It’s the fitness craze behind the voluptuous body of TV presenter, Wendy Williams. Actress Kelly Ripa also swears by it. And film star, Bradley Cooper, has claimed that he does it several times a week. For months, a new buzzword has been gaining momentum among the fitness world, and has since been thrust into the spotlight by some of Hollywood’s most glamorous celebrity residents. Born in the heart of New York City and cultivated further in Los Angeles, SoulCity is a new exercise regime that mixes physical exertion with mental stimulation in order to achieve maximum positive results on both body and mind.
Hooked on Indoor Cycling
The brainchild of two young women who met in New York City, SoulCity was formed thanks to the pair’s endless quest to find a workout that offered something a little more than just an uninspiring romp on the treadmill. After scouring their then respective cities of Los Angeles and Colorado for a fitting workout that they could incorporate into their busy lives, the two settled on indoor cycling. Becoming instantly hooked on its physical impact on their bodies, they felt that the energy of indoor cycling could form the basis for something more encompassing.
Both Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler soon moved from their then cities to New York, where they first met one day over lunch. From there onwards, they created SoulCity. Julie’s particular passion for indoor cycling, combined with Elizabeth’s experience of soul searching in an Indian Monastery were combined to form a unique new blend of exercise that claims to invigorate the body and nourish the mind.
News of SoulCycle spread like wildfire. However, with a firm set of dedicated celebrities at its helm, SoulCycle now has a fan base that extends across the country. The craze has since been featured in many of the country’s main newspapers and consumer websites. Linda Wells, who writes for Allure Magazine, is an avid fan and has been going to SoulCycle classes since they first burst onto the scene in 2006. She is just one of thousands of people that have fallen for SoulCycle’s mix of loud music, candles and addictive group atmosphere. The classes take place in groups of around 15 to 20 people, and the idea is to exercise until you are exhausted and covered in sweat. Perhaps at a first read it doesn’t sound like much fun. However, as Linda told the Wall Street Journal enthusiastically, “You don’t even have time to think about the pain… you’re just right into it.”
“You lose your sense of where you are”
Linda explains how the pain of peddling so rigorously actually turns into “pure pleasure” and results in a unique stimulation of the mind. “There’s a moment where you’re so into this workout, you lose your sense of where you are,” she said. The moments where she has “lost herself” have even allowed Linda to slip into states of heightened creativity and have inspired her next headline or story lead.
As if the frantic bike riding and sweating wasn’t enough, there is a period in the middle of a class where the instructor tells everyone to start lifting weights – while their legs continue to peddle. This extra activity is meant to help tone and shape the upper body, and the extra strain helps to strengthen muscles. They are only tiny weights – one kilogram each to be exact – but the pressure of constantly lifting these light dumbbells up and down while you are peddling soon starts to bring on the strain. Julie and Elizabeth admit that you have to be fairly fit to be able to keep it up. Typically, they say that it takes around ten classes to really feel able to keep up the pace.
Losing Your Inhibitions by Candlelight
Perhaps the best part of a SoulCycle workout is the candlelight ride. All the lights are turned off and the only light is from a few dim candles. The aim of this is to encourage cyclists to lose their inhibitions and really connect with their minds during the workout. It is a group event, yet there is a real sense of self absorption and discovery. The end result is a clear mind and a body buzzing with energy. “I always leave really happy, really energized,” Linda concluded.