(English) Do Not Sell Your Soul to SoulCycle
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I was recently asked what I thought of the latest pop fitness fad in the US called Soul Cycle, made ever more popular by the clamour of celebrities who grace their bright yellow-themed studios to take a “soul journey”. Fortunately it has not moved into Europe yet, so I had to go online and look it up. Now it may have been the overuse of yellow, a colour which triggers emotions in me ranging from mild disturbance to unexplicable rage, or the shining happy Soul converts’ “testimonials” inviting you to join their cult, I mean, “tribe”, or maybe it was the scantily clad, tanned, skinny blondes posing their booty and puckering their lips for selfies under SoulCycle hashtags across social media, but the whole thing raised my cackles. What makes it all so bizarre and ridiculous, is that none of it has anything to do with actual cycling! Call it anything else you like, but to call it “cycling” is like comparing a McDonald burger to a Michellin starred meal.
On their official homepage they describe a SoulCycle ride as “indoor cycling re-invented. With inspirational coaching, rockstar music, and a full body workout (added hand weights and core work!), this 45-minute class will transform the way you look and feel.” I watched a couple youtube videos demonstrating various signature moves used by the lean, enthusiastic instructors. As a cyclist, the first thing that struck me was how very damaging some of those moves could potentially be, with their jerky up and down, side to side movements posing a serious risk of knee and back injury.
Set in a dark room to pounding music, the price of sweating through one 45-minute dance aerobic spin class comes to 34$. In case I was unclear, that is per class, not a monthly subscription. Add to that number the 3$ shoe rental, and a 3$ bottle of water, you’re looking at 40$ a class. Supposing you take 8 classes a month, you will spend upwards of 300$ to be part of the Soul cult, I mean, tribe, for a total of 6 hours, or 50$ an hour. That is of course if you can get into a class. You may have to sit on a waiting list. Yes, they really are that popular. In case you haven’t dished out enough for your spiritual and physical rejuvenation, there is plenty of merchandise on sale so you can wear your Soul wherever you go. There are also neat little tips on sweat proof make up and post workout hair so you can, you know, look like you haven’t worked out while working out. That was about where they lost me completely.
Here is a crazy thought: buy a 300$ bicycle and go for a one hour ride every day. When you need to take a respite from the world and embark on a “soul journey”, clip into a bicycle, a real one, and pedal. Up hills, down hills, punish your muscles, sweat, ride into a headwind, ride with music or in silence, ride with a giant smile because you feel alive, you feel at peace, you feel the stress of life wash away. It is you and the road. It is freedom. And best of all, it is free.
agosto 18, 2016 @ 19:56
Oh I love it !! So fantastic … Its so simple .. Here is my take on this if I may.
So in its simplest form we all want to belong to something ..family, church, club whatever … We are social animals to a more or less extent.
This has nothing to do with getting fit or healthy.. its about belonging to something, That is all it is ..
You want to get fit and healthy ? Hey send me 100$ a month and I will give you a sure way to do it .. if it does not work and you have followed my instructions to the letter .. I am even so confident it will work that I will give you 150$ back ! ..
You get you personalized T shirt, personalized mug, a welcome letter personally signed by me .. and a daily text message giving you inspirational ‘pick me up messages to boost your health and vitality’. Now you ‘belong’ to something .. is that not fantastic ! … (and between you and me .. what will I tell every hapless member who sign up .. well … just eat 2000 Kcal a day and cycle 50km 5 times a week .. so you are dripping in your own sweat …
Now if that does not get you to lose weight .. well you defy the law nature…. And to all them who say .. oh I cannot lose weight I have tried everything … I will say .. look at yourself in the mirror and say … I have never seen a picture or a fat person in Belsen – Belsen …
Ultimately .. I think anyone who does join a ‘club’ like Soul Cycle does not want to be ‘free’ ….. as if they did .. they would just buy a bike and cycle the open road and feel the nature and wind and the open road … and keep the 100$ for a nice meal along the way … 🙂 … but hey … if they are happy spending that money on Soul Cycle .. well, let them … it a free world .. what floats your boat .. well it sure as hell does not float min !
Now I am going cycling …. 🙂 … Blue skies and Black Tarmac …
agosto 19, 2016 @ 14:42
Well, you out and said it in words which I merely implied. 😉 Could not agree more. Humans have a fundamental need to belong to a group. We evolved as herd animals.
agosto 18, 2016 @ 22:41
SoulCycle? Just another gimmick and quick money grab. I prefer to make my fat cry by sweating it off riding my own bikes.
Today is going to be 34C and would I prefer to be inside an air conditioned studio with a bunch of other sweaty people with no scenery, no wind in my helmet….? No. I’ll be on my bike commuting home, as I did getting here this morning.
Also, minions are yellow – maybe they’re just minions following the crowd? I prefer to be my own leader.
My .02 for whatever that’s worth.
agosto 19, 2016 @ 12:31
I would bet that most of these indoor cycling venues are located in large cities where there is no room to store your own bike, too congested to ride safely (for those of us who are not practiced cyclists) and to ride to anywhere close to nature is an hour’s ride in itself. I do not go to Soul Cycle myself often because I do not appreciate the ‘choreography’ and the arm weight business is a waste of time. But when I cannot get into a spin class at my gym, I have gone and ignored what I do not want and take what I need, which is getting a ride on a bike. Say what you will but I think it’s better to have more people working out than less and if it takes selling them faux spirituality or just an opportunity to have access to bike where is the harm in that? You are right it is not cycling it is spinning, spinning in place. You are not meant to go anywhere but hopefully you can get out of yourself.
agosto 19, 2016 @ 14:39
I have many friends in large cities who cycle, including NY and LA. I have cycled in both cities, there are plenty of large parks and it is not that hard to find places to cycle. If you want to, you will. I myself learned to cycle in Napoli and have ridden through some of the most unfriendly cities for cycling like Istanbul and Mumbai. I have nothing against spinning classes, this is not a post about spinning. This is a post specifically about the SoulCycle franchise, which I strongly disagree with in both its actual exercises which are potentially harmful to the ignorant person just there to work out, and the price which defies belief. Any gym will give you access to a bike, you don’t need to join a club to do it. If you want to go spin in a gym, great, go for it. If you want to go to a spin class because you can’t motivate yourself alone, great too. If that was unclear in the post, I apologise.
agosto 19, 2016 @ 21:51
Hai ragione Juliana, sono per questo drogato di libertà. Non ho mai fatto uso di droghe perché non ne Ho bisogno, le mie montagne, il vento, il Sole, il verde dell’erba dopo la pioggia, l’arcobaleno, valgono di più di qualsiasi altra droga. Un saluto da Roberto, In viaggio verso Roma sulla via Francigena con la bici. Ps: Sto leggendo il tuo libro… Non so come tu abbia fatto, Ma lo hai fatto! Hai il mio rispetto e la mia ammirazione.
ottobre 16, 2016 @ 15:20
I have been dealing with steroids for an Ulcerative Colitis flare that knocks me bacl evert few years. They are making me crazy anxious and needing to ride or walk. I needed to read this this morning! Going out now! –St.Louis, MO
marzo 26, 2017 @ 08:35
Cycling is many things, including spiritual (joins us together as individuals), mass hysteria’s always troubling, guessing that left a little while longer spin cycle will be vengefully over run by the next fad.