I’m a big fan of fitness classes. Spinning, barre, Pilates… you name it, I’m in!
I signed up for SoulCycle’s “Turn It Up 20” Challenge, which meant I would complete 20 indoor cycling rides between February 1 and March 2.
SoulCycle classes are cardio dance parties--among 52 other riders, on stationary bikes--with upbeat music and motivational mantras (administered by instructors). In a dark studio, for 45 minutes (or an hour, in Soul Survivor classes), cyclers do the equivalent of sprinting, jogging, and climbing while exercising their abs and using hand weights.
On Super Bowl Sunday, I began my journey at SoulCycle SoHo in New York. It was the perfect time to start an indoor workout regimen, as the month to come would bring nothing but dreadfully frigid, snowy weather.
On March 1 (a day early, woop woop!), I successfully completed my challenge and headed to brunch to celebrate--but not before taking a much-needed shower.
Participating in heart-pumping cardio five days per week (at least) was a challenge in itself, granted an incredibly fun and rewarding one. It changed my body (more toned), my eating habits (more food, please!), and my day-to-day life.
After sweating for a combined 930 minutes at SoulCycle, here's what I learned.
Scheduling classes meant planning out days the night before (or earlier) to balance my workload and life responsibilities. Beyond exercising for 45 minutes, getting to and from the studio takes time. It also meant allotting a chunk of the morning (or afternoon) to go through my beauty regimen and shower off, which leads me to…
Packing For The Road
One purse does not fit all. It’s important to find a gym bag large enough for work supplies, beauty kit/toiletries, and a change of clothes.
And a lot of it. Yoga pants, sports bras, and tanks were my uniform of choice. Working out (almost) every day equals sweating every day. This meant two outfits in the hamper--every. single. day. I was spending more time at SoulCycle and putting in additional hours with the washer/dryer spin cycle.
At every class, instructors asked who was new to SoulCycle and went through the different bike positions. They’d help set up novice riders (and alums, too), and were always welcoming, even encouraging classmates to chat post-workout and interact with one another. It’s really nice to have a cheerleader, or 52.
Eat, Drink, Sleep, Repeat
Snacking 30 minutes before class is always a good idea. Drinking water before, during, and after class is important, too. And a good night's sleep is essential. It was imperative that I let my muscles relax--or take a day off if needed--to be ready for the next class, especially if it was a 6 a.m. session.
By the end of the month, I was riding front row like a pro. Would I do it again? Yep.
- Have you ever taken a fitness challenge?
- What's the most intense workout regimen you've ever done?
- Anyone starting a new class or workout plan right now? Tell us about it below!