Raise Your Glass | Butt, Body and Soul

SoulCycle founders

SoulCycle classWe’ve all been there—struggling to look past the discomfort and pain of a workout and thinking, just five more minutes. It’ll all be over in five minutes. This is where SoulCycle kicks in. No, SoulCycle is not a power drink or vitamins. It’s a candle-lit indoor cycling studio, and the ambience is intoxicating. It’s impossible not to be motivated and not to persevere through those final minutes in a room that’s part workout, part nightclub, part communal bonding and wholly focused on health.

“SoulCycle is unlike any other workout: Riders come for their bodies but stay for their minds,” says Elizabeth Cutler, who cofounded the original indoor cycling studio in NYC with Julie Rice in 2006. Both transplanted to New York, Cutler in 1999 and Rice in 2002; however, they missed the energy and spirit of the exercise communities they had in Colorado and California. “We created it because we wanted to make exercise fun and fill a hole in the marketplace for a joyful exercise experience.”

CorridorA few months after a spin instructor and mutual friend introduced Cutler to Rice in 2006, the duo founded a small spin class in a former funeral home on Manhattan’s Upper West Side using their own finances (Cutler was a real estate agent and Rice was a Hollywood talent manager.). They created a heart-pumping routine that was both fun and social, combining inspirational coaching, high-energy music and a full-body exercise. Nine years later, the brand with a humble beginning is now a cycling empire with 32 locations and 10,000-plus riders nationwide, revolutionizing the way people workout.

To say their spin classes are addicting is an understatement. The boutique cardio company oftentimes has waitlists to get into a class. Celebrity spinners include Madonna, Lady Gaga, Olivia Wilde and Bradley Cooper. “It is a cardio party on the bike,” says Rice. As the specially curated music blares in the dim room, riders pedal to the beat, simultaneously grinding away as a group. Instructors flip the typical spin class programming on its head by incorporating choreography and adding free weights into the program. Classes last 45 minutes, burning between 500 to 700 calories in that time frame.

LobbyA The brand is getting it right on all fronts. Case in point: Online music streaming company Beats Music asked SoulCycle to curate playlists for it, and Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and Nicole Scherzinger have held album-release events at SoulCycle studios.

After popping up at the Mondrian Hotel in Miami Beach for the 2010 season, the founders received countless requests from local residents expressing interest in a South Florida studio. SoulCycle recently made its first foray into Florida with a Merrick Park facility in Coral Gables. The 52-bike studio offers five showers, a locker area and its popular boutique, which sells the original SoulCycle clothing collection. More than 40 classes are offered each week, all with the signature dynamic instruction for which the brand is known. “SoulCycle is a human experience that anyone can relate to,” Cutler says. “We always knew that the SoulCycle experience of joy in movement would resonate with people across the globe.”

StudioA If SoulCycle is anything, it’s not standard. Instructors, who are encouraged to get to know each rider and develop a bond, are hand-selected for their ability to motivate. They often shout out phrases like, “You’re a rock star!” and “Show no fear!”— all in an effort to get you through those last five excruciating minutes. “Through motivational coaching, SoulCycle gives riders the strength to live their best lives way beyond SoulCycle’s doors,” Cutler says. “What happens in our studios is very special.” —Nila Do Simon

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