Soulcycle Review: Pros + Cons and finding your SOUL

I have been wanting to check out a spin class for a while so when I was offered the opportunity to check out SoulCycle in Bellevue, I jumped on it!  I had NO idea what to expect because I’ve never been to a spin class before.  You know the saying, “It’s like riding a bike”?  Well a few years ago at a family vacation, I got on a bike (after God knows how many years) and LITERALLY had to re-learn how to ride.  Needless to say, I was NOT ready for the intense heart-pumping workout I had just signed up for. 

SoulCycle Bellevue is located in the heart of downtown Bellevue.  Given the pricing of classes, this is probably the right location / demographic / niche for this type of place.  Walking into the studio, the stark white + bright yellow theme gave a sterile feel, but not in a hospital type way…in more of a fresh, happy, modern kind of way.  Complimentary lockers, gum and ear plugs as well as hair-ties, bobby pins and razors was a nice bonus! 

Upon check in, I got my shoes and bottled water.  If you don’t have your own shoes, they are $3 to rent which adds to the cost of the session but they are included in your class fee if it’s your first ride.  If you’ve never worn clip-in spin shoes before, they are a little weird at first.  Almost like wearing cleats…or at least what I’d imagine wearing cleats would be like!  Since this was my first time, I got there early and was able to get on my bike to adjust my seat and practice clipping in + out.  There were plenty of SoulCyclers that were willing to help and everyone was super nice!

The dark room is candlelit except when the instructor introduces a new move.  During those times, the lights come on the instructor (rest of the room stays dark) and then turn off again.  It was nice because for a newbie, it helps to have a visual of the next move.  The darkness helps you get in the groove and depending on the instructor and their style of music, it’s easy to get lost in the beat.  My instructor was Jenna and I absolutely loved her vibe!  I could see myself going to more of her classes in the future!  On special occasions (like the night I went), they have a DJ mixing throughout the class which definitely adds to the experience.  Almost like you’re in a club but getting a KILLER workout at the same time.  The first 30 minutes(ish) was all about cycling to the beat of the music.  Sitting, standing, moving from side to side, forward – backward, up – down.  Then we incorporated upper body moves using light dumbbells for the last 15 minutes.  It doesn’t sound like much but when you’re cycling and lifting to the beat, it’s a FULL body workout!  But what I appreciated the most during the class was the cool down at the end.  Maybe it was because I was exhausted and felt muscles in areas I didn’t know existed before, but the stretches Jenna took us through really targeted the areas we worked hard on for the past 45 minutes. 

To be honest, I didn’t think cycling would be as tough of a workout as
some of the workouts I’ve done before (I’m comparing to HIIT cardio
with weights).  I figured you’re *just* moving your legs but it was WAY
more than just moving your legs.  It’s definitely a full body workout!  I can see why so many people are into SoulCycle as it’s more than just a spin class but there definitely are pros and cons.

– No membership fees!
– Bright, clean facility with showers (including shampoo, conditioner and body wash)
– 62 bikes that are reserved upon sign up for a class (so no waiting around for an open machine)
– Complimentary lockers, gum, ear plugs, hair ties, razors, etc.
– Validated parking in Lincoln Square

– Classes are pricey – $28 for a single class (+$3 if you don’t have your own shoes).  You can advance purchase packages of classes but there is an expiration date that you have to use them by
– Waiting area before classes start is a bit cramped with only a couple benches for people to sit or put on shoes
– Only 4 showers (I can’t imagine trying to get to a class before work and having to fight for a shower)
– Located in downtown Bellevue which could mean high traffic area making it difficult to get to during peak times
– No childcare

Overall, SoulCycle is a GREAT workout, burning over 500 calories per ride!  If you have the time + money, it’s definitely worth checking out and finding an instructor that speaks to your soul.  If anything, your first class is $20 and definitely worth trying out for the experience alone.

Thanks Jenna for a serious soul pumping first experience at SoulCycle!  <3

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