A Little Soul To Start My Day

Last night I wanted to do something involving sweat. But my legs felt like they had been filled with lead and beaten with several sticks, and I was sugar crashing hard.

So instead of spinning or yoga-ing or something along those lines, I decided to sit on my couch and eat candy.

Though, in between handfuls of these (yes, they make them at Christmas-time now, not just Easter!), I was like, “Hey Ali, how are those New Year’s Resolutions coming along?”

One of my 2011 goals was to try out spin classes at Flywheel and SoulCycle, both of which are boutique cycling studios with crazy cult-like followings and hyper-enthusiastic instructors. I went to Flywheel over the summer, but as of December 22, I still hadn’t made my way into a Soul studio.

Silly, really, since SoulCycle is a 2-minute walk from my apartment.

So I called up Brian and was like, “Hey man, wanna take a spin class at SoulCycle tomorrow morning? It’s at 6:15.” He was all, “Yup, I do. Sign me up. Please. And thank you.”

He’s very polite.

And so I signed us both up.

Check that out: a fancy little confirmation email

Brian and I were up way before the sun this morning to sweat out a cookie or two.

This is SoulCycle in the dark. But look! It's like a beacon of light on the othewise dark Upper East Side!

I was a little nervous since I had never been to SoulCycle before. I’ve been taking spin classes since college, but was afraid I’d be the new kid who got left in the imaginary dust.

Turns out, I kept up just fine.

Brian and I signed in and I got hooked up with a pair of fancy spin shoes. He had to be a show off and was like, “Oh hey, I have my own special clip shoes, no big deal, I’m basically Enrique Iglesias, good morning.”

We were there at 6:00 for a 6:15 class so we had lots of time to check out the studio (we were the first people there — that’s kind of my style) and buy some $2 bottles of SmartWater.

Two thumbs up for spinning!

The studio was nice — there were tons of bikes and everything was delightfully clean and fresh-seeming. I liked being the first class of the day. No sweaty bikes or smelly rooms!

So I set up my bike, and the nice front desk man came by and was like, “Do you guys need help with set-up or anything?”

Of course I was like, “Nah man, we’ve bone spun before, we’ve got this. Thank you, though!”

And as soon as he walked away, I was like, “Brian, help me clip in! I have no idea how to do it.” I kicked my toes around attempting to get the shoes into the clips, and Brian kept being like, “No, not like that…no…listen…stop doing that with your feet…OK, watch me…not like that…stop…”

Eventually my feet were somehow locked in and I was ready to ride.

These were our bikes: 30 and 31

I got the impression that every bike is a “good bike.” The instructor is on an elevated platform so everyone gets a good view. That comes especially in handy if your instructor is pretty, which ours (Nicholas) was. He definitely seemed excited to be teaching at “the crack of dawn,” as he called it, and that energy rubbed off on me big-time. I didn’t feel tired or sleepy or sugar crashy. I felt awesome.

Nicholas had great music — lots of remixes of popular songs, and it’s clear he has a thing for Britney, so we have that in common — and he mentioned early on that he’s a dancer, which would explain all the crazy bike choreography he threw at us.

I broke a sweat within the first six seconds of class, and was loving bouncing around on the bike. We did lots of arm stuff, including a little weights session toward the end of class.

I’ll admit that because of the word “Soul” in SoulCycle, I expected this to be a yoga-esque experience, and I worried that we’d get lectures about pixie dust and om-ing and being one with our inner whatevers.


Not the case at all.

When we were starting out, Nicholas was sincere but light-hearted. He told us to forget about the fact that we weren’t done Christmas shopping and leave all that crap out the door. We were there to spin, and we spun like maniacs.

The clip-in shoes made a huge difference for me. I was able to pedal so much faster, and since I spin often I would consider investing in a pair of my own shoes, but I really don’t want to carry around two pairs of shoes to the gym every day. That’s annoying.

The class went by really quickly and I appreciated that there wasn’t a clock in the room. I wasn’t focused on how much time we had left. I was just listening to the rhythm and making sure I was keeping up. It was a challenging 45 minutes, that’s for sure, but I’m not the only one who thought so: As people were leaving the class, they all commented about how that particular class was “really hard.”

Sweaty & happy — just the way every day should start. Also blurry, but blame Photographer Brian for that I guess.

I would love to make SoulCycle a regular part of my weekly sweat routine, but at $32 a class ($20 for first-timers), that’s a great joke, because I am not wealthy. How tragic.

SoulCycle, thanks for a kickass start to the day.

And Brian, thanks for sweating alongside me and not judging me (right?) when I couldn’t un-clip my pedals as everyone else was halfway done the cool-down stretching routine and I kind of panicked because I thought I was going to be stuck on that bike forever. I’ll learn eventually.

Now it’s time to put in some hours at the office before I celebrate Christmas with Brian tonight.

This is our tree! And our stockings!

I’m pretty pumped about giving him his present, and even more pumped that he “wants to cook a good dinner for us.” I have generously offered to taste-test everything. ‘Tis the season for giving, right?

Have a wonderful Friday, everyone! Travel safely if you’re headed somewhere for the holidays, and let’s talk soon.



34 Responses

  1. those Cadbury eggs will be the death of me…the height of happiness for my tongue/tummy. They are amazing on every level.

  2. Yup, I’m with you on the first class of the day – the room, yoga studio etc is clean. Plus I like to get my workouts out of the way before everything else e.g. work comes “crashing” in. Hope you guys are having a blessed Xmas.


  3. Sounds like a great class! I’ve only taken one spinning class and loved it. I want to try SoulCycle and Flywheel, but like you said, they’re so darn expensive. I just can’t afford that. Even though the gym isn’t cheap either, it’s still a LOT cheaper than that.

    I absolutely love your tree and stockings. So cool that you have a fireplace in your apartment! So rare here! Merry Christmas!

  4. I have to say that I envy you New Yorkers, who I’m guessing, get about the best there is out there when it comes to classes. I went to a spin class the other day and do you know what the instructor played? Elvira. I kid you not.

    Happy holidays!

  5. I’ve never been to SoulCycle, but pretty sure it’d crush me. I’m terribly uncoordinated and that’s why I stick to running. Your Christmas tree is soooo adorable, and I can’t wait to hear your exchanged Christmas presents! Have a Merry Christmas and safe trip home 🙂

  6. Spinning with clip-in spin shoes is awesome, but I also had that embarrassing moment when I couldn’t get them cliped out after my first spinning class. I guess everyone had this moment.

  7. sounds like an awesome way to kick off the holidays! sweat session! I agree, clip in shoes make a huge difference! 32 bucks a class? yikes!! that is steep. Would be hard for me to justify too! Merry Christmas Ali!!

  8. I love spinning too! Don’t worry about the not being able to clip out – that’s not as bad as realizing halfway through class that you didn’t secure the handles well enough and whoosh they fall down. I think unclipping is the better of the two embarrassments!

  9. I have never tried spinning before but I really want to. I wish my college offered classes. Have fun exchanging gifts with Brian. Giving my boyfriend his Christmas gifts always makes me so happy and excited!

  10. You have me thinking I need to look into what I wanted to do in 2011 and make sure I’ve checked the boxes. 🙂 LOVE your Christmas tree & stockings! Merry Christmas! Now I better go eat some cookies before my run – they’re great fuel, right?

  11. Spin shoes make a HUGE difference!! You get such a better workout. I suggest investing in some if you find them on sale. The 2 shoe thing isn’t that hard to get used to once you get used to it. Sometimes, I don’t even bring my sneakers.

  12. I’ve been thinking of taking a soul cycle class for a while. My gym offers spin classes and I go regularly but the soul cycle concept sounds great. Out of curiosity, do you have any idea how many calories are burned in the class?

    1. I’m not sure — I’m guessing it depends largely on your weight and how much effort you put forth, but I think I’ve read a few times that you burn about 500 calories in a 45-50 minute class.

  13. as a spinning newbie…i’ll probably wait AT LEAST a year before trying a place that locks my feet in 🙂
    and zomggg i discovered the cadbury christmas balls last year and life hasnt been the same since.

  14. Your morning was way more productive than my “sleep in until 8:45 hungover from last night’s Christmas party”. Though I did get some sprints in to the shower and back to my room. I may have set the world record for cobbling together a work outfit without contacts in.

    Safe flight tomorrow!

  15. I would love to take a SoulCycle class. Maybe its what I need to make me love spinning because, sadly, I don’t. I also can’t wait to see what Brian got you for Christmas.. because I’m nosy like that!

    Have the best Christmas in NH. I hope it’s white because ours in Boston might not be =(

    xo Marie
    Chocolate & Wine

  16. I haven’t been spinning in forever, but I’m going to SoulCycle on Monday and I’m pumped! I have no doubt I will not have the slightest clue what to do with the shoes though

  17. I haven’t been to a spin class in a few years. I used to love them in high school. You may have just motivated me to try it out again! Why not right? I hear they are beyond amazing for your running endurance.

  18. That sounds like so much fun! I should go to spinning more. I always really enjoy it, but I can never get my butt out of my dorm at 6:45 to go to classes. (Your 6:00 a.m. is more impressive, but 6:45 is early for a college kid!)
    Have a fabulous Christmas!

  19. I can never get out of clip-in spin bikes either! The first (and only) time I tried soulcycle, I had to take my feet out of my shoes and yank them out with my hands. In front of everyone from my office. Good times.

  20. Clip-in spin shoes make ALL the difference in the world, don’t they? You can pedal harder and stronger and you feel more in control – at least that’s what I love about them…y’know, once you figure out how to clip in, haha.

    ps. my husband LOVES those candies too and literally arm pumped when I brought home a bag last week. Too bad they seem to be sold out EVERYWHERE I go, I wanted to get him some more…just to see the arm pump one more time 😉

  21. I actually don’t love SoulCycle because of that choreography… also, a few other things. Not for me! Glad you had a great class and got to try it out! Also, I think you should absolutely own clip-in shoes for the amount of spinning you do. They really do make a huge difference.

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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