As I get older though, my walks to work and ever so often walks around my neighborhood just aren't cutting it when it comes to staying in shape. It's not about looking good, but about feeling the best I can. For me, I need a workout that is fast paced and consistent. It's just what I'm used to doing. That's where SoulCycle comes in.
Since moving to DC, I've totally jumped on the cycling craze. I love it. From start to finish, it's all about the consistent movement and energy. That's what keeps me coming back, and hooked.
For those who may not know what a cycling class entails, it's a 45-minute cycling class that combines movement on the bike, with an ab and arm workout... all while jamming out to some good music. Some instructors will tailor their entire classes around different musicians or genres. Think, 45-minutes of cycling with Drake, Bieber or T-Swift!
I know there are many of you out there with similar mindsets when it comes to working out. And as SoulCycle continues to expand, I wanted to share a post for those of you who are or will be first time riders. The high energy can seem a little intimidating at first, so I reached out to one of DC's SoulCycle instructors, Alex, to get all the scoop on making your first ride easy and fun!
Q. For someone who may not have attended a SoulCycle class before, what should they do to prepare their bodies before class?
A. "First thing's first: do NOT be nervous! It can be intimidating to try a new workout, but just trust that your instructor has your back. I begin every class with an introduction to everything a new rider needs to know, and our SoulCycle staff are waiting and ready to make sure everyone feels ready to ride."
"Wear something comfortable. Anything you can move in and feel good in, and have socks. At SoulCycle, shoes and water are free for your first time, so just bring yourself!"
"I definitely recommend hydrating before class. Smartwater is my go-to, but I also love coconut water. My best advice: hydrate, get set and be ready to sweat!"
Q. Same with post class. What should you do to warm down after your ride?
A. "As soon as class is over, we do about a 3 minute stretch and it is SO important. Not only for the body, but also for the mind. The stretch is imperative for physical recovery and gives you a moment to get yourself settled before you walk out into the rest of the day."
"Please introduce yourself! I love to meet new riders, so if you're taking my class, come say hi! Ask questions! Ask me for music. Let's chat."
Q. What tips do you have for first time riders to make sure they make the most of their experience.
A. "Don't stress! So often, I have new riders coming in feeling anxious. It's about YOUR OWN experience, and one of the things I love most about SoulCycle is that it's NOT about competition, but about unity through individuality. It is a dark room full of people pushing themselves, letting go and riding together on the same beat. Don't worry about nailing all the choreography or even holding a pace. Especially your first time!"
Q. How many times a week do you recommend riding?
A. "It definitely is a spectrum and a personal preference."
"Before I became an instructor at SoulCycle, I was an avid rider. I would range anywhere from 5-9 classes a week. I would say, on average, most of my riders are attending class anywhere from 1-5 times a week. Some of them even triple with me (take all 3 classes) in one day! It's up to you - you get better each time you clip in."
Q. We hear the phrase "tap it back" so often. What exactly does that mean?
A. "The 'tap-back' is a signature SoulCycle move (and a fan favorite) that incorporates the core muscles and the glutes, and it is just SO much fun. It's a small movement where you shift your hips back on the beat of the song. Quite simply, it's a fun little booty tap that you can make your own."
"Everyone taps back together, but it's a move that you can really add some personal swag to. Having come from a dance background, the tap-back to me is really a release and expression. It's my favorite!"
Q. And just for fun, what has been your most favorite thing about being a SoulCycle Instructor?
A. "That is such a tough question to answer, because there are so many aspects of this job that I am grateful for. I love my riders and they motivate me to be a better instructor, and a better person, every day, every class."
" I love hearing about their (riders) stories and hearing that I've helped motivate, inspire or create a shift in perspective. I love the fact that I get to do what I love, with people I admire!"
"From my own personal experiences, I've learned to use SoulCycle as a way to cope, to heal and to show myself how strong I can be. Every single day, I get to be in a room full of different people, with different challenges and experiences, riding, moving and growing together to the beat of my favorite songs."
Now who is motivated to ride with Alex?! I know I am!! Definitely signing up for one of her classes very soon!
You can find Alex at either the West End or Georgetown studios here in DC. Her full class schedule and instructor bio can be found here. Interested in signing up for your first class? Checkout their site and create an account. You'll then have access to view each studio's class schedule and signup for your first class! Be sure to introduce yourself to the instructor and staff when you arrive. They'll make sure you get settled in and your bike is setup properly!
This post is in partnership with SoulCycle. All views and opinions are my own.