A Tale of Two Bikes: Cycle House versus Soul Cycle
Can you believe Valentine’s Day will be here in just a couple of days? At this rate, it’s going to be summer before we know it. (But, but, you can’t speed by so fast, 2013! I have goals I need to accomplish!)
January felt like a great month ’round these parts and February is on track to be awesome, too: I’ve made new friendships, strengthened existing ones, worked on my book, and made fitness a big priority. (I’m telling you, it’s kiiind of amazing what you can get done when you stop pouring time into dudes who aren’t worth your energy.) We’ll have to see if the workout trend continues–and by workout, I mean doing more than just the 10 pushups and 20 leglifts I’d previously “accomplished”, oh, twice a week–but so far, very, very good. I’d post a picture of my four-pack and my new biceps/triceps, but I don’t really want to get into bikini territory here, you know?
Sometimes I turn my nose up at trendy things, so when I started seeing Facebook posts from friends orgasming over a biking workout called Soul Cycle, I rolled my eyes so far back in my head that they were nearly stuck there. Fast forward to now, and while I wouldn’t say I’ve become addicted to Soul Cycle–or its brethren Cycle House–I’ve been going at least twice a week and am really enjoying it. Here’s the deal:
You enter the bike studio. It’s dark, lit only by candles, row upon row of bikes facing the instructor at the front of the room. You clip yourself into the bike, grit your teeth, and then let the music wash over you as it starts pumping, pulsing, blaring. The instructor (invariable a peppy, ripped young thing) commands over a microphone:
“Leave it on the bike!”
“Who do you want to be when you leave here today?”
“Banish those voices telling you that you can’t do this. You can. You can!”
And so you cycle and sweat and push yourself and ride to the beat with the other bikers, becoming a pack. (Sometimes I take Lazy Jolie breaks, but anybody judging me can just step off because at least I’m there, aren’t I?) The music takes you over: songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Beat It”, that Mumford-y Phillip Phillips song “Home”, Pink’s “Try”, and “Power” by Kanye West.
It’s hard as hell, but kind of a blast.
I’ve gone to both Cycle House and Soul Cycle and they each have advantages. Obviously, Soul Cycle is the big boy and the one that’s getting the lion’s share of the national press. It’s clean, trendy, fun, and there are locations all over LA, including a brand-spanking-new Santa Monica location just down the road from me. I took a class there today with Sunny, and she was supportive and motivational, with fun hip-hop and pop music. The locker rooms are also fantastic: one of those small, random details that, as a spa-goer, I always notice and appreciate.
On the other hand, there’s Cycle House, which is in West Hollywood–not too close to me, alas–but with a slightly more athletically-advanced crowd. When I went, the music at Cycle House was just fantastic: poppy and peppy and girly and fun. I think there might have been a Britney Spears song in there, for the love of God. (That’s a good thing.) More importantly, Cycle House has a charitable aspect: for every class taken at Cycle House, they donate two meals to the hungry. I’ve been making charity a priority for me this year (currently working with a great charity called Beauty Bus!) so I really love this aspect of Cycle House. Also, they have a seating area outside where people hang and munch on apples and bananas post-workout, so there’s more of a sense of community.
Last week, I had dinner with my gals Amber Katz of Beauty Blogging Junkie and Jeannine Morris of Beauty Sweet Spot–they were in town from NYC on a shoot–and Amber told me all about her newest love, another entrant into the cycling game: Flywheel. Apparently, at Flywheel you can compete with each other on a board (although you don’t have to) and your torque and RPMs are displayed for keeping to the beat more easily.
Recently–and I have no idea if I read this somewhere or if it came from a friend–I received excellent advice. Each day, without fail, you should tell yourself: “Something extraordinary is going to happen today.” Say it, and mean it.
On the days when I force my lazy ass to Soul Cycle or Cycle House, inevitably I’ll be mid-ride, working out like I never thought possible (I do not like exertion, y’all!), sweating as if I’m in Satan’s Sauna, and I’ll think: This is it. This is the moment. Something extraordinary is happening today.
And then I feel so very happy.