Spinning Class – Exercise for the “Lazy”

Mary Dell writes: In the realm of athletics I am a dud, both coordination and motivation-challenged. When I attended BlogHer’12 this summer and heard Katie Couric describe herself as “lazy” (regarding exercise) yet willing to ride a stationary bike in a spinning class, I began to wonder if this might be a good workout for me since I’m a little lazy, too.

spinning class, soul cycle, katie couric, BlogHer

As if the gym gods were sending me a message, I picked up More magazine’s September issue and found an article on spinning inside. I read about SoulCycle, a small but growing chain of spinning studios that happen to be Katie’s choice.  Founders Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler created their company in 2006. “Spinning a business out of nothing,” they entered into a strategic partnership with the Equinox sports-club company and expect to increase their studio count to 50-60 locations by 2015. Along the way they created fresh-pressed juices and designed workout clothing.  They also raise $500,000 for charity, every year. Both moms, Rice and Cutler are successfully expanding their business and creating jobs as they grow.  What’s not to admire? (Actually, only the price, at $32 per class keeps my enthusiasm in check.)

I clicked on their website and discovered that a studio had opened close to my suburban house 20 minutes away.  How many more signs did I need to try a spinning class?

Still, I was reluctant. I had to face my fear that I might be the lone ugly (and older) duckling in a room of spandex swans.
The feeling of walking into a gym where everyone seems to  be fit already, not to mention younger, is not a happy one. Despite Katie’s enthusiasm, I wondered if I could believe the SoulCycle mission was for me:

Take your journey. Change your body. Find your soul.

Or If I would be able to find my way in their studio:

By keeping the lights low and riding by candlelight, SoulCycle creates a cardio sanctuary where riders can come to clear their heads.

The celebrities, the press accolades, the glamorous locations (NYC, LA, Hamptons)….would I feel self-conscious and out-of-place? I wondered if it was possible to fall off my bike or embarrass myself in any other way.

Fortunately, after attending one class, I understand why Katie gave it thumbs up with her incredibly toned arms. Here is what I discovered about working out at SoulCycle:

1. Felt like I belonged – I was not alone in age, gender or apparent fitness level.

2. Tailored to my ability – a twist of the knob, changing resistance levels on the bike, kept me going at a pace I could endure.

3. Friendly staff – They made a bit of a fuss over the “new riders” in the class, adjusting our bikes and shoes before we began. exercise class

4. Organized – using an airplane-type seat assignment reservation system, you choose your class and bike, reducing chaos in the crowded room.

5. Boredom prevention – it is relatively easy to stay motivated for the 45 minute class.

6. No prerequisites – there is no call for eye-hand coordination or knowledge of dance steps.

7. Upper body workout – hand weights attached to the back of the bike are used during the last section of the class making for an efficient attack on kimono arms.

8. It is fun – has to be or the probability of my returning is zero.

As the class winds down, I realize that in addition to getting a good, sweaty cardio workout, I was reminded of a younger me, when exercising in a darkened room, music at full blast, meant a lively night of dancing. Did I find my soul? Not sure about that but I can’t wait to go time traveling at SoulCycle again.



  1. Lynn says

    I’m sure we’ve seen each other. I have been a soul cycle enthusiSt for over 5 years. Cycling in the Hamptons in summer, in the Dale and NYC in winter and will soon go to Greenwich. I share your enthusiasm. I took my first class just around my 50th birthday with all of the same concerns and fears. Not only has it transformed me physically butt mentally, it has become my passion. As a health coach and critical care nurse I understand the importance of exercise. Especially when I’m in the Hamptons or NYC I feel 25 again, particularly in the candlelight. And at the risk of sounding boastful, just today a young twenty- something remarked to me after class was over”OMG, that class was so hard and you were amazing!” she had no idea what she did for this emptynester. SOUL cycle

    • says

      What a wonderful story about how you love SC, too. Exercise is the only fountain of youth there is but why is it so hard to keep moving and stay motivated? I just started spinning but hope to keep it up.

  2. Svetlana says

    Wow, Mary Dell, that is really inspiring! I have always been scared of spin classes too.

  3. says

    A sanctuary? Mind clearing? I’m not sure about that, but it sure as hell is a good workout. I tried my first Soul Cycle class today and found the blaring music a bit jarring and couldn’t really understand what the instructor was saying. But he looked fabulous enough (even in the dark) and there were plenty of savvy spinners to follow. I may have to go back, because other workouts may now seem lame in comparison! I may just be too old or creaky, however, to genuinely keep up….

    • says

      Karen, great seeing you in person. No surprise why that instructor sells out his class. I hope to see you again!

  4. says

    6. No prerequisites – there is no call for eye-hand coordination or knowledge of dance steps.

    This is my favorite! I’m glad you found something you enjoy enough to continue.

    • says

      I really recommend it – lots of good things about it regardless of how fit you may or may not be.

  5. says

    6. No prerequisites – there is no call for eye-hand coordination or knowledge of dance steps.

    This also is my favorite aspect and I am also lazy…but at 50..er 51, I HAVE TO GET MOVING!!

    • says

      Sharon, you can do ti! They claim you burn 400-500 calories a session. So much more than I get walking the dogs!

  6. says

    One of my good friends teaches a spinning class. I took it once and it kicked my butt and gave me a sore labia for days!

    • says

      Spinning is literally butt kicking. I am really sore from yesterday which tells me how little I had been doing up to now!

  7. Jennifer Comet Wagner says

    I only tried one exercise class years ago, and maybe I didn’t adjust the resistance properly, but I thought it was the hardest class I ever took and couldn’t walk for days. Maybe, after reading this, I’ll give it a try again.

    • says

      Jennifer, try it and let me know what you think about it this time – most productive 45 minutes of exercise I have done and fun, too!

  8. says

    I’m far too lazy for my own good. But this sounds like something I could do…or at least try to do. As long as they don’t spin like mad as, like I said, I’m rather lazy. Will have to look into it. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • says

      It is so worthwhile to try something new…I found it to be fun and fast so I didn’t feel burdened by the workout. Lisa, thanks for the kind words, as always.

  9. Clearly Kristal says

    So glad you found something you enjoy. I, too, love spinning. I actually took spinning from the creator of the sport – Johnny G (dating myself here). I totally get the spandex swans, which is why I prefer the darkness as well. I also look better in the dark. Welcome to the wonderful world of spinning!

    • says

      Wow – I should look into the history of spinning. Johnny G must have an interesting story. Thanks!

  10. Leslie Bradford says

    Mary Dell, Allie, Tyler, and I have all been Soul-mates for a while now. We can be sustainable and drive together to Martha’s class or Julie D! String is beyond. My initiation was a Turket Burn for 1 1/2 hours with Allie. What a workout!

  11. says

    I am hoping to deal with empty nest and getting fit in once clean swoop…I am travellling the world for a year and planning to do a lot of yoga. Spinning sounds really fun though. Maybe I will try that when I get to the US. Thanks.

  12. says

    I too read this article! Not only was it inspirational because she followed a passion (which is what Moving For Love is all about) but it sounds like each of her staff members have the same passion and drive. I keep my finger crossed that one might open near me. It sounds like a great class.

    • says

      Claudia, spinning is just fantastic and SoulCycle is a leader in the field – hope you get to try it out someday!

  13. says

    OK, you’ve convinced me. I’m going to see if there is one around me. Thanks for the motivation.

  14. says

    You might have sold me! I’ve been way into barre for a year, but I’m looking to change things up a bit.