SheLift SoulCycle Ride
When the SoulCycle craze hit Santa Monica by storm, I was Intrigued by the dark lights, and night club-like approach to group fitness. How the dance-inspired class would change my mental health was the last thing I imagined.
I had never been on a stationary spin bike before, and to be completely honest, I was incredibly terrified to try. After watching several YouTube clips and testimonials of celebrities claiming this new trend was life changing, I was adamant to give it a shot. I read the website word for word every day for a week trying to muster up the courage to commit to a class. I did background checks on all the instructors, over analyzing every detail in preparation for my first ride. The night club vibe and impossibly attractive people who frequented these scenes were anxiety inducing at best. I wanted to make sure that my introduction to SoulCycle wasn’t with a bootcamp drill sergeant, but with someone sensitive to my first-timer fears. After finally biting the bullet to go, I coerced my friend Jenny to sign up for Alba’s Saturday morning class at the Santa Monica studio.
I’ll never forget walking into class—loud, steamy, buzzing with energy—it was every bit as intimidating as I’d imagined. Everyone knowledgeably clipped into their bikes and got situated as though they had been doing this for years, while I peered around shamefully trying to mimic those beside me.
The class was just as intense as I expected: fast paced, extremely loud and no time for breaks. Alba was amazing – like a mix between Janet Jackson and a high school cheerleader – petite and bursting with energy. The 45 minutes surprisingly flew by and I walked out of class sweaty, exhausted and undeniably hooked.
Four years later it’s safe to say SoulCycle has radically changed my life. Not just for it’s high intensity, quick cardio fix, but because of the community and support created within the studio. Sure, my body transformed. I have obliques where obliques never existed. I experienced lasting energy throughout the day, and for the first time in my LIFE, I felt excitement towards fitness. But aside from the physical effects SoulCycle had on my body, it changed me spiritually as well. Considering the brand mission is to transform your mind, body and soul, it’s common to leave class feeling spiritually lifted. SoulCycle isn’t about peddling faster or harder than the person next to you, it’s about showing up, giving it your best, and being good with that.
I dabbled between instructors before I found the classes I benefitted from most. One of which was Laura Crago’s. When I first rode in Laura’s class she was preparing to ride her bike from Los Angeles to New York in honor of her late father. She was raising money along the way for Habitat For Humanity and would often talk about her journey in class. Never short of inspirational anecdotes or songs to motivate me through the steepest hill, Laura knew just how to keep me going: in class, in life, and in the heart. SoulCycle, and Laura’s class namely, became my soul food.
Over the next four years I rode over 148 times and the bike became my cure-all. I rode when I was feeling sad. I rode to clear my head and to maintain my sanity. And I rode to feel strong.
Most importantly though, SoulCycle gave me sense of belonging and confidence. Having never played sports, or joined team leagues, I never felt the community others experience with recreational fitness. The familiar faces in class became my tribe and riding alongside them, I was lifted.
Today, I run an organization whose pillars are rooted in community, confidence and physical ability, so it was a no brainer to bring SheLift to SoulCycle.
Last weekend 51 friends and supporters gathered at the SoulCycle Culver City to raise money for SheLift in our inaugural charity ride. The class was lead by none other than Laura Crago. I demanded it! Together we tapped it back, laughed and pushed through some of the fastest sprints imaginable. Filling the dark, loud, once intimidating studio with 51 of my closest friends and SheLift girls – decked out in pink glow sticks – was one of the most humbling experiences to date. Our ride included many of the songs we listen to on SheLift retreats, and songs I’ve listened to in times of inspiration.
I look forward to seeing all of you at all the SheLift charity rides to come across the country. Let me know which cities you'd like us to visit in the comments below!
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