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This SoulCycle Instructor Will Make You Want to Join Her Cult

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Welcome to Racked's Fitness Week: five days of workout coverage, so that you can start your New Year's resolutions off right.

Jenny Gaither loves making reSOULutions.

SoulCycle might be a cult. Like, actually. Consider the evidence: The Monday bike-booking frenzy. The emails announcing, "Congratulations, your SOUL is confirmed." The branded spandex swag...which explicitly refers to groups of riders as a cult. And, of course, there are the gurus: Superhuman instructors, like Jenny Gaither, who can rock a 45-minute class with rhythm and sass and feel-good mantras.

We were curious to find out if Jenny brings the same of enthusiasm to fitness resolutions as she does to her high-energy classes, (spoiler alert: she does), so we quizzed her about the best ways to achieve fitness goals, her own reSOULutions, and how to make the most of the SoulCycle experience.

So many people start the year with fitness resolutions. What advice would you offer for keeping them?
"For me … resolutions that involve improving and bettering myself are easier to keep. Your resolutions should not make your life more stressful and overwhelming; if they are, change or adjust them. Goal-setting is a learning experience: There's no right or wrong answer, so sometimes altering your resolutions along the way will keep you on the right path to the bigger end goal. Set goals that are attainable, realistic for you and your lifestyle, and make you happy."

What three tips would you offer to people looking for a healthier lifestyle?
"1. Get moving and stay active. 2. Drink more water. 3. Keep a positive attitude and be patient with yourself. Make sure you are enjoying your journey."

SoulCycle enthusiasts are incredibly passionate about the studio, but that zeal can be intimidating for newcomers. Do you have any suggestions for first-time riders?
"They say there's nothing like your first time…so we've created a program just for beginners called SOUL 101. It's three, one-hour introductory classes that are team-taught by three rockstar instructors to give you extra attention. In class, we break down the basics so you can feel really comfortable walking into any class, but don't let the word 'intro' fool you... you'll be rocking out, finding the rhythm and breaking a sweat."
(SoulCycle will announce the dates for its first Bay Area Soul 101 series—three, 60-minute classes for $85—on January 14. The classes will launch in February.)

Should riders eat before SoulCycle? Do you have any recommendations for a good pre-ride snack?
"It's so important to eat before class! Your body needs the fuel, even if it's a 6am class! You don't need to eat a full meal, just think simple and light. A banana or a green juice should do the trick."

It gets hot in the Soul Studio. How much water should riders drink during a class?
"A lot of people don't hydrate enough before or after class. Arrive hydrated (I start my day off with two large glasses of water), bring one water for class, and drink at least two full water bottles after class."

SoulCycle is a cardio-intense workout. Are there any strength-based workouts that you would recommend in the Bay Area?
"I recently turned into a yogi, so I spend most of my time outside of the SoulCycle studio in a hot yoga class. It's super important to find balance between strength and flexibility."

Are there any at-home workouts that you swear by? Crunches? Planks? Handstands?
"I love to plank! Drop down into a plank for two minutes, two to three times a day and you will feel and see a difference in your core!"

Did you make any New Year's resolutions for 2014? Care to share them?
"I LOVE creating New Year's resolutions! It's so much fun for me because there's no better feeling than to set and attain a new goal. My New Year is dedicated to taking care of myself. Everything I am putting into my body is cleaner and healthier. No processed foods, no refined sugars, and no dairy. I am also making a huge effort to hydrate more throughout the day instead of just drinking water in class. I am consciously filtering out all negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones. I am committed to practicing yoga four to five times a week and I am listening to my body when it screams for rest. Lastly, this year is about being gentle and patient with myself. We demand and ask so much from ourselves, it's important to just let yourself be happy in the moment."
· All Fitness Week posts [Racked]
· Six Beautiful San Francisco Pools for Swimming In the New Year [Racked]