Last week, the SHAPE staff (myself included) went for a spin together at SoulCycle, the hottest spot for indoor cycling in NYC. Its signature class, which combines high-intensity cycling with a complete upper-body workout, torches nearly 800 calories in just 45 minutes—talk about the benefits of multitasking! As an indoor cycling newbie, I couldn’t wait to try the workout that super-sculpted celebs like Kelly Ripa, Brooke Shields, Kyra Sedgwick, and Jane Krakowski have raved about.
After checking in at the Union Square studio, we changed into our spin shoes and found our assigned bikes. It was a little intimidating for us first-timers, but the SoulCycle staff helped adjust the seats and handles and clipped our feet into the pedals—the key to greatly increasing your lower-body workout. Our irrepressibly cheerful instructor, Danny, introduced himself and gave a quick pep talk that made me want to really put my pedal to the metal. Another thing that helped make me more comfortable: The room is kept dark—except for the candles that illuminated Danny’s bike at the front—so we could focus on ourselves and not the rest of the class. After promising to deliver a kick-ass workout, Danny cued the music—the playlist included Lady GaGa, Drake, and Kanye West—and began the warm-up. We started with a low-resistance setting to get our blood flowing. But soon enough, we were pedaling up and down “hills” and feeling a burn in our thighs that was impossible to ignore. Thanks to Danny’s encouragement and high energy, we all managed to keep pedaling for 35 minutes.
Just when we felt like our legs couldn’t take it anymore, Danny instructed us to reduce our speed and pick up one-pound dumbbells—the upper-body portion of the workout was about to begin. Though initially the weight seemed light, after 10 minutes of more than 100 curls, lateral raises, and tricep extensions, our muscles felt like overcooked noodles. Honestly, the stretch and cool-down could not have come soon enough—our entire bodies were quivering and we were drenched in sweat. I’ve never pedaled so long and hard in my life, and had so much fun doing it. Danny’s liveliness and insane amount of energy was so contagious that we have to credit him for making such an intense class a total blast (we joked about bottling him up and bringing him back to the office with us!). I’m totally ready for my next ride!