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Glossip Girl: Soul Cycle - the spinning class that's good for the mind

March 18th 2014 / Emma Gunavardhana


There’s a new fitness phenomenon in town and it’s on two wheels. Emma Gunavardhana reports on Soul Cycle, the mind and body workout that's got Jake Gyllenhaal hooked

It used to be all about hiking in the canyon; all you needed was your pre-hike wheatgrass shot, your SIGG bottle of water and some sick workout gear.

But there’s been a shift in what’s hot in fitness and now all the Stateside celebs are flocking to Soul Cycle for their cardio fix.

The clue is in the name and yes, there’s a stationary bicycle involved, but Soul Cycle has become something of a fitness phenomenon, or fitnomenon if you will. According to the website, it’s not ‘just in the business of changing bodies; it’s in the business of changing lives’.

Jake Gyllenhaal might agree with that statement, considering he met his on/off girlfriend, the Sports Illustrated model Alyssa Miller, while perched delicately on a Soul Cycle. So regular is Gyllenhaal to classes at the Union Square studio in New York that his attendance guarantees a sold-out class. His favourite instructor, Jolie Walsh, often finds her 10:30am class full to bursting with eager-beavers keen to ride next to the Hollywood star on account of his reputation for never missing a class.

It’s long been said that the benefits of regular exercise are mental as well as physical, but repeat visitors like Jake are proof of Soul Cycle’s philosophy that a healthy body means a healthy mind.

Other celebs like Olivia Wilde and the Kardashians have also been hitting the Soul Cycle studio near their Calabasas base for 45 minutes of full-on cardio, with Kendall Jenner secretly filming her older sister Khloe mid-class and posting it online for all the world to see.

What makes Soul Cycle so different from your average spinning class is the addition of inspirational and motivational coaching into the 45 minute session. The idea is to engage and empower the rider, in addition to getting their heart rate into the fat-burning zone. The idea, according to founders Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, is that riders leave ‘mentally and physically stronger than when they arrived.’

Soul Cycle is still based in the States for now, but don’t be surprised to find their brand of fitness hitting our shores soon enough. In the meantime, there’s Psycle in London who also believe that ‘your state of mind is key to how hard and how often you exercise’. A melting pot of inspirational cycle-sessions, motivational music and lifestyle pointers (think diet, sportswear and beauty) all combine for a complete physical and mental experience.

The company’s tagline is ‘free your mind, transform your body’ and classes provide a total body workout via pay-as-you-go, rather than an annual membership subscription. Developed by Tim Weeks (former athlete, Tatler trainer of the year 2013 and Olympic coach), the classes focus on strengthening the core as well as toning key body parts.

The message is clear; for fitness in 2014, you just have to get on your bike.

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