Wellness Wednesday 4/20
Posted by The Evolution! Society
What Is SoulCycle, and Why Are People Obsessed With It?
It’s designed for exclusivity.
SoulCycle classes for the week ahead open for registration at noon every Monday. And devoted riders go crazy. People will abandon meetings, reschedule phone calls, and ditch work commitments to coalesce around their smartphones and book classes with their favorite SoulCycle instructors. Wait until 12:01 p.m. and the class might be full. SoulCycle keeps opening more studios— they’ve now got 38 in six cities across the U.S.—but certain sessions always reach capacity quickly.
It’s a solid workout that doesn’t take much time.
In just 45 minutes, SoulCycle says that a rider can burn as many as 700 calories. Each session involves a warm up, a high-intensity cardio and strength session, and a cool down. Each class includes a short session using free weights, and by the time you get there, a one-pound dumbbell may as well weigh a ton. Most SoulCycle studios run classes all day, starting first thing and going until 7 or 8 at night, making them convenient for time-crunched Americans.
Bring on the Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, and Pitbull. SoulCycle sessions are marketed as a dance party on a bike. Set in a dark room with loud music, riders spend most of their time out of the bike seat doing choreography like push-ups on the handlebars or “tap backs” designed to work the core. Throw in some candles (which typically adorn the podium around the instructor’s bike) and the experience is more like a sweaty nightclub than a standard gym.
It’s designed to make people feel good.
Instructors are trained (at Soul University, no less) to be friendly purveyors of positive reinforcement—no boot camp-style screaming here!—and each one has their own particular technique for doing so. Some talk about controlling one’s own destiny, while others focus on shaking off a tough day at work, or feeling stronger and fitter. People get hooked on that combination of positive reinforcement and endorphins.
It’s a place to see and be seen.
SoulCycle is more than just a spin class. Every location of the chain also sells apparel, like a $52 tank top and $78 sweatpants, along with headbands, water bottles, and other memorabilia adorned with SoulCycle logos. SoulCycle groupies will purchase entire outfits to truly show their loyalty to the fitness company—which further cultivates a sense of loyalty among riders with a special “community” section on its website, where you can get to know instructors and read rider testimonials.
Now Target has gotten in on the cray…cray…
In its never-ending quest to remain hip, Target has hooked up with one of the hottest fitness crazes du jour.
In any case, SoulCycle is still only in a handful of cities. So Target is sponsoring a 10 city-tour, which includes a stop in the retailer’s hometown of Minneapolis, to spread the gospel of the workout that includes dance moves and weights.
“It’s about putting a Target stamp on getting healthy in the new year,” said Katie Boylan, a Target spokeswoman.
As Target has put a bigger emphasis on health and wellness, it handed out Fitbits to all of its employees last year. In 2015, it also partnered with Life Time Fitness to launch a new fitness class called the “C9 Challenge,” a tie-in to its private-label workout brand.
As for the SoulCycle collaboration, of course, Target being Target, it is also going to have a limited-edition collection of workout apparel — hoodies, tanks, sweatpants — co-branded with SoulCyle and Target available for sale at a pop-up shop at the events. Boylan said the line will also be available at Target.com, but will not be sold in Target’s stores.
So is this tour a hint that SoulCycle may be expanding to some the cities on the tour? Not really. SoulCycle said through a Target spokeswoman that the chain doesn’t have any plans to expand to Minneapolis at this time.
Other cities on the tour include Washington DC, Houston, Seattle, Atlanta, Nashville, Denver, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles. The tour will hit Minneapolis on February 12-14. During the three-day events in each city, SoulCycle will hold free classes six times a day. And yes, they are expected to fill up quickly. More details will be posted at Target.com/Soulcycle closer to the events.