I doubt anyone could miss the lycra phenomenon taking over the streets at crazy early hours in the last 10 years specifically all those MAMILS! I have even been drawn in myself (aka ‘All the gear and no idea’). And I’m sure we’ve all heard of, attempted or are addicted to spin classes – which when you explain it sounds completely absurd. “Come on lets go biking to nowhere in a sweaty dark room with loud techno beats and an instructor yelling at you. Fun!”
On a recent holiday to the US however I wanted to try out Soul Cycle. You probably think I’m mad exercising on my holiday but I really recommend it. Especially somewhere like the States where they are up for trying a lot of weird and wonderful classes. More ideas here.
From a love of exercise, branding and holistic well-being I was curious (and nosey) to find out how a brand of spin classes could have developed such a cult following. Many instructors have become minor celebs – John Mayer even had a fling with ‘Lauren’ from LA according to reports . There’s a clothing range (yes I made a small purchase) and I just missed Jake Gyllenhaal in the NYC West Village class by one day. Gutted!
So what is it that draws people (ok mostly young females in the 20-40 age bracket) to soulfully spin to their hearts content ?
I turn up eagerly early and for a start as with most customer experiences in the US, they are soooo friendly. And this is one country (& potentially the only) where my kiwi accent seems to benefit. “OMG I love your accent”. When you sign up for their introductory offer it’s $20. Sweet. I grab my free towel & spin shoes (imagine that Fitness First & Les Mills!), pick my bike position in the room and sign my life away. I then clamber inn the dark past dozens of the latest spin bikes to find my spot. After fannying about for some time and scoffing at the 2kg handweights hidden at the rear of the bike I hop on, clip in and observe the instructor stage where candles are a blazin’. Next I unsubtley watch the clientele pouring in. All athletic keen bean bubbly young lasses – interestingly very similar in NYC and LA. The assistants leave the room, its darkened even more (can just make out my hands).’, the music get louder and like a musician entering on stage the instructor arrives, the excitement lifts and the mantras begin…
If you’ve done spin before it’s not a massively different except for these key three things.
- The instructors don’t scream at you to GET MOVING! Instead they offer positive motivating language, reminding you to be grateful for your body’s abilities and encourage you to step up your energy levels and make it count.
- There’s a couple of pretty weird up, down and sideways ‘dancing on ya bike’ type moves which even after years of ballet and modern dance training I could not sync up with. In fact I felt a bit like a turkey with indigestion and I wondered how Jake got on with this move?
- The hand weights. Towards the end you do a little routine with hand weights. And while I had dismissed it at first my little arms did actually hurt and hey, I’ll try anything to eliminate bat wings.
Overall it was a really fun, inspiring experience. It was uplifting and I came out feeling puffed, positive and converted to this way of exercising. I’m impressed Soul Cycle and looking forward to a version reaching the Aussie shores soon.