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Looking for that workout unicorn that adds a heavy blast of cardio and is totally fun at the same time? Then it's time you check out SoulCycle, an intensive indoor cycling class set to toe-tapping jams that packs a punch in an efficient 45 minutes. Now with three locations in the Bay (Marin, SF, and Palo Alto), there's no excuse for not experiencing the ride. Just beware: total addiction is a common side effect.
I first turned SoulBeliever in 2007, the year SoulCycle began. I was living in NYC, a few blocks from the first (and now defunct) studio at West 72nd and Columbus, next door to the also defunct Buttercup Bake Shop. I remember my favorite instructor allowing us to indulge in a cupcake following the rigorous spin. ("It's just flour, sugar, and butter!") I took the workout to a near-obsessive level (as so many others do), spinning six days a week. My body was fit and my endurance was strong but my thighs were beginning to bulk.
When I moved to the Bay a couple years ago, I never found a spinning class I loved. And besides, after a stint in LA before moving north to SF, I jumped on the Tracy Anderson wagon and learned to actually fear the SoulCycle burn (because, according to Anderson, it meant bulking). But with my fall workout routine in a slump, I welcomed the happy news of a growing SoulCycle presence in and around SF. So I headed south to the Silicon Valley outpost (read: free, easy parking) for an early jumpstart to a healthier new year.
Signing up is a breeze with the online tool. I like to reserve one of the bikes right against the front mirror facing perpendicular to the trainer's podium because the angle best shows signs of unwanted hip movement (the cycling should originate from the core, not the hips). After scanning the list of instructors, I decided to sample one by Bea Del Rosario, a dancer and an athlete with a background in fashion (just my kind of girl).
The class was just as I remembered—and craved. The music was a mix of upbeat, top hits and a few fun classics to keep riders motivated. A quick break from the cycling with 3-pound weights made my arms quiver. And at the end of the ride, I once again felt a part of the tight knit SoulCycle community. But this time around, as a recommitted SoulBeliever, I'll mix it into my routine as a once weekly workout and fill in the other days with pilates, yoga, and barre workouts to keep it lean. And although it may not be as good as the ones from Buttercup, Sprinkles Cupcakes across the mall serves as a great reward (and incentive) for a strong ride.
· Silicon Valley Finally Gets a Soul [Racked SF]
· SoulCycle [Official Site]
· All Esther Tested posts [Racked SF]