SoulCycle was founded in 2006 by a pair of fitness-crazed friends who enjoyed biking and wanted to bring the experience to others in a controlled, safe environment. The company began in New York City with a handful of studios. Today, it has expanded to New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington DC and Northern and Southern California. SoulCycle has grown steadily over the past few years, with further expansion plans coming in 2015.
Today, around 20,000 SoulCycle enthusiasts frequent the studios to enjoy a 45-minute ride on a stationary bike. Riders spin their bikes to the beat of music for 35 minutes; the last 10 minutes of the ride incorporates upper-body workouts to the routine.
SoulCycle was voted one of the World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Fitness of 2013 by Fast Company magazine.
You don’t have to be a biking enthusiast or expert to have a good experience at SoulCycle. In fact, people of various ages and abilities are encouraged to participate and have an enjoyable time.
SoulCycle rides are quick but effective. The workout is tremendous, with most people burning more than 500 calories – an excellent result for 45 minutes of work! Very few people who have participated in the class report negative experiences. A participant could be a devoted fitness disciple or the more sedentary type – either way, the class will be enjoyable and doable.
SoulCycle biking goes above and beyond a traditional spin on the exercise bike. By incorporating weights into the routine, participants get a more thorough workout. And by biking to the rhythm of the music, varying movements and leg speeds are used, which work much of the body’s muscle groups. The instructors work well with people of all fitness levels, helping to make anyone feel comfortable.
The time commitment is fair, as the class itself is only 45 minutes long, perfect for busy professionals, students and parents. Classes are held at varying times, so SoulCycle classes are convenient for most schedules. Participants are advised to arrive 15 minutes early, and they must sign in at least four minutes prior to start time in order to secure a bike.
Participants may come once or may come dozens of times—it’s up to you and your schedule.
Simply put, SoulCycle requires a hefty financial commitment: $32.00 for each 45-minute bike ride. If you were to attend a few times a week for a month, you’d pay upwards of $300.00. This is much pricier than the other fitness programs we reviewed.
The SoulCycle studios are small and the company says they’re often packed to maximum capacity, so riders are often very close to each other during class. If you forget your water bottle, don’t look for the drinking fountain: you’ll have to pay $3.00 for water.
The company offers no diet or nutrition advice in conjunction with its programs. Also, participants cannot select personal trainers or customize their training programs. There are not currently any DVDs associated with SoulCycle. There are no additional benefits to classes such as mobile goal tracking or progress recording, and the company offers no online forums or other ways to get engaged online. The only way to get involved with the program is to get into a studio.
The SoulCycle website is sparse and lacks details about the classes and company at large. We didn’t find any information about how instructors are trained or certified, nor did we find any details about SoulCycle’s technique or fitness philosophies.