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SOUL INSPIRATION

What Inspires Andrew Stinger

After sharing his Soul Story with us in May, Andrew made the leap from a corporate career with a large tech company to SoulCycle Instructor in the fall. Now that he’s been leading in the pack back in the Bay Area, Andrew shares what inspires him on and off the bike...



MUSIC
Music has been a huge part of my life ever since my folks let me take piano lessons when I was little. I could listen to classical pieces like Faure’s “Pavane, Op. 50” on repeat for weeks at a time. I’ve been digging the aspirational, socially-conscious music Jason Mraz has been putting out lately, and I’ve really loved watching Andrew McMahon go from fronting one of my favorite pop punk bands in high school (Something Corporate) to his current projects with Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness.

That said, anything that gets my heart thumping or booty shaking inspires me to get out and WORK! One of my favorite sports memories is finishing my first half marathon while “Firework” by Katy Perry was blasting at the finish line. It was like the universe planned that moment for me to cheese out and sprint across the finish!

I find I play a lot of CHVRCHES in my class because I like their overall musical aesthetic, but I also love how they seem to effortlessly cover other musicians’ songs with their own, electric spin on them. Their covers of Janelle Monae’s “Tight Rope” and Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River” are two favorites.

BOOKS
I read a lot of Brene Brown during SoulCycle Instructor training. Rising Strong was amazing, especially after the days when my body felt wiped out and my brain was so full it could’ve exploded.

One of my all-time favorite books is The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. It’s a book I find myself giving away often to friends and loved ones. Though Lewis is probably best known as the Christian author of The Chronicles of Narnia, I think his writing is super engaging and applicable to folks of any faith background. 

In The Great Divorce, Lewis essentially lays out that our experiences of concepts like Heaven and Hell really connect to our conscious decisions: “Why do I feel a need to ‘get even’ in this issue?” “Can I let go of this thing that doesn’t serve me?” “Am I choosing to be upset about this instead of pursuing my own joy?” In typical C.S. Lewis fashion, he presents these questions through a fictional fantasy story with magical creatures and nods to the current events of his time.

I also believe we lost one of the great authors of our generation when E.L. Doctorow passed away in July. On more than one occasion, I’ve put down one of his novels and just said, “Wow.” If you’re looking for a jumping off point for Doctorow’s work, most folks are familiar with Ragtime, but The March and City of God were also impeccable.

PEOPLE
My parents are both some of the most amazing people I know. 

My mom is a two-time breast cancer survivor who goes so far out of her way to care for other people. She’s my biggest cheerleader, and won’t ever let me hang onto a bad attitude without coaching me to see the brighter side of life. Growing up, my dad put insane hours into his career to provide for our family without ever visibly complaining about it in front of my brother and I, and yet he still made it to almost all of my inconveniently scheduled cross country meets and band concerts. I’ve learned just about everything I know about work ethic, grace, duty, generosity and humility from them.

Outside of my family, I am so inspired every time I get to meet someone taking their first class at SoulCycle. I remember the trepidation associated with my first ride — I felt like I was going into the Hunger Games! When I encounter people taking the same positive risk, I get so pumped for them and by their example. As an instructor, one thing I’ve noticed from the podium is that no new rider ever quits. We do some pretty wild things on a bike at SoulCycle, and the dedication and openness to learning shown by new riders reminds me to continue being open along my own journey and to stay dedicated when new things feel difficult.

EXTRAS
I’m not saying I love reality television, but I do think it’s cool to live in a time where you can watch people do what they’re amazing at on TV. Whether it’s Top Chef, Project Runway, the various vocal/talent shows or even things like Ink Master, I get inspired watching other people excel!

Oh, and I can be inspired to do just about anything if there is a promise of gummy bears or snickerdoodle cookies at the end.

Catch classes with ANDREW at SoulCycle CastroPalo Alto and Union Street. Want to ride? Grab a series HERE and book a bike! 

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