Fitness Dossier, Vol. 3: SoulCycle
Welcome to the third installment of our new series, Fitness Dossier: an endorphin-addled exploration of all those super-chicly branded, sometimes quizzically named boutique fitness haute spots around town. Some you’ve heard tons about and others might not be on your radar yet, so we’re sweating it out for you and getting the scoop from the talents behind these hip perspiration palaces. This week, we’re tapping it back at SoulCycle, which at this point, you’re bound to have tried at least once (or gotten hooked years ago, perhaps). The indoor cycling phenom opened on the Upper West Side in 2006, long before boutique fitness joints were as ubiquitous as Starbucks in chic NYC ‘hoods. Meet senior master instructor Laurie Cole, who’s been with SoulCycle since its very first year—and whose classes truly sell out in minutes (literally…). Ready to ride?
SoulCycle in three words: Fun, sexy, community.
Before SoulCycle… I had been teaching indoor cycling for six years while living in Los Angeles, while also working as an actress.
If SoulCycle was a fashion house, it would be… This one is easy! Alexander McQueen: sexy and mysterious.
Typical threads spotted in class: Mutli-colored tights are very popular right now! My riders are wearing bright colors—we’re all ready to move out of the darkness of winter. Our current SoulCycle collection has a lot of purple in it. Our riders love wearing pieces in and out of class from our collections, which launch twice a month. It’s a way they show they’re part of the Soul community—they’re proud of it.
Pre- and post-workout style M.O.: Well, lately, before class they’re covered head to toe in their Canada Goose or Moncler parkas! I also see a lot of Monroe-branded baggy sweats and drop-crotch pants from Bandier.
How much SoulCycle gear in your closet? Is this a loaded question?! It’s not just in my closet—it’s above my closet and under my bed in pull out drawers and coming out my ears! I have every single collection since 2006.
Chic regulars: We never ride and tell! But, I have a lot of personal friends in the fashion industry who have been riding with me for years, including Karolina Kurkova, Christy Turlington, and Hilary Rhoda. In terms of editors, my longest and closest client by far is Linda Wells, editor-in-chief of Allure.
Latest class additions: Once our TriBeCa studio reopened, we were able to bring back our signature Soul Bands class, which is a cult favorite for working different muscle groups on the soul bike. We are also set to open new studios across NYC and the country, including Montauk and Chicago, plus more locations in Boston, D.C., and L.A.
Ideal après-class snack: I always have a Ginger Fire Ball from Juice Press.
Biggest misconception about SoulCycle: That it’s a cult…it’s really just a community of like-minded individuals who have become excited about staying fit and healthy.
Advice for a first-timer: Always introduce yourself to the instructor before class and let them show you your proper bike set-up and bike positions.
Major mistakes new SoulCyclers make: New riders tend to lean on the handlebars, instead of engaging their core.
Earliest fitness memory, ever: Gymnastics class at age five.
Song currently on loop: “Lean On” by Major Lazer and DJ Snake. Play it now and you’ll have it on repeat at your desk, I swear!
Tricks for making a killer playlist: Gosh, I can’t really give away my secrets, but what I can tell you is that connecting to the playlist and the class is vital. If I’m not “feeling it”, the class can read the disconnect, so my job is to create seamless music transitions and arcs.
Standout themed rides: Some of my faves include the Led Zeppelin-themed ride I do every year, and my St. Pattys day ride, which is just a license to play as much U2 as i want.
Go-to SoulCycle instructor to ride with: Janet Fitzgerald has long been my go-to on my day off, if I need a fix of being a student. But, if I have any fuel left in my tank, I really love taking class with our newest teachers and watching their growth.
Teaching vs. riding: In so many ways, being the teacher is just being a really good student. You have to pay attention, you have to be willing, and you have to participate. Obviously, the instructor is calling the cues and thinking about all that goes into the class, whereas the student can focus on themselves. As teacher or student, any good class will leave you feeling equal parts exhilarated and exhausted.
Go-to workouts beyond SoulCycle: I do Bikram twice a week at Bikram Lower East Side, and I cross-train with a personal trainer at S10 Training in TriBeCa.
Classes clocked weekly: I teach 15 classes per week.
Location frequented most: I live across the street from our TriBeCa studio so that’s the most like home—it’s where I teach the most classes.
SoulCycle’s draw for the fashion set: Maybe we represent a sanctuary of calm in their crazy, fast paced lives. At SoulCycle, we create an environment where clients feel welcomed and greatly appreciated, which can be a breath of fresh air to the competitive nature of fashion.
PART II: The Daily weighs in…
Location and logistics: There are currently 13 locations in NYC, scattered from the FiDi to UES in Manhattan and across the river, there are outposts in Williamsburg and, as of tomorrow, Brooklyn Heights. (Plus, locations in places like L.A., Boston, San Francisco, D.C., and Connecticut.) Snag your favorite class at Soul-Cycle.com on Mondays at noon for the following week. Cancel by 5 p.m. the day prior to class.
What you’ll shell out: $34 for a single class ($20 for a first-time rider); five classes for $165, to be used within a month and a half; 10 classes for $320, to be used within three months; 20 classes for $600, to be used within nine months; 30 classes for $850, to be used within a year; or, for the real diehards, a “SuperSoul” package will get you 50 classes for $3,500, which includes early signups, priority on waitlists, and “concierge service”.
Stroll-right-into-a-meeting or absolutely-shower-necessitating? Yeah, you won’t want to do much besides a quick grocery run or Duane Reade pitstop sans shower after a SoulCycle class. Translation: It’s extremely sweaty, which is a great thing. Also great? The stocked, clean, serene shower/bathroom setups. Some locations have very cramped layouts, making for a bit of a stressful pre-work or before-dinner scramble to get ready (Soho and Union Square feel particularly tight). The W. 27th Street and Noho locations have especially spacious digs, conducive to comfortably showering and changing.
It’s worth it if… You’ve tried spin classes and want something that crams more in, including arms and abs work (all on the bike). Equally worth a shot if you’re never done indoor cycling of any sort and love the idea of a high-energy group class where you’ll sweat boatloads. If music is pretty make-or-break for your exercise experience, there’s probably a SoulCycle instructor who blasts your jams. [Ed. Note: Shout-out to Sunny and her incredible, trap-tinged playlists, and Charlee’s eclectic and always-excellent picks.] Bonus: the candles and (very) dark lighting scheme make for a pretty soothing vibe—this is underscored by the mantra-type words of wisdom some teachers dispense at tough moments during class.
Best tidbits from Rate Your Burn (aka Yelp for the fitness set):
“I’ve been riding at SoulCycle for about 5 years and have made it a point to ride with many of the instructors (25+), and there is no one better than Laurie Cole. She’s my go-to, and now I ride with her 4+ times a week, even though I stress out every monday at noon to get bikes in her class.”—Burner13027
Stevie’s class is exactly what this snow storm needed for a major kick in the ass, get back to life, motivation!…The class was challenging and for the first time in months I ran out sans coat and red in the face.” –chillimama
Charlee is a rockstar. Her class is a complete and utter gift from the Spin Gods. Everything is unbelievable: energy, playlist, choreography, planning, tempo.”—spinning_newbie
SoulCycle’s Tribeca location