When I used to think about exercise, I only thought about how to make myself look skinnier. Maybe if I ran more miles or lifted heavier weights or tried more sprints I would achieve the body I so desperately wanted. Now, after reading that, does it sound like I thought of exercise as being fun? Yeah, no, I didn’t so. As a lifetime avid exerciser (my parents are very active and I played every sport under the sun, including soccer for 13 years of my life), being in shape was a very important part of my life. When I went to college, I had to motivate myself to exercise on my own. There were no parents or coaches to get me sweating so I developed my own exercise routines to help keep me in shape. Notice how I am not using the word “strong” and have only focused on the words “in shape” because, in all honesty, that’s all I wanted. I wanted to be fit.
When it comes to exercise, I am a very motivated and dedicated person. Friends often don’t understand that I won’t miss a work out or that I prioritize a sweat sesh over almost anything during the week (I give myself the weekends to recover). I really like being this way because exercising helps me feel physically better but it also helps me keep my sanity during the work week. Plus, even though it sounds shallow, it helps me feel good about my physical appearance. However, even through my dedication, I never really saw exercise as something fun for me to experience, but more like a chore I had to get through in order for me to feel good about my day. I started noticing that even though I was pushing myself pretty hard, I was really just going through the motions until I was done so that I could check it off for the day. I also had never really taken work out classes with other people because the idea of working out in a class seemed awful to me. I just wanted to be in my own space and sweat alone.
About two years ago, I was introduced to my first SoulCycle class. I was so nervous to try it because A.) I’m a runner not a biker and B.) I was not a group workout class kind of gal and 3.) It was supposedly really hard. Like I said, I have never been one to shy away from a challenge but trying something completely outside my comfort zone was terrifying. Oh yeah, and did I mention that I was told that we were going to ride to the beat of the music? What the hell does that mean?!?! This uncoordinated girl was SHOOK. So, I took my very first class and SPOILER ALERT, I survived. It was hard as hell and I was literally drenched in sweat when I left, but I did it. When I left, I remembered thinking “F*ck, that was hard but damn, I think I liked it even though I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.” My friend, who was an avid SoulCycler at the time, told me that it really takes like 3-5 classes until you feel like you are getting the hang of it. When I took my second class, I already felt much better. To my surprise, I actually liked having a community around me and hearing people cheering each other on while we all moved together in the dark. It was like having a room full of strangers that also kind of feel like your best friends because you are all connected to this one class. It sounds cheesy, but it was magical, especially for someone like me who only ever worked out alone.
Let’s fast forward to now. I look back on those first few classes and even though I had no idea what I was doing, I still felt so supported and uplifted by the SoulCycle community. No one was judging. No one made you feel less than. And everyone belonged. Plus, with each class, I felt myself getting stronger and stronger. I felt empowered by this new found love of SoulCycle and honestly, not much has changed. I still feel these same feelings to this day only they have strengthened even more over time. With the help of my incredible SoulCycle family, I have been challenging myself more than I ever have before. I used to not think I could do more than one SoulCycle class a week. Now, I go five times a week and wish I could go seven because I feel stronger and more committed than I ever have been in my exercise journey. I am no longer motivated by just “getting skinny” but I feel my strength growing with every single class and I feel stronger, both mentally and physically, than I ever have. I feel confident AF and that’s all I really focus on. This is a HUGE step for me and I really owe this to SoulCycle. Oh, and do I see changes in my body? Hell yes I do! I feel leaner and stronger in all areas of my body but especially my butt and legs. I was never one to love wearing short skirts/dresses because I was self-conscious of my legs but SoulCycle has really helped me tone those areas. All that hard work is paying off!
The other day, Jonny and I were talking about SoulCycle and he skeptically asked “do you actually feel excited before each SoulCycle class?” I turned back to him and said “Yes! I truly feel excited each time I clip into a bike and start riding because I know that I am going to push myself harder than the day before and feel stronger when I leave.” Really, this is the truth. I don’t view SoulCycle as a chore, I view it as an opportunity to challenge myself and sweat through obstacles that I may have told myself I couldn’t push through a year ago. My “SoulCycle Summer” has made me realize how strong I really am and I don’t plan on stopping this journey anytime soon.