Spinning in the 3rd Trimester + Thoughts on SoulCycle Back Bay

Exercising during pregnancy hasn’t been nearly as dreadful as I imagined. I actually still love it – mainly because I’ve reduced the intensity and frequency. I’ve been enjoying going to as many classes as I can because I know I won’t be able to once the little guy arrives. I mostly am going to yoga and spin classes these days.

Finally tried the #BKBY @soulcycle location with my friends from @drinkmaple. Loved staying hydrated with the maple water during class and earning 45 @wellcoin bucks for checking in but the class was “ehhh” to me. I think there has been too much build up around SC. It’s like that restaurant everyone has been raving about and you order the wrong dish. It really depends on the instructor. I find it lazy that two whole songs in a 45 min class had zero choreography – this also happened to me at the Chestnut Hill location so maybe it’s an SC thing!? Also, the hair whip…. I detest the hair whip. Got a solid sweaty workout. If it wasn’t “SoulCycle” I would probably have little to criticize but since it has a cult following, I feel like I should always be blown away. I have taken some amazing SoulCycle instructors by the way and loved their classes! Is the brand expanding too fast and can’t keep up with quality instructors? Is it our fault in Boston for having too many studios and not enough talent? Anyone else? Thoughts? #wellcoin #SoulCycle #healthyboston #makeyourmove @kohls #drinkmaple #littlefitbumpwatch #fitpregnancy #32weeks

A photo posted by Sarah Dussault (@sarahfit) on

A month ago, I went to a class at SoulCycle Back Bay and shared a picture with my less than stellar enthusiastic review. I didn’t love my instructor and wondered if SC had bitten off more than they could chew, expanding too quickly with not enough instructors who could really give the cult-worthy experience. They literally called me on my cell phone unannounced and wanted more feedback. As a result of our phone call, they gave me 5 classes to try other instructors.SoulCYle Back Bay

I’ve now used 4 of the 5, and have to admit that I still feel the same way as I did before. I gotta hand it to SoulCycle for a gorgeous facility and great branded apparel. Beyond that, my feelings begin to deteriorate for the Back Bay location. Below is shot of the lockers and my post workout snack. Love these Squarebars and the USB plugs in the lockers for cell phone charging during class.

Snack after class

Out of the 4 instructors I tried recently, most have you out of the saddle for 80% of the class. During one class, the first 5 of 6 songs were entirely out of the saddle. Pregnant or not, I personally hate this. I can’t go as fast out of the saddle and enjoy the occasional hill or sprinting sitting on my butt. Resistance is very low throughout every class. There is little choreography and no counting most of the time. You’re a fitness instructor, give me a count! I wondered if the instructors made up the choreography as they went along to be honest. Each song seemed to have very little thought put into it.The playlists were always good but no better than other good studio playlists in Boston in my opinion.

The speed commanded by the instructors was impossible for me to maintain. Too many times we were told to “double time” at a pace that most novice cyclists couldn’t keep. The “push ups” combined with extreme speed seemed unsafe and ridiculous in one instructor’s class – a very experienced spin instructor agreed with me on this point. While I was never called out – thanks to my belly probably – others were. Some people may like this, others may take offense. Be prepared if you go in the first 3 rows for this.

My favorite moment was when one of the instructors tried to share some spiritual motivation, “Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable,” she said in the middle randomly of some song without any other guru sayings before or after. Ummmmm… OK? What does that even mean in this context? Don’t be afraid of feeling like SoulCycle may harm me?

The arm portions of class were unpredictable. Some teachers taught challenging sequences and others were just too easy and a waste of a song. My bike one day had 1 lb weights so make sure you check under the saddle before class starts.

I just felt like I was never in the seat and there was a lack of motivation from the instructors to push myself with resistance. It felt more like their opportunity to show off their flat stomachs, hair whips, quick feet or taste in music.

SoulCycle Back Bay, just give me some time in the saddle, resistance above a 7 on a scale of 1-10 and a beat that I can actually maintain and I’ll be happy! If you are looking for constructive criticism, slow down your expansion, focus on training your instructors and making sure they are prepared to teach a safe and effective class.

I have loved most of my SC classes at other locations. It really depends on the instructor and unfortunately I do not love the Massachusetts based instructors. I’ve tried 5 total and will give one more a shot and share my feelings here if they are changed. I am obviously not in the majority. Most of the classes are nearly sold out! I wonder if this is because of their name brand recognition or if people have tried other studios in Boston and prefer the SoulCycle way to the others?

Would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below.

If you want to go and try it out, go in the back couple rows. You can do your own thing and not feel like an asshole. It’s hot and you get sweaty, the times are good for people that like non-rush hour classes which is me but I rarely leave feeling any sort of exercise endorphins, just frustration.

Recycle studio

I’ve been loving classes instead at Recycle Studio. Yes, I’m friends with the owner and many of the instructors but I pay for my classes and do love them, I wouldn’t pay for the classes otherwise. There is always a mix of sprints with low resistance, climbs with slow beats, fun choreography and the arms section always gets me. Unlike SC, I’m not worried about teachers as every one has been amazing including their newest additions.

I love spinning while pregnant. Honestly, I prefer it to walking. It’s easy to modify the workout to keep my heart rate lower. Sometimes my booty feels uncomfortable during the first song, but it goes away quickly. If you are a runner like me and have stopped due to hip pain and having to pee, try spinning but make sure you are looking in the right place. Studios and instructors are all different as you read in this post.

Prenatal Yoga in Boston?

As for yoga, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about prenatal yoga in the city. Sadly there is not much in Boston proper. I would suggest educating yourself on modifications for your trimester and taking your regular favorite classes. You won’t be able to do everything but you will be able to do most. Teachers can give modifications but still, the more you know the better. I have a video coming out soon featuring many of them.

I love Back Bay Yoga and often take advantage of their $5 and $10 classes. Back Bay Yoga was recently bought by Yoga Works but they still have the same schedule and instructors. In fact, many of the instructors now have benefits through the studio and former owner Lynn seems to be as happy as can be without the strings attached to being a boss lady. I’m happy that this transition appears to be a good thing for everyone.

There are prenatal yoga classes in Coolidge Corner, Jamaica Plain and more. I’ve been to the Coolidge Corner location and would recommend the Wednesday night and Saturday morning classes for people who want to “flow.” If you just want to meet other moms and get out of the house, the other prenatal yoga classes will work for you as well. Personally, I found them boring and more of a meeting with a couple stretches than any yoga.

You can also do prenatal yoga DVD’s like I did before announcing my pregnancy.

I don’t want to call out any teachers above from SoulCycle publicly. If you know me or see me, I’d be happy to chat in person but just don’t see the point in naming them here.

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