In a town where wellness is the word, new Angelino and chef Lynnette Astaire navigates the weird world of working out in LA and shares what she eats to fuel her journey.
All I knew was that I was going to ride a bike.
Although Soul Cycle has permeated popular culture for the last 10 years, my mind has a weird way of blocking out the less . . . pressing issues of the world. So, embarking on this experiment in fitness, I have done little to no research on these classes so that I go with a clear mind. And if there was ever a class to do that with it was this one.
Expensive and somewhat exclusive, Soul Cycle is the epitome of what I consider “LA Fitness.” A place like this is the EXACT reason why I’d offered myself up to write this series. Luckily, my first session was free courtesy of my friends at 1987 Juices who were hosting this special class.
Once I made it to my seat, and figured out how to sit in it, and attach my “fixie” shoes to the pedals, I immediately took a long look around the room – probably because it was nearly pitch black, minus a few candles circling the teacher’s bike, which was pretty cool (more on that later.)
Because of the special event, most of us were newbies and were all sent to the back rows, and me, even worse, to the side. Apparently, one “works” their way up to the front by managing to book a spot then managing to ride in the dark at hyper speed on beat.
The girl in front of me was already speed pedaling before the instructor even came in and I should’ve seen that as an indicator of what was to come but I didn’t. I did, however, check out the “Soul Etiquette” which stated no phones, no talking and no “laundry” which basically meant don’t come to class with a stinky a$$, LOL.
By the time our instructor Lindsay made it to her bike which was on a stage (yes, literally a stage, with candles) the music was bumping and I was already sweating. Apparently, this place doesn’t do AC.
I immediately fell behind as I was truly confused. Although I got the concept and the rhythm completely, somehow my body couldn’t believe that it should be pedaling that fast. While dancing. Sometimes singing. And, of course, breathing.
I’ve had some intense times with bikes in my life: from the hot pink cast I wore when I was 11 to the time my BMX and I flipped over a taxi door in NYC. I’d recently toned it down with a cruiser, content with the fact that I can still ride with no hands, LOL.
So up until today if I happened to be on a bicycle going this fast I would have been fearing for my life since I have zero desire to win the Tour de France.
Finally, after what seemed like a million times of doing their signature “tap back”….I eventually hit my groove when Mariah Carey’s “Honey” came on…. and we slowed down.
It also gave me time to check out our instructor who, from what I could see in the dark, was cool. I dug her playlist and although her movements were sharp and on point, she managed to keep her voice soothing somewhere between a yogini and a phone sex operator which added to the clubby vibe.
And then she told us to speed up again.
Despite the fact that at this point I’d gotten a bit more comfortable and managed to pick up my towel from the floor (very very very hard) – I was ready for it to be over. And although most of my strength lies in my legs, they were no match for this rapid pace. So I slowed down on my own.
Although I’ve quickly learned that “sweatshaming” is apparently a thing in the fitness world, it isn’t a thing for me. I have no problem “punking” out and especially not in this class because I could barely see the bikes in front of me!
Then, finally, it was over.
Although I left the class drenched in sweat, in retrospect I wasn’t as exhausted as I thought I would be. Plus, I wasn’t really sore, which was a major indicator that I actually didn’t do much more than sweat.
Since I do my research post-workout, I hadn’t seen the criticism that claims Soul Cycle’s signature high cadence and low resistance sessions are more harmful than helpful. I can’t say one way or another but I do know that it’s all about choreography and constant movement (AKA cardio) and that’s ok.
It’s just not for me.
When it comes to working out, I’m more of a “weight trainer” than “waist trainer,” so I’d rather do like, 45 minutes of squats before a sweat session like this.
And as always, to be fair, another session or two is needed since I’m unsure on my form or how to optimize the workout. Plus being in spinning shape is apparently different than the general type of “shape” so the only way to train for it is to actually do it.
Who it’s for:
Who it’s not for:
Ectomorphs, the flat-footed*, or the uncoordinated,
*Because I have absolutely no arch, within 15 minutes of the session my feet began to hurt – ouch.
What I ate:
Since it was sponsored by 1987 Juices, I drank a fresh pressed juice. A peach and pepper medley called Georgia that hit the spot after all that soul sweat.
About Lynnette Astaire:
Lynnette Astaire is a chef with 15 years of plant-based cooking experience and 10 years of fasting experience who healed her chronic disease through diet. She is the founder of Superfood School, a plant-based meal prep program that helps everyday eaters to get more plants on their plates, easily and deliciously.
Illustration by Chrissy Curtin