelit room. Instructor Ben Bruker joins the group, his popularity evidenced by excited hoots and hollers. Energy mounts as students hover above their saddles like Shimano-shoe-clad jockeys riding pedal powered thoroughbreds.
Kanye West is the opening track on Ben’s playlist, a deep bass motivational speech with a tempo that instantly syncs SoulCyclists into coordinated movement. With lyrics that profess “Ain’t nobody fresher than my clique,” unity ignites amongst riders. Throughout class, Ben delivers cues to keep students focused on where to exert the work, as well as the proper positioning for each exercise. This affords riders the ability to self-correct their body mechanics. “The single most important factor to help you maximize your ride is form,” states Ben. With a playlist as captivating as the guy who created them, students are deep into a hypnotic state. Endorphins are the drug, and Ben is the dealer. Because they’re fully engaged, SoulCyclists push harder. They sweat profusely. They feel interconnected. They celebrate and believe. Together.
SoulCycle is a choreographed, full body, indoor cycling workout. In addition to speed, resistance and body position transitions, students can expect core exercises and use of light hand weights. If you are a first time rider, it’s critical to ask the instructor for help on proper bike setup and how to clip your spin shoes in and out of the pedals.
SoulCycle’s latest California installment opened in Brentwood on September 7th. The 50- bike studio is open seven days a week, featuring shoe rentals, fully appointed locker rooms, showers and retail offerings. It is centrally located on San Vicente Boulevard in a shopping center with abundant parking (Two hours free with validation). The Brentwood studio joins their West Hollywood location as the second SoulCycle in Los Angeles. Plans are in the works to add a 3rd studio in Santa Monica later this year.
11640 San Vicente Blvd (At Darlington)
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Joy Bitonio has the phrase “Joie de Vivre” tattooed on her shoulder, a reminder to enjoy life every single day. She has a voracious appetite for fun, adventure, food, good cocktails and works out like a madwoman to keep it all together. Her fitness articles can be found on examiner.com. Follow her on twitter.