You guys, for a long time I was too embarrassed to post about it, but whatever, no shame. (Except I am a little ashamed.) I tried Soulcycle, and, spoiler, I really liked it. I’ve gone back more than once. It is eating its way through my wallet and also my dignity.
The thing about it is, all the reasons that it’s super embarrassing are also all the reasons that it’s totally appealing. I don’t know. You have to live your life, even if that involves realizing you like boutique fitness classes.
First, it’s in the dark, which, I recognize sounds actively crazy. But having been to well-lit spin classes and all manner of other classes, and then to Soulcycle in the dark, I realized how much of my energy is spent being self-conscious and looking at myself in the mirror if possible. It’s very difficult to preen and/or adjust in the dark, so you just don’t. I mean, it’d be nice if I could just develop the badass DGAF attitude about what I look like when I exercise, but this is what I’m working with now.
Second, yeah, the instructors seem to all spout out with pseudo-inspirational phrases like, “If you knew what you could accomplish… it would blow your mind.” And, I know, it sounds nearly as bad as the Fifty Shades of Grey dialogue when you think about it just normally, but when you’re a little low on oxygen in a dark room, even inane stuff like that seems really inspirational. I have definitely wept on a bike. I don’t even want to go into the details of why (I was working through some personal stuff, obviously) because I feel like it might spoil it for anyone who wants to try.
Third, it feels a little bit ridiculous to clip into a bike that’s not even going anywhere. And it’s really intimidating for newbies like me who also happen to be balance-challenged. But it’s actually not that bad, you guys. Clip in by stepping into the pedal, and free yourself by twisting your heels out and toes in, like you are a femme fatale putting out a cigarette. After I got used to being attached to the bike, I started really liking it because it allows me to close my eyes and not feel like I might accidentally launch myself across the room or something.
Fourth, yeah, the music is loud like a club. Or, I don’t know, like clubs were three years ago, at least. I haven’t been out since mashups were still cool, so I have no idea what it’s like now. Despite being an old person who does not go dancing, I still find moving to a beat (or as close as I can get) like viscerally appealing, so, being told to bike to the beat really works for me and helps push me to keep a pace slightly out of my comfort zone.
Basically, I like that I can just walk reliably walk into a room where I can totally turn my brain off and just sweat and maybe weep a little if I feel like it. I feel awesome after class and super connected with all the strangers with whom I just sweat in the dark. It’s disgustingly expensive, and I sort of am afraid that one day I’ll run into someone I know there and we will have to acknowledge this disgusting habit. But I actually like it, and I think I will keep going roughly once a month.
So, I don’t know. I think Mary HK Choi from The Awl said it best, “If you’ve ever suspected you’d be into it, get over yourself and go.” And please pretend to not have seen me if you see me there.