Vitality

SoulCycle Workout Benefits: 45-Minute Indoor Cycling Full-Body Workout Burns Up To 700 Calories

Living and working in New York City means you're constantly in motion walking with a purpose, whether it's to catch the train, get a cup of coffee and a bagel, or just finagle your way through pedestrian traffic. Our constant motion skipping past long lines and weaving through crowded streets is how most New Yorkers get their cardio in — that and SoulCycle, the popular indoor cycling class.

The last thing I wanted to do after work was spin after running around meeting deadlines, chasing sources, and tracking breaking news, but I figured it could be a good way to burn stress (and fat).

SoulCycle: Spinning Yourself Thin

SoulCycle is the complete opposite of what's on my fitness resume, i.e. yoga pilates. Focusing on my breath, inhaling and exhaling, as I cross my legs on my mat is a much welcomed change of pace. Prior to my first SoulCycle class, I knew very little about spinning, but I was told it was like “attending a rave,” which sounds like a workout party I’d be eager to attend.

SoulCycle bikes This is what happened at my first SoulCycle class. Photo courtesy of SoulCycle

Music And Exercise

Dempsey Marks, a certified fitness expert, and creator of the PreGame Fit fitness, nutrition and lifestyle program, suggests it’s no coincidence SoulCycle is compared to being at a club, or a rave.

"There is a huge emphasis on music and riding to the rhythm of the beat. Some research says that you push yourself harder in workouts when listening to music with high bpm," she told Medical Daily.

Running or moving in exact time with workout music can help the body use energy more efficiently. When we move rhythmically to a beat, the body does not have to make as many adjustments to coordinated movements as it would without regular external cues. For example, in a 2012 study, participants who cycled in time to music required 7 percent less oxygen to do the same work as cyclists who did not spin their movements with background music.

Ready to rave, err — I mean spin, my colleagues and I entered the friendly and brightly lit SoulCycle studio in New York’s Financial District. Similar to a bowling alley, We were greeted warmly by an upbeat staff where we filled out paperwork, and were asked our shoe size. These shoes were rentals for the duration of the class that went “click click click” as I curiously walked passed the lockers and into the loud and energized class.

As I adjusted my seat, and propped myself on the bike, my shoes clicked on the pedals — a sign I was locked in this class for the next 45 minutes. As a SoulCycle novice, I rejoiced my bike was in the back of the class, and the spotlight was not on me. Instead, all eyes and lights were on instructor Evan who amped us up with smiles and cheers, even after he just completed three classes on that day. His energy was contagious, and before I knew it, I was slowly spinning my soul away under Evan’s instruction.

The dimmed lights, the glowing candle, the catchy music, and the instructor’s positive mantras were a good indication this workout would be intense, but motivational. Unavoidably, I started to pedal to the rhythm of the beat as Evan encouraged us to take it up a notch by boosting the spin resistance that goes from simulating flats to mimicking hill climbs. Within 15 minutes, my heartbeat accelerated, and droplets of sweat rolled down my cheek and onto my top. I felt like I lost 10 pounds and rode all my anxiety away.

Full-Body Workout

A 45-minute session of SoulCycle can burn a considerable amount of calories. According to Marks, “you can burn between 500 and 700 calories per session. This is much higher than weight lifting, yoga, and even sometimes running."

In yoga, the number of calories burned is based on body weight and workout duration. For example, if you weigh 125 pounds, you'll expend about 120 calories; if you weigh 185 pounds you'll expend 178 calories in 30 minutes of doing yoga, according to Harvard Health Publications.

SoulCycle is a full-body workout, incorporating most muscles of the body throughout several sequences. Several celebrity SoulCycle aficionados, like Molly Sims, claim consistently spinning can lead to tighter abs, leaner arms, and legs, and overall toning, with improved cardiovascular health. There’s a focus on bigger muscles, like our quads and glutes, which causes us to burn more calories — not just after our workout, but days after.

Evan kept our adrenaline going by having us do upper body exercises while standing on our bikes, and alternating with weights. Although I was extremely sore, and stopped several times in between to have my mind catch up with my body, I much welcomed the weights portion of the workout. My energy levels spiked, because similar to SoulCycle, in yoga I like to incorporate weights for strength training to feel stronger and exercise other parts of my body.

“Can Do” Attitude

In the background, as I switched focusing on the people around me to my body, I could hear Evan repeat the words: “Forget about everything that happened before the class.” “You are here.”

“You can do it.”  

 

We survived our first @soulcycle class! #crew #officecrew #ibtmedia #kickass #group #fun #exercise #soulcycle #spinning #healthy #fit #strong #wesurvived #noonedied #almostfainted #gettingthatbody #thanksgivingisrightaroundthecorner #idonteatturkeythough #pescetarian #vegetarian #thanksgivingprep #vsco #vscocam

A photo posted by Maria G. Valdez (@mariagvh) on Nov 2, 2016 at 3:00pm PDT

Suddenly, I was overcome with a shot of energy, and a “can do” attitude that made me pedal faster than my mind could process. I picked up the pace, and felt I was making my way up to the top of Mount Everest — I have a very vivid imagination. Before I knew it, the candle was blown out, the lights were completely dimmed, and we clicked our shoes off from the pedal, to transition into some yoga stretches to complete the class.

We all clapped to congratulate Evan and ourselves for making it through an intense 45-minute workout together. Although we didn’t all know each other, for those 45 minutes, we became a team of motivational cyclists who all shared a common goal: To feel better.

“As cliché as it sounds, it really is good for the soul. You leave feeling empowered, strong, and like you are a part of a community,” said Marks.

I felt more alive, awake, and capable, all the while drenched in sweat. I didn’t care my hair was a mess, my gym clothes were wet, and my legs felt like jello — I did it. I felt triumphant. I survived SoulCycle.

Not once did I think about my never-ending to-do list, my emails, or what I’m eating for dinner that night. I was focused on one thing and that was me. I felt like I did something for myself, specifically my health, and it felt empowering.

So, is SoulCycle for everyone?

Marks says “yes.”

“You can adapt the classes and workout to your ability. If you are injured, simply let your instructor know before class. They’ll have you cut out the complicated, technical maneuvers that SoulCycle veterans perform and focus on simply cycling,” she said.

On my subway ride home, I thought to myself, “Would I do SoulCycle again?” Perhaps. My legs and glutes would advise otherwise, but a week later, I have to admit I still got soul to try it again.

Loading...