My First Ride: Jani Green
April 28, 2016
I went to SoulCycle last night and I almost died.
I went because someone told me about a complimentary class for law students and as a future lawyer who spends all of her non-existent income on organic food, vacations and lipstick, “fancy free fitness” was all I needed to hear.
So, I put on my overpriced yoga pants, dabbed on lipstick that was bright enough to show but subtle enough to look like I didn’t just put on lipstick for a workout (because who does that?) and headed to SoulCycle COGA. As soon as I got to the studio, I heard loud music, saw a lot of people in bright leggings and felt this incredible energy pulsing through the air.
That is when fear first set in. The energy was so high in the room that I worried I wouldn’t be able to match it on the bike. This was the first of several moments when I wanted to run away.
I signed in and the front desk staff asked me for my shoe size before handing over a pair of SoulCycle shoes – which reminded me of renting shoes for bowling and slightly grossed me out. But, I was committed to seeing for myself what the exercise craze that has all the ‘Real Housewives’ losing their minds was all about.
I walked into a dark room and saw a ton of fancy bikes all pretty close together. In the center of the room was a slightly elevated stage and bike with a laptop/DJ station nearby. The stage was illuminated by candlelight. Fancy. Zen.
Then, our instructor Rachel walked in, a super-toned, sweet, sporty woman with a lot of long, blonde hair and a lot of energy. I could hear in her voice that she was going to try to kill me. She reminded me of the girl who was the star of my high school’s soccer team: a hot, sporty blonde with a raspy voice, strong enough to toss you over a balcony but too “chill” to ever really put her hands on you. Rachel did not let me down. She mounted the elevated stage and turned up the music.
Immediately, Rachel got the class moving. I was already behind the rest of the class because I had to have a staffer help me clip into my bike (nooo, I thought as she clipped me in, now I really can’t run away). I was stuck on a bike in a dark room full of SoulCycle enthusiasts with high, messy buns.
The next 45 minutes were a non-stop “cardio party,” as SOUL calls it. Confession: It took me until the middle of the class to even figure out how to change the resistance on my bike (LMAO) and I never figured out exactly how to multi-task by peddling and doing all the other things the instructor was shouting from her Britney Spears-style headset, but reader, I tried.
As I struggled, Rachel was extremely uplifting and positive. In between Demi Lovato and Rihanna tracks, she spoke to us about confidence, inner power and pushing through our self-doubt. She emphasized hard work and using the bike to peddle away our stress. She also screamed at us to stop settling and start recognizing that we deserve better. Rachel.
Raaaaachel, girl, YES. I loved it. If I had been able to breathe during class, I would have thanked her for the message.
While I felt emotionally stronger, I also came to a not-so-zen realization on the bike: I have NO rhythm. I could not locate the beat no matter how hard I tried. I must have looked like a jellyfish attached to a bike: no muscle, no rhythm. Just sweaty limbs flailing around.
Still, even with my lack of rhythm I got an INTENSE workout. When I finally figured out how to adjust my resistance, I increased it and peddled until my legs burned. There were so many times I wanted to climb off of my bike and run out of the room, but I couldn’t even figure out how to detach the shoes – actually, at the end of the workout I just took the shoes off and left them attached to the bike before wobbling back into the lobby.
I think Rachel almost killed me, but it was awesome. I finally understand the craze… and I’m going to go die again tomorrow.
A version of this post originally appeared on HealthGeenie.com.
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