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How James L. Preps For His Classes

ow do instructors prepare to lead the pack? Boston rockstar JAMES LEWIS reveals the routine he relies on before dropping the beat at his signature cardio parties…

So… what’s the first thing you do when you’re preparing to lead a class?
The way I prepare for class is to NOT prepare for class. I've learned the more I prepare, the more robotic I become in class and people can feel and see that. I want to leave room for as much spontaneity and natural occurrences as possible! The magic is in the mistakes and the realness is in the on-the-fly choreography. Showing up with no plan but the idea to have fun and work out and spread joy is the only way I prepare....

That’s amazing. Do you have any routine when you’re not preparing?
I wake up, and I decide if I have enough time or energy to go to the gym or not. From there, I will run to the gym, or I will stay home and tend to myself and my chores. Yes… chores. We all got 'em! If I have time I will find some time to eat.

What do you eat or drink?
I snack a lot — small meals! My schedule is so crazy so I reserve all of my larger meals for later in the day when classes are done so I have time to digest. I love Juice Press; I'm always there. Holla at me Fountain of Youth! I like to drink a lot of smoothies and protein-rich liquids such as IsoPure. It’s the best way to get the most in your body yet not feel as weighed down… They keep me going. Anything that will keep me fueled in the least time but also keep me light for when I am on the bike!

How do you unwind after class?
I go home and try to give myself, back to myself. That means my phone literally goes under a cushion in my sofa. I do not think about work or SoulCycle once I'm home. The first thing that happens when I get home is I say "Alexa, turn on piano music!" and my apartment fills with relaxing music. I will then pet my cat, order food and play video games or read. I know people probably think I am at home blasting really loud party music with a Red Bull in hand but I try to reserve all that type of energy for SoulCycle. So when I’m home, I am recovering and resting to get ready for the next cardio party. I will also decide if I want to go the gym or not. I always feel that once I've had enough me-time, then I can get back in the room and give it all away! And then that cycle just continues! This is how I get in the zoneee...

How early do you make your playlist?
Playlists literally just happen for me. I don’t touch my computer outside of the SOUL studio, and sometimes I will hear a song or be thinking of a song and will download it minutes before class — from there I choose songs to cradle that song and before you know it I have a new playlist.

Do you make any last-minute changes?
Sometimes! Even during class depending on what the crowd needs to amp their energy and focus.

Do you ever switch things up in your before-class routine?
No. If I do feel off.

What do you think about on the way to class?
I think about what’s going on in my riders’ world, and also what’s going on in my world — maybe it’s a conversation with my mom or dad or brother I just had before I came in. I see if I can bridge the gap in someway. Most importantly I let go. From there the magic happens...

Do your past classes affect how you teach the next ones?
I am always trying to one-up myself. Every day is a new opportunity to grow and evolve. I literally love what I am doing. There's no life like the one we are living - dream big! See you on a bike!

Catch classes with JAMES L. at Back Bay, Beacon Hill and Chestnut Hill. Want to ride? Grab a series HERE and book a bike!
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