I’m a textbook couch potato, but when Glam Belleza Latina invited me to attend a SoulCycle class hosted by Hilaria Thomas Baldwin last week, I oddly found myself signing up without any hesitation. I’m not sure why, but at that moment, a first-hand experience of a cult-y spinning franchise sounded like a great night to me. Instead, it was all downhill from there.
Walking into the SoulCycle in Tribeca was, well, intimidating. All the ladies and gents inside seemed like total spin pros in their fancy athletic gear, while I wore black leggings and a free oversized tee from my college days (shout out to Syracuse!). It was pretty obvious I was a spin noob at the pre-ride juice reception, but Thomas Baldwin gave me some pointers during our interview and assured me that I wouldn’t die in there. Reassuring?
I made my way into the spin room after struggling with the locker room’s digital lock for five minutes, only to have trouble figuring out how to lock my foot in the bike pedal and adjust the height of bike seat. And then I dropped my water bottle. Thank goodness the lights were turned off so the other riders couldn’t mock my lack of skills. It was at this point that Glam Belleza Latina’s editor Veronica Chambers got out of her bike to fix my bike and water situation, for which I will be eternally grateful.
Once I got settled in, which was about 15 minutes into the class, I found that riding wasn’t too hard. In fact, it was borderline fun thanks to the instructor’s encouraging words and dance-heavy tunes by Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull, and Christina Aguilera. We sassily swayed our hips from side to side, dropped our elbows for some ab work, and toned our arms with two-pound dumbbells — all while pedaling. Of course, I did about half of that due to my obvious lack of coordination, and found myself marveling at everyone else’s. I stared at this one woman who was spinning so fast that I seriously thought her legs were going to fall off.
Three sprints and a full body stretch later, we were finally done with the 45-minute class. I had finally completed a grueling SoulCycle class! But then came the next challenge: how do I unlock myself from the pedal?? The lights were back on, and the class was emptying. A higher power must’ve heard my frantic prayers, because I somehow managed to yank my feet out without breaking my ankle, or their bike. Whew.
I can see why SoulCycle has become such a phenomenon — the environment is nice, the instructors are great, and you get a total body workout (if you follow every move, I mean). But for newbies like me, it was pretty much just awkward. Would I ever do it again? Unless I paid for a private instructor to teach me in the comfort and privacy of my own home, probably not.