I mentioned yesterday that I went to SoulCycle in Union Square (NYC) but did not go into details. Since people ask for my opinion on many fitness classes, I decided that regardless of my experience, I should probably just do it now. That being said, I think a class depends largely on the instructor. Having a good or bad instructor can make all the difference.

Since this was my first class, I was able to take the class with shoe rental for $20 (shoes are normally $3 on top of the $32 for a single class). Although you cannot reserve online as a newbie, you can call and do it over the phone. The class I attended was 45-minutes long and started at 9:30 am. I’m curious what jobs these people have where they can walk in to work at 11 am but then again, look at me… I always think this when I’m running at 10 am as well. The studio in Union Square has enough bikes for 57 people. I think there were maybe 4 that went unused.

My instructor’s build reminded me of a more muscular Kelly Ripa. She was ripped and had what looked like a 10% or less body fat percentage. This is always a good sign, I think even though as a trainer I know, is not what defines a good workout.

I forgot to bring a water but one of the front desk girls was nice enough to grab me a complimentary bottle! I really appreciated this. The shoes were comfy and the instructor helped me get set up. I told her I was new to spinning so she grabbed me a seat cover. This was amazing because I typically hate the seats. There were 2 3-lb dumbbells set up in one of the bottle holders on the bike. Most members were decked out in Lululemon. I was glad I opted to bring my lulu uniform so I’d fit in (hint, I’m being sarcastic).

The first 35 minutes were pure spinning. The music was loud and I didn’t recognize any of the songs except the J.Lo/Pitbull song “Get On The Floor” which I hate. I couldn’t really hear the cues so I just kind followed the girls around me. There were men too, just not in my eye sight. We did a lot of out of the saddle riding, which I like. We also did these “push-up” things. The movement is supposed to come from your core and abs but I’m not sure everyone got that but judging their form. It was confusing and I’m glad the instructor told me before class started how to do them. My heart rate was crazy high the entire time. After 35 minutes, I had burned about 400 calories! I have no sweat that much in a long time.

We then grabbed our weights for some arms exercises. The reps were not high enough for me to really feel anything. I wish the had given us heavier weights or suggested doubling up like my instructor did. I thought the arm moves were pointless but I enjoyed the break from the cardio so I’m not complaining. We finished with another quick burst of spinning.

After the class, my face was beet red and stayed that way for about a 1/2 hour. I would have liked a bit of air circulation in the studio. There was also an earthy smell, maybe lavender that was distracting every time I’d wipe sweat from my face. In the end I burned 550 calories in 45-minutes, the most in 45-minutes I’ve probably ever burned.

The locker rooms were tight quarters! With only 5 showers, I can’t imagine what it’s like at the before work classes. You have to wait your turn to shower and use the mirror space to get ready for the day.

Although I liked the class, I think $32 is really steep for a spinning class that likes to throw in weights during the last 5 minutes. Again, other instructors may make this class more spiritual and strength driven but I primarily just got a fabulous cardio workout. I guess with all the hype surrounding Soul Cycle, I expected to fall in love like I was when I took Barre Method in Boston. Gyms are obsessed with creating the latest fusion workout, combining what every one loves into one class. I think Soul Cycle sounds great on paper, but I’m not sure I understood the translation.

I think I may need to start giving spinning another chance at my Equinox. It really is an amazing workout and out of my comfort zone. Have you taken a class at Soul Cycle? Was my experience similar to the other classes or no? I’m curious.

Today’s giveaway is apparel from tasc Performance  – Bamboo Performance Technology. Super comfy and airy I recently wore this exact outfit as on the model to the tabata class I go to on Mondays at Equinox. It looked and felt great. I did not look like a sweaty mess that I usually do at the end of class. It’s also made from Bamboo which makes it eco-friendly and is 100% UV protected for when it’s time to wear tank tops outside again!

SoulCycle Class Review + Clothing Giveaway

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99 Comments

  • Mrs. Strom
    Reply

    Thanks for the review! I live in rural Michigan, so there is no Soul Cycle available; but, I do enjoy the occasional spinning class. And I completely agree that the instructor can make or break any style of class!

    (BTW, I <3 the outfit in today's give away!)

  • Leslie
    Reply

    I have never taken a Soul Cycle class, but have seen videos of it and I don’t agree with the bands from the ceiling and doing weights while on the bike. It’s a cardio class. Same with the pushups. The pushups are just filler because they can’t think of anything else to do. I feel if people are going to do pushups they should do them the proper way and get down on the floor and do them! This is not ‘spinning’ either, Mad Dog instructors would never do those things in a class.
    The sent you were talking about, would bother me too. I know when I’m outside running, ANY sent bothers me. I feel my lungs tighten up right away.
    At least you’ve tried it and now you know. I wish I could try different classes, but with my schedule I’m too busy AND we don’t have nearly the variety that you do.

  • rachel moreno
    Reply

    Thanks so much for the 12 days of Christmas give away! :) I have never taken a spin class but I would LOVE to try one! :)

  • Elana
    Reply

    I definitely want to try a spin class (never have!) but appreciate the review as I know there are a lot of choices out there in classes. I’d love to win the outfit you posted!

  • Kathryn P
    Reply

    I fall in and out of love with spinning.. sometimes I cant get enough other times I hate it! But one thing you cant deny.. you get a great workout! I would love to win the apparel as well!

  • Viviana
    Reply

    I am just learning about Soul Cycle from your review…I take spin classes occasionally and strictly with the same instructor because I love her and the music. I usually burn 500 calories in 1 hour which is good. The class is crowded though so I need to get there super early! I too sometimes can’t hear the cue and I hate it. I also wished it was air conditioned instead of having 2 big fans blowing in my face but oh well!
    I wish my gym had a schedule with 630 or 7 am classes. 630 is early but not brutally early like the 545 am they have! And a 7 am would still be enough for me to make it to the office slightly before 9. But no, they have a gap from 545 to 830…mystery!
    Love today’s giveaway! Even though it’s a mild winter in So Cal I miss summer already!
    P.S. Got the Dick’s Cotton I purchased on Black Friday! I love them! Also, I had no time to work out yesterday so I did your “Thanksgiving Tabata” video and today I definitely feel it! Thanks as always Sarah!

  • Haley
    Reply

    When I think of spinning, I’m not sure I’d appreciate the arms workout in the middle. Seems more like an interruption then a help/strength. Thanks for the review though

  • Kate
    Reply

    I love spin classes but don’t think I’d take a Soul Cycle class. I’d much rather do 45 minutes of spinning followed by effective strength training.

  • Jen
    Reply

    I’ve never really been able love spin classes, but I would definitely give soul cycle a try. I like the idea of doing weights in between to make things more interesting. Love the clothing!

  • Nicole
    Reply

    I do not agree with one of the posts above, throwing in a little arm workout never hurt anyone. As a spin instructor, I can attest to it NOT being a filler-adding weights to any class will boost your heart rate and metabolism. I am not a fan of the push-ups, but doing some biceps, triceps, and shoulder work is a great active recovery alternative. Also, its SCENT, not sent.

  • Nicole K
    Reply

    Ive never heard of Soul Cycle, but it sounds very similar to a typical spin session. Some instructors will have us do arm workouts with weights or pushups on the bars. I like spinning, especially when I really want to keep my heart rate up and torch some calories! Thanks for the review!!

  • Sarah
    Reply

    I’ve been considering a spin class to mix things up since I do a lot of running so I will have to look in my area. The clothes look amazing!

  • Nicole F.
    Reply

    I love spin. I do agree that it really depends on the instructor and/or music to get you excited, but when it’s on, it’s absolutely amazing! And I also feel like I never push myself quite like I do with the adrenaline of a spin class.

  • Stephanie
    Reply

    I have a love-hate relationship with spinning -- it’s such a great workout but I feel like not all of the instructors are as helpful to those less familiar with it as yours was. Lucky you! I’ve had two bad injuries to my lower leg as a result of spin bikes, both caused by an issue with the pedal clips. So I’m on a break from it for now, but hope to get back into it soon (and hopefully find an instructor who is receptive to my fear of the spin bike pedals). I would love to win the outfit featured on today’s giveaway!

  • Shannon
    Reply

    You should definitely try one at Equinox (I’m assuming you go to Back Bay? I work at Franklin St., say hi if you ever come into that one:)). Our members love them and a couple of them are always full.

  • Marissa
    Reply

    thanks for the review! i have only taken one spin class and didn’t love it either. i live in ny, but based on your review not sure i would try the soul cycle one. i love the give way today, the blue shirt matches my running shoes!

  • Kat
    Reply

    I took spinning when I was at BU (I’m so angry I didn’t utilize fitness classes more when I was a student…what a shame) and it was so hard! I agree with it being out of your comfort zone…meeee too. I love this outfit though! Looks really simple and comfortable. Perfect for doing complicated and uncomfortable activities :-)

  • Tara
    Reply

    I love spinning and have heard of Soul Cycle but there aren’t any locations in my area. I agree that sometimes the “hype” of the class or new exercise is great than the actual experience. I think I will just stick to my regular spin class.

  • gina
    Reply

    I’ve never taken spin cause I’ve always been too intimidated. Never been much of a bike rider but I need to try it one of these days. Would love to win that workout outfit!

  • anna smith
    Reply

    I really enjoy taking spin classes. It breaks up the cardio so that I am not just running (even though I do love running and would do it everyday if I could). The workout clothing is super cute and looks very comfortable!

  • Melanie A.
    Reply

    i’ve never actually taken a spinning class, although a number of my friends swear by them! my legs are not terribly strong, so i feel like i’d get tuckered out too quickly and be embarrassed… but it’s probably exactly what i need to get my legs bulked up! :) and i love that outfit! would love to add it to my workout wardrobe! :)

  • Laura
    Reply

    I’ve taken a couple spin classes and while I don’t know how many calories I burned, it’s the most I’ve ever sweat in a workout, that’s for sure!

  • Marina Chekhovskiy
    Reply

    I’ve never been to soul cycle, but i used to go to a spin class 2-3 times per week, and it was always the highlight of my workouts. Some classes are better than other, but I would challenge myself by adding resistance and speed no matter what. Also, the outfit for the giveaway looks super cute and I could really use some new clothes!!

  • Kim
    Reply

    I hate that song too! I threw it on my half marathon playlist back in October--and unfortunately (maybe fortunately?) it was the song I crossed the finish line to. I think I sprinted even faster at the end so I could turn off the music :) I love workout clothes!

  • Ellie@fitforthesoul
    Reply

    I’ve actually never taken any classes on anything!! (except yoga) I want to, but I feel like I always spur myself on better, and so I get double-minded about taking any 😛 The tank top is really nice, and it reminds me of Under Armour, which I loooove 😀

  • Alice
    Reply

    I started going to spin class a few years ago in college. It was out of my comfort zone too. I usually ran on the treadmill, strength trained or took other classes; however, after I got over the pain of those bike seats, I couldn’t resist going back because I’ve never sweated so much!! I’ve found that the instructor can make or break the class because I’ve been to some spin classes where the pace was slow and the music was bad, so I try to avoid those. Anyways, I’m in need of cute new workout clothes!!

  • Kristy Doyle
    Reply

    I live in a small town, so we don’t really have many places like SoulCycle pop up. I have taken a spinning class, and I really like it.

  • Kelli
    Reply

    I’ve never tried a spinning class before, may be I should. My friend swears by it. Thanks for the review -- I’ll have to check if there’s something similar in Chicago.

  • Erin
    Reply

    Never tried spin classes. The instructors at my university were a joke; now I live in rural OK where my husband is stationed. Our gym is barely more than some rusty weights and a few treadmills!

  • Carrie Califano
    Reply

    I’ve never been to SoulCycle, but I didn’t like the first spinning class I took. This semester at college my friend asked me sign up for a spinning class for our PE class. I loved it! But I think it was very dependent on the instructor.

  • Daniela
    Reply

    I would never be able to dish out $33 for 45 min cycling session. I already find it hard enough to pay of $50 for a memebership to a gym, when there are so many great blogs like yours that you can follow and make up your own workouts.
    Anyways thanks for the reivew, makes me appriciate the cost of living in Nebraska vs. NYC :)

  • alanna
    Reply

    One of the lululemon store in NYC set up a ‘brick’ workout with soul cycle. I had pretty much the same experience as you. I didn’t love, it was just another spin class (expect in a fancy studio). I did like the stadium seating in the studio, but it was loud and the arm workout was not enough for someone who already does strength training.

    I love that top on the model! It looks flattering and comfortable. I’m always looking for a top with a built in bra (that has enough support), but is still breathable. Lulu tops frequently don’t fit me right and look funny or cause back fat or aren’t supportive enough.

    Love the holiday giveaways!

  • Kelley
    Reply

    I’m a recent spin class convert. One of my good friends began teaching classes so I would go and take her class and i loved it. I always feel like I got a good work out after I’m done. But, I agree I’m not sure I would like the weights in a spin class.

    I love that the Tasc Performance clothes are eco-friendly!

  • Ashley
    Reply

    I had never heard about Soul Cycle until you mentioned it in your last post. I’ve never taken a spin class before but I’ve always wanted to. There’s this little section of the town I live in they call it “downtown” but its really just a couple blocks of shops & stuff, but recently like 4 different fitness studios opened up there. One of them is a cycling studio, I haven’t had the chance to try it out yet, but I definitely want to soon.

  • Tara
    Reply

    I live in NYC and my roommate does Soul Cycle. I can’t rationalize the cost- my gym has spin class offered a few times a week, so I try to get to one of those instead.

    I’d love to win those shorts- they’d be perfect for spinning!

  • Jessica L
    Reply

    I have take spin classes before in the past here and there. However now I take it pretty regularly, twice a week. Biking and spinning have always knocked the wind out of me and I love it for that. Running and swimming are my strongest suit, so I am really trying to improve in my biking/spinning as it’s important for my triathlons. I enjoy my spin classes at the YMCA because we have awesome motivating instructors and they blast music that really pumps me up. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy your spin class, but you definitely should give another instructor or gym another shot!

  • Stephanie
    Reply

    I have never taken a spinning class but my mom takes them quite often. She loves them and is also a triathlete at the young age of 48! She inspired me to get my fat ass off the couch and now I’m smaller than her…but don’t tell her I told you that! I also placed first in my age group in my second 5K this past Saturday…go me!!

    That being said, I really need to work on my workout wardrobe and would love to add this outfit to my collection!

  • sara
    Reply

    I’m with ya.. that’s really a steep price for any workout!

    Thanks for the giveaway..this looks like a wonderful top to workout in!

  • Adrienne
    Reply

    Where I live there aren’t a lot of classes like this offered. Our YMCA has a cycle class but I didn’t feel like I got much out of it. I think the class you attended sounds interesting and is something that I would like to try sometime!

    Love the way the workout top is fitted too! SUPER CUTE!

  • Alex
    Reply

    I took a spinning class last winter, but got kind of scared away with how sore my butt was the next day. I’m used to muscle soreness from weight lifting and kettlebells, but spinning creates a whole other type of sore. I’m considering giving it a try again this winter. It’s hard to beat for a 1-hour cardio workout.

  • Amy
    Reply

    spinning is definitely a great workout!! i kind of on spurts…ill do it all the time for like, a month, then forget it exists. but its a great workout!

  • Morganne
    Reply

    I adore spin classes! I have never tried a Soul Cycle class, but i have taken many spin classes at different gyms and they have all been great! I love how tired i am after taking one!

  • Denise Strawn
    Reply

    You know, I’ve never tried a spinning class, but would like to. I’m not sure I could got that hard that long. Of course, I surprise myself sometimes!

  • Kristen
    Reply

    I used to take spin classes a few years ago, what a great workout! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the top that you are giving away. That color is one of my favs :)

  • Michelle
    Reply

    I’ve never tried a spin class, seems like an interesting thing to try! My friends have tried it and they said its pretty intense, I’m scared I wouldn’t be able to complete it.

  • Kelli
    Reply

    I have never taken a spin class, but I would love to. My goal for 2012 is to get out of my comfort zone and start getting involved in more fitness classes. So far I’ve been loving yoga, zumba, and hip hop!

  • Julia
    Reply

    I’d love to try a spin class too… not sure about the idea of it. i generally prefer solitary running where i’m all alone with my thoughts. maybe a crazy intense spin session would get me out of my comfort zone and make me a better athlete though!

  • Nina
    Reply

    I love getting such a great workout from spin classes but can’t decide if I actually like the class? Its a love hate relationship haha

    BTW I think it is so great the clothes in the give away are UV protected, really cool!

  • Lauren H
    Reply

    Bleh.. cardio. I’d rather do weight resistance training all day lol! I haven’t taken a spinning class, but maybe I should start. And the idea of the soul cycle SOUNDS intriguing.. but idk if it’s for me. Then again, if I can burn 400 calories in 35 minutes, I’m in lol.

  • Jennifer
    Reply

    Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to win some workout clothes. My workout clothes consist of simply old shirts and leggings.

  • Kendra
    Reply

    Since I live in BFE I don’t have the opportunity to take classes like this one, but would love to travel to the next town over to try some out! Thanks Sarah!

  • Laura
    Reply

    I follow Soul Cycle on Twitter and have been interested in trying it next time I go to NYC. I usually spin 2x/week at Healthworks in Cambridge, and I totally agree that there is a vast difference in your experience when you have different instructors. Going into my week, I know Monday’s spin class will beat me senseless and Friday’s ride will be a nice closing to the week (although admittedly, I can get annoyed that I got to the gym before dawn and I’m not working as hard as I could). I wonder if there’s info out there (like what people tweet to them about) about the more popular instructors!

  • Mandy
    Reply

    Love the review. Never been to one, too rural to have a gym that offers this variety. Best we get is a Zumba class at the local Y! But I’d love to experiment when traveling!!

  • M@myviewfromparis
    Reply

    I just left NYC after 8 years during which time I took spinning classes about 3x week, but never at SoulCycle. I do miss the cardio intensity of spin classes. My favorite was when they were followed by a body sculpting class. The giveaway gear looks amazing. I am always on the lookout for natural products that can somewhat cope with my copious sweating and protect me from the sun. Thank you!

  • Cat Yem
    Reply

    I know what you mean about the seat in spin class! I never want to take it because it makes my butt numb! And I am a girl that has plenty of cushion back there! LOL

  • Cortni
    Reply

    I took a spinning class at a school this semester and it was awesome! The only difficult part was that it started at 8am! I really did love getting up and getting moving though, it made me awake for the whole day. Spinning is tricky though, it varies so much by the instructor and what their preferences are.

  • Jacquelyn
    Reply

    I’ve taken spin classes at LA Fitness and always leave with an extremely sore nether-region (for those of you who have never taken a spin class, BEWARE!). I have some back problems and I’ve actually found spin classes aren’t the best for me. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but the classes seem to put strain on my back and leave me with pinched nerves for a week or two. But I totally agree that spin classes are intense!!
    The giveaway looks awesome today. Thanks for doing it!!!

  • Charlene
    Reply

    I’ve never taken Soul Cycle but I’m interested in taking a spin class -- I just need to work up the nerve and sign-up early since those spots tend to go fast at my gym! I do love Bar Method though and I’ve been taking the classes since September (in Boston) to replace my Physique 57 classes I was used to doing when I lived in NYC.

  • Marie
    Reply

    I’ve never done a spin classes, but I have done a few different classes at my gym. I always hear the spin instructor yelling in the mic and it sounds so intense!

  • Jess
    Reply

    As a grad student, I’m pretty broke, but I do splurge and go to Soul Cycle whenever I have the time and money. I’ve been about ten times in the past year and I absolutely love it. It’s true that some teachers take it to a more spiritual level than others. Some instructors also do things with the weights that have my arms aching using 1 lbs, and others have us do things that I can barely feel with 2 lbs. Lots of those push-ups though, and I’m not sure I am a fan of that -- it’s hard for me to get the rhythm. It’s definitely the best cardio workout, second to running, that I’ve done. I’m a runner and I’m currently injured, and Soul Cycle gives me my fix. Some classes have more popular music than others, and some have theme rides.

    I’m totally sold (HA! I almost typed “souled”) and enjoy Soul Cycle classes much more than I enjoy the regular spin classes at my gym (I actually like that it gets steamy and sweaty in the studio at Soul Cycle, and that the lights are all off -- it helps me to get in a “zone”). If I were you, I’d give it a second try (if you have the money to potentially get hooked…!), maybe try a different studio or location (Janet’s class in Tribeca or UWS is awesome, or Louise on the UWS, or Christine on the UES -- they all take it to another level beyond fitness…so do a LOT of the instructors but I’m not a total regular so I don’t know everyone’s names, and I usually go in Scarsdale but I’ve been to all the studios). Everyone who I’ve brought to a class with me, although they’re mainly non-fitness people, loves it. So yeah -- give it another shot (and take a class at your gym to compare!)

    • Sarah
      Reply

      Thanks Jess for your awesome comment! I’ve been waiting for someone to write something like this. I will give it another shot, and with your suggestions :)

  • Jess
    Reply

    Also, if you have the time (since you’ve definitely got the physical ability), try a Soul Survivor class -- it’s a full hour, for the same price!

  • Lydia
    Reply

    You need to try Recycle-Studio on Tremont Street in Boston! It’s a quaint, trendy studio with great music and I am OBSESSED. I highly recommend taking a class with Aly Raymer or Meredith!

    • Sarah
      Reply

      Thanks Lydia for the suggestion! I have not been there yet, but am not a HUGE cycling fan… I will have to try it though because you are not the first person to rave about it!

  • Erin
    Reply

    I am obsessed with Soul Cycle. Its financially draining but totally worth it if you can afford to get addicted. I have been attending classes regularly for the past 6 months, prior to finding Soul Cycle I was strictly a runner and had taken an occasional spin class at a gym and was never impressed even though I knew they were great for burning calories I just couldn’t get into any of them. There are definitely some instructors that are better than others and their classes literally sell out within 60 seconds of going online mondays at noon. Some instructors gravitate toward different types of music…I suggest calling the studio and inquiring about what types of songs the instructors play if you’re into something specific. I tend to like hip hop for working out. The pushups and movements are difficult to stay on the rhythm with the first few times you go but I definitely notice definition in my shoulders, arms, and abdominals from the pushups and arm circuits. Try doubling up the weights if you’re stronger (sounds like you are) I use a total of 3 pounds in each hand and my arms burn the entire time. I suggest trying it again…I recommend Jenny and Kym for instructors but they sell out really fast. Both of them teach at Union Square. I agree it is way too hot sometimes but if you say something they will usually crank all the fans on or lower the temp a little before class starts…some freaky people like to do their cardio at high temps for unknown reasons to me!! I’m not sure about the scent you were smelling maybe it was detergent from the towel? the candles are grapefruit and i barely notice them so i guess if you are very sensitive you could always bring your own towel. I’m leaving NYC soon and I’m already depressed because I don’t think there will be much out there that compares with Soul!

  • Elizabeth
    Reply

    I just took my first Soul Cycle class EVER, and I actually loved it. But I did it up at the one in Scarsdale, where the studio is much smaller. There were probably 12 people total in my class. The instructor was very encouraging and specific to each of us, which I loved, and I can’t imagine being in such a big room. Another part of the small-room aspect was that the music was blasting all around too loud for me to hear my body complaining. My instructor was great too, so that could have been part. All in all, I’m hooked, which is very unfortunate for my bank account.

  • William Perreault
    Reply

    The most exciting thing about exercise is the results from safe effective modalities. The Fitness Industry is unregulated with no Management of safety compliance. Every day Contraindicated Movements (PhD qualified as unsafe and not beneficial) are instructed out of boredom and lack of confidence. Would you have your child perform an unsafe movement?
    I mean really, it’s not that hard. Simply step down from the bike.
    #take2stepsdowntoprotectlowerback
    For me, I’d rather plant my feet to create the “Foundation”(a great book by Dr Eric Goodman) and really get it.

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