Soul searching and sweating it out with SoulCycle
Waking up early on a weekend morning to workout is usually not on my agenda. Personally, I'm a fan of evening workouts to get a good sweat in or unwind and tend to avoid the morning "up and moving" gym crowds. I've also experienced my fair share of group workouts that are fairly distracting and unproductive, so I tend to avoid them and go solo. However, when I was invited to the brand new SoulCycle located in Bellevue for a weekend morning class, I couldn't say no. I've heard incredible things about SoulCycle from my friends in Los Angeles about their personal experiences attending classes, so I was curious to find out for myself what it would be like. I brought my best friend Lauren with me to try out the class -- for new workouts, it can be a little intimidating to go into a class by yourself, so having a friend come along with you can make you feel more confident as you are learning and working out together!
When we arrived, we were greeted by a lively DJ to help us wake up on an early morning. We spent time before our class meandering through the space to admire the interior. SoulCycle is an uplifting and airy space from the inspiring neon signage to the hallway of white lockers and pops of yellow color accents throughout. Even the bathrooms are beautifully done and well-stocked with lotions, towels, blow driers and all the supplies you need for a post-workout shower. Once it was ready for class to start, we were provided with cycling shoes and ready to go inside and get our workout on with a large group of others and our instructor Earl.
Through the duration of the 45-minute class we soon learned there is more to SoulCycle than cycling, hand weights and core work. SoulCycle's focus is to make you FEEL GOOD and FIND JOY in your workout. I can honestly say I've yet to connect with a workout as much as I did with SoulCycle. Not only did I feel physically rejuvenated after the class but I also felt mentally refreshed and ready to tackle my daily, weekly and monthly goals.
Despite the large group of people in our class, it felt like an intimate space to cycle, learn and start a journey with SoulCycle. The cycle room is dimly lit, consists of burning candles, bikes all in a line and an instructor 'stage' and a wall mirror. This setting makes you feel like the focus is on you and the instructor rather than competing with the person seated next to you. The instructor fills the classes with upbeat songs to jam out and cycle to and a structured workout for both using the bike and hand weights. Our instructor Earl was incredibly motivating to listen to as he spoke into his microphone during each song as we cycled -- telling us to focus on our goals whether they are personal or physical and reinforcing that we are all in this together but to experience the class at your own pace. After all, working out is always going to be a personal journey for each individual. One of my favorite parts of SoulCycle is the motto of FIND YOUR ___
What did I FIND during my time in class?
- The quality and importance of "me time" and making sure you make time for yourself EVERYDAY.
- A time to reflect on my goals both professionally and personally.
- A desire to be more intentional, focused and present in moments and every aspect of my life.
- An excuse to buy new workout clothes (I'm not kidding...)
When the class ended, it was unanimous: we were all sweaty and feeling incredible! I left SoulCycle feeling energized and ready to tackle the day and also ready for my next class in the coming week.
After our workout, Lauren and I were craving something healthy to indulge in. The first thought that came to mind was Jujubeet just a few blocks away. I selected the acai bowl full of goodies like the Jujubeet Paleo Granola, acai, bananas, strawberries, almond milk and a topping of fresh fruit. To accompany my bowl and help cool me down post-workout, I sipped on the Be Green smoothie filled with green apples, spinach, ginger, banana and lemon -- this smoothie is my favorite on the menu because it's refreshing but also has a little kick of spice in the aftertaste.
Did I mention that every single time I visit Jujubeet their interior makes me swoon!? From the marble countertops to the stylized bookshelf and greenery, I just can't get enough.