Spinning bike sessions are notorious for their macho, driven, no gain no pain “sweatouts.” Get Tough is the message of these spinning workouts filled with blaring techno music and yelling instructors.
However, Soul Cycle has changed all that. Mind you, it is still a tough, fat-burning, highly efficient cardio routine, but it is delivered with a deeply spiritual and personal message : Get on a journey and find your soul.
That’s because in addition to spinning, core and weight exercises, this new form of cycling incorporates yoga breathing, candlelight meditation, introspection and communal bonding into a total spinning and soul session.
The result is a joyful, perhaps even ecstatic mind, body and spirit experience that can be compelling, if not addictive. Celebrities like Brooke Shields and Chelsea Clinton have been unabashedly upfront about their support of soul cycling. Demand is so strong in New York City clients have to sign up for classes weeks in advance.
What accounts for Soul Cycle’s success?
It is More Than a Fat-burning Workout
Soul Cycle is the brain child of talent agent Julie Rice and real estate professional Elizabeth Cutler who were both looking for some type of cardio exercise “they could fall in love with.” According to their website,soul-cycle.com, there were many exercise routines that burned calories and pumped up the heart rate, but none made “their hearts sing.”
So they decided to create a mind-body experience that would integrate upper body and core workouts, cardio routines with soul coaching. Little did they realize that they had tapped into a market ready for the opportunity to take spinning workouts to the next level.
Spinning Bike and Soul Workouts Tone the Body
While the word “soul” might suggest something soft, gentle and languid, such is not the case with Soul Cycle. In fact, a 45 minute session is a hard cardio workout that burns between 500-800 calories. That’s because your legs are in constant motion with speed work and intervals toning legs, calves and shaping butts.
Moreover, most of the movement done on these spinning bike sessions are initiated from the core to strengthen the core. For example, leaning workouts on the bike, that is, leaning to the right and left during episodes of cycling momentum firm up the core and shape the arms. Use of resistance bands and hand weights while cycling also tones up the arms and core.
Perhaps the most attractive feature of these spinning bike sessions is the release of endorphins ushering in a sense of euphoria much like the Runner’s High. This sense of euphoria accounts for the high return rate of clients willing to fork out at least $160 a week for five spinning workouts.
Spinning Bike Soul Workouts Inspire Joy, Confidence and Purpose
Finding your soul through exercise is a step away from finding your soul through a purpose in life. In her article, “Movement as Medicine: Spinning and the Self-Care Movement,” Dr. Qanta Ahmed claims that soul cycling “engages body and brain in intense sessions” that end with the discovery of “one’s inner strength.”
If movement is medicine, she states, then American Medicine woefully neglects this concept in its approach to medical care. Instead of movement, American medical professionals espouse pharmaceutical and surgical solutions for disease, thus denying the patient an opportunity to heal himself or herself through lifestyle changes and self care.This situation is in direct contrast to her spinning workouts where she is told constantly,”You are stronger than you think.”
In another article,”Soul Cycle: Breathe, Believe, Let the Journey Begin,” Dr. Ahmed comments on the effect produced by a steady stream of mantras booming across a room of spinners. The mantra, “I can, I will, I am, I do” is replaced several minutes later by another : “There is nothing standing between you and your goal.” And this too is replaced by another: “If you really had to, you could.”
The entire room of spinners becomes infused with the energy of these mantras, in fact, becoming one:”Our legs are one, our minds are one, our limits are none.”
It is no wonder Dr. Ahmed claims that by the end of the 45 minute spinning workout she feels completely rejuvenated and inspired. The dynamics of Soul Cycle take you beyond the body to an inner spiritual reserve that encourages you to become the best that you can be. It becomes a form of deep play and spirituality.
When cycling becomes a spiritual affirmation of your potential, you leave your spinning workouts knowing that the skies have no limits.