SOUL Transformation: How RAPHI MOREY Lost 98 Pounds
fter his wife encouraged him to try SoulCycle, RAPHI MOREY got hooked — and lost 98 pounds. He shares his incredible Soul Transformation.
My wife, Jenn, got a 10-pack of SoulCycle classes from her mom for a birthday present in 2011, right around when Soul Union Square opened. Back then, Jenn and I were only dating, and she asked me to come to a class with her. I was very resistant because at the time I was really overweight. I’ve always been heavy but after college, my weight spiraled out of control. I was working at Starbucks while going to graduate school, and I was drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes pretty much 24/7. I knew I wanted to lose weight but I figured that I would have to do what I did in high school and college — the old school running routine.
Jenn is very convincing, though, and so in August 2011, I went to my first SoulCycle class. It was with Danny Kopel, and it just like destroyed me. I was 290 pounds and struggling to stay on my feet. I stayed in the saddle most of the class, and at the end I could not even stretch because my feet hurt so much. After that one amazing class, I could not even climb the stairs! The following Saturday I tried it again — and I was in so much pain again that I stopped.
Fast-forward to April 2012. I was still just as overweight or maybe even more because I had stopped weighing myself. Jenn and I had just gotten engaged, and we had a long conversation about our future. I had to face the facts: If I didn’t get my weight under control, I was going to develop diabetes like my father or die at a young age. Sharing a life with someone is a responsibility, so I realized I had to get my act together. Even though we wanted to make a change, I felt helpless, but my wife inspired me.
We agreed to go back to SoulCycle, and my transformation took off from there. I made a commitment to change my life. I became a pescatarian, I got the My Fitness Pal app for my phone so I could calculate all my calories, and I start riding at Soul twice a week. I kind of threw myself into it, and the entire time SoulCycle was at the heart of everything. It provided me motivation and it was a really good influence on how to be healthy but also have fun.
Once I started my new routine, I dropped 40 pounds between April and June — that was from just doing SOUL, eating healthier and counting calories. After that, it was steady but slower. I was 244 pounds in August and the following June, I was down to 192. My wife and I live in Queens, so when SOUL Roslyn opened we started going from Day 1. In my opinion it is the best studio, in part because the staff is so amazing: Lauren, Taylor, Alex, Sam, Ashley and Andrea are incredible.
Now I ride five times a week. Having SoulCycle on my schedule every day has kept me focused and motivated. I am still hovering around 192, and my transformation has become more about toning. The weight is still coming off but I have lost 98 pounds in total. I am pushing to get to that 100 pound mark! I talked to my doctor and I am 12 pounds off my goal weight for my height. It feels so great, and I am at the point where I can accept the compliment for my weight loss success. My identity has changed and I live so much healthier.
I used to eat everything and anything that came across my path. When I was in grad school, I would do student teaching and then go to the supermarket and grab lunch: A mozzarella sandwich with tuna fish, a bag of chips and soda. Now I am much smarter about what I eat. I have fish every day — I truly think that salmon is the best friend of someone who wants to lose weight. An 8-ounce portion is about 320 calories with 40 grams of protein! When I snack, I have raw broccoli while my co-workers are eating Hot Pockets like I used to. The diet I have created gives me the energy to fuel me through my next class.
My go-to SOUL instructor is Julie Dermer. She is the most awesome person and her class is nuts. I always take her weekend Rooster classes, which are inspiring, motivating and full of the most eclectic music. After riding with her regularly, she put me on the instructor bike — and it was terrifying! But I just kept reminding myself to follow her advice — keep your hips back and weight in the core. It was one of the proudest moments in my life.
I also ride with Mark two times a week — he is a ball of energy and so much fun. And I take classes with Ayana, who is amazing. To sign up, I have an alarm on my phone. I log in a few minutes before noon and have multiple screens open. I’m a high school teacher so noon on Monday is right at the end of my lunch period. While I am booking bikes, students are filing into my classroom. I’m always like, “Take your seats” as I try to get Bike 11 — it’s a bit of a juggling act and it kicks off the period in an interesting way.
My wife has always been fit but she lost seven pounds through SoulCycle and now her arms are so toned. We love to ride together, and we try to do it twice a week. I keep trying to convince her to move to the front row. She is so proud of my weight loss, but there is one downside: We have all these beautiful wedding photos and I look like a different person in them. For our 10th anniversary, maybe we will get new pictures or renew our vows.
Once in class, Julie said, “Nothing worth doing in life is easy.” I really took that quote to heart, and it has inspired me not just in my Soul sprints but in my work and my weight loss journey. I feel a lot better about myself, and I am so grateful to SoulCycle for helping me change my life.