Why I Pay For SoulCycle

Why I Pay For SoulCycle - Sarrandipity Blog

For those who have been friends with me on any sort of social media for long enough, you know that I. Love. SoulCycle. I love it more than a fat kid loves cake; more than Kanye loves Kanye…all of that. I got hooked while living in New York, and have been looking forward to the Chicago studio openings since before they were even planned (the power of positive thinking). Yes, I understand that it’s expensive. And yes, it’s true I probably wouldn’t have tried it if I didn’t get to take my first classes for free through work. But I did try it, and quickly went from only going to SoulCycle when someone else paid, to sacrificing funds from my own bank account for a seat in the dimly lit studio. But why?

1. It’s cheaper than therapy. We all know that exercise in general causes the body to produce endorphins, which in turn make you feel good. SoulCycle adds on to that natural high with, well, soul. Though some teachers definitely tap into the inspirational aspects more than others, I usually leave class with at least one reminder to put things in perspective, or give myself a break, or just let shit go. A few months ago, I underwent a minor surgery and couldn’t exercise for two weeks, during which I fell into a bit of a funk, feeling lethargic and glum. My first workout after that break was a SoulCycle class. When I arrived, I was definitely in a “mood,” not thrilled to have had to leave my cozy condo and navigate rush hour crowds for a workout. By the time I left, I felt all at once energized, relaxed, and motivated. The combination of the dim lighting, killer playlist, and (not-too-over-the-top) affirmations from the instructor, plus the endorphin-producing moves, acted as a 45-minute, calorie-burning therapy session.

2. I save money in other places.  Countless people have flat-out told me I’m crazy to spend my money on SoulCycle. It’s not worth it, they say. It’s a waste of money, they say. It’s frivolous, they say. But, how do they qualify these things? See, I’m not a big drinker, so I rarely buy multiple rounds of $7-$15 cocktails every weekend, and my at-home stash won’t need replenishing for many months. (Though, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to drink more wine.) I don’t habitually go out to boozy brunches and high-end dinners, and seeing a movie in a theatre is a rare treat. (I realize this is painting a rather lame picture of me: I swear I’m fun and social, but I’m all for chill nights in, or Sundays on the beach instead of in a bar.) I see nothing wrong with people spending their money however they want to spend it, whether that be on movies, bars, restaurants, or in-app purchases for iPhone games—which is why I refrain from judging. I’ll spend my money in my way, you spend your money your way, and we’ll all live happily ever after.

3. The ambiance is amazing. And I’m not just talking about the low-lighting, candles, and aspirational wall-decals inside the studios themselves. Despite the fact that people exit each class dripping in sweat, the common areas are generally clean, bright, and fresh-smelling. They lack the dinginess of many other gyms. The air doesn’t reek of stale sweat and excessive B.O. And that’s nice.

Why I Pay For SoulCycle - Sarrandipity Blog

4. It increases my chances of becoming best friends with a celebrity. I’ve never been lucky enough to see perfect-specimen Jake Gyllenhaal in an NYC class (even though I’m told he goes ALL THE TIME and when I lived in New York I went A LOT), BUT in one class, Bradley Cooper was on the bike right behind me, which was almost equally amazing. Never before and never since have I worked so hard in a Soul class. (I mean, he was obviously watching me the whole time, right?) Bradley and I didn’t actually interact—it’d be uncool to bother a celeb when he’s trying to just be normal—but some day I’m bound to have a natural interaction with a celebrity at a studio and become best friends. (And I really hope said celebrity is Kelly Ripa, who I’m also told goes often. I love her.)

5. It’s fun. Boredom is probably the biggest reason I skip going to the gym, or half-ass it when I’m there. I have trouble staying motivated to start, or continue, a cardio workout when it’s just 45 minutes (give or take) of the same thing. People roll their eyes when they hear SoulCycle entails “choreography,” but regardless of what it’s called, the variety of moves within one class—from push-ups and crunches to “tap-backs” and weight-lifting—keeps me focused and invested in the workout.

6. It offers a workout I can’t get anywhere else. I’ve been on the receiving end of the sarcastic, “It’s too bad you can’t ride a bike for free outside!” anti-SoulCycle comments more times than I can count. Listen, I love riding my bike along the Chicago lakeshore. It’s good exercise in a beautiful environment, but it’s a completely different type of workout. As for other, cheaper spinning classes? Typically, I don’t feel like they go above and beyond anything I can do on my own. SoulCycle’s distinction isn’t just in its unique choreography. It’s in the fact that the choreography is done to the beat of the music. And that the instructors carefully craft playlists that ebb and flow with the sprints and climbs in the class, so whether you’re cranking the resistance or spinning the pedals at warp-speed, you’re doing it to a clear rhythm, with guidance from a teacher who could probably keep the beat while posting an Instagram, chugging a glass of wine, and arguing with Comcast customer service. And the teachers don’t just demonstrate what you should be doing; they actively push you to do it better, constantly reminding you not to cheat yourself out of a ($30) workout. They’ll emphasize proper form, repeatedly stressing the importance of keeping your butt back and knees in. They’ll turn up the resistance on your bike if they think you can handle it. They’ll make you hold your arm weights in the air for way more time than you think you can. In my first class at Chicago’s new Old Town studio, the instructor, Anthony, hit the nail on the head with one sentence: “It’s about how you move, not that you move.” Anyone can sit on a bike on a platform and play a few tunes while you somewhat aimlessly ride along, but SoulCycle classes take it to the next level, giving me a fantastic return on my investment.

7. I want to. I just wrote a whole blog post justifying why I pay $30 for SoulCycle classes now and then, but the bottom line is, I do it because I like it and I want to. Sue me. (Just leave me with at least $30 a month.)

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A Random and Amazing Throwback Running Playlist

A Random And Amazing Throwback Running Playlist

For those who, like me, need serious distractions in order to run.

Here’s the thing: I kind of hate running. But for some reason, unbeknownst to even me sometimes, I do it.  To date, I’ve surprised myself by doing two half marathons (would’ve been three, if not for a pesky broken ankle) and a few smaller races, and am now training for my third.

But, in order to get through my training runs, I absolutely need to be distracted; and one of the best distractions is music. Old-school music, in particular, has proven to be very effective for me. I imagine it’s the combination of nostalgia (What grade was I in when this song came out? OMG this reminds me of that one time…) and pure joy at hearing old favorites that does the trick. Here, I bring you my—extremely random—throwback playlist (it’s mostly from the 90s) bound to keep you distracted and euphoric enough to finish your workout and get to brunch.

“I Want You” by Savage Garden
The first time this came on a random Spotify playlist I was listening to while running, I got so happy that I actually started to dance a little. While running. I mean, seriously, how can you not love the ‘chica cherry cola’ song (which for many years I thought was ‘chicken cherry cola’)?

“This Is Your Night” by Amber
Mentally transport yourself from the running path to the most fun middle school sleepovers ever with this one.

“One Week” by Bare Naked Ladies
If you didn’t love this song when it came out, I don’t understand you. It’s just so damn catchy! Aside from that, trying to mentally sing along to that one really freaking fast part (mumbling until ‘vanilla it’s the finest of the flavors’ does not count) while running is quite possibly the most ultimate distraction.

“Ready, Steady, Go” by The Meices
I only know this song from the movie, Empire Records, which is one of the greatest movies ever but somewhat unknown, so I don’t actually know if the song was ever that popular. But it’s intense enough to get you moving.

“Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson
I can’t make a throwback playlist without including at least one MJ song. This one just makes me feel kind of badass.

“Right Now” by Van Halen
If for no other reason than the insanely long intro is, in my opinion, right up there with “Eye of the Tiger” as one of the greatest pump-up tunes.

“Basket Case” by Green Day
Something about Green Day just makes me want to speed everything I do up by 10 times. Including running.

“Ready to Go” by Republica 
Again, a classic pump-up jam. Inspiring on so many levels. You can’t not be ready to go when listening to “Ready to Go.”

“Sugarhigh” by Coyote Shivers
Another Empire Records jam (What can I say? It was a great soundtrack). Listen to it and envision that sugar high you’ll be on after consuming the four slices of challah french toast you’ll definitely have earned after this workout.

BTW, the version of “Sugarhigh” in the movie is even better. Complete with Renee Zellweger, pre face-change. See for yourself:

“I Want You Back” by Jackson 5
Give yourself a break from angsty 90s music with this one. It’s just joy-inducing.

“Buddy Holly” by Weezer
This one’s all about the nostalgia; it was just one of those great, weird-but-awesome-and-catchy 90s songs.

“It’s The End Of The World As We Know It” by R.E.M.
Here’s another try-to-sing-along-with-the-insanely-fast-lyrics song. Your brain will be so focused on attempting to keep up that you might actually forget you’re running.

“Push It” by Salt-N-Pepa
Getting tired? Feeling like giving up? Salt-N-Pepa will change that that. Just do what they say and Push It, dammit.

“Higher Ground” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
The beats in this song remind me of a bouncy ball, literally bouncing off the walls of a big room without ever slowing down. Embrace the beat; be that ball of energy.

Listen to this playlist on Spotify: