At this point, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard all about the experience at SoulCycle. But taking class itself is special—in the studio, the energy of the riders is electric, and it’s kind of impossible to not become obsessed. The instructors are the cream of the crop and the shower amenities make you feel like you’ve really treated yourself. Trust us, it’s worth the hype.
It’s safe to say that SoulActivate, the new 45-minute workout from SoulCycle, is designed to push your cycling training to the next level. Walking into the room at SoulCycle West End, the vibe was immediately different from a typical Soul class; there were no candles, the room was lit up in red, and the words “power” and “recovery” were written on the mirror. After grabbing a heavy weight (a 5, 8, or 10 pound dumbbell) in addition to the typical light dumbbells used in a regular class, we got set up on the bike like usual (albeit with one light weight awkwardly perched in the cup holder).
At the top of class we were instructed to “take off” our “SoulCycle hats” because SoulActivate is a training-focused ride where many of the SoulCycle rules do not apply. Though we started with a resistance heavy song on the beat and a light arms warm-up, after that we didn’t ride to the beat of the music for the rest of class. The bulk of SoulActivate is two interval training songs (20 second pushes with varying lengths of recovery) with a heavy arms song in the middle (we’re talking bicep curls holding your heavy AND light weight). Though we got recovery time between intervals, that shit was HARD; this is not a class with lots of whooping and smiling, it’s gritty and tough. While we loved taking the weight-work up a notch, we found it challenging to hold both a heavy and light dumbbell in one hand. The end of class brings back the familiar SoulCycle recipe: a slower song followed by some sprints out of the saddle to take us home. While we won’t be hitting SoulActivate all the time, it offered a challenging 45 minutes to counterbalance lighter-resistance regular Soul rides.
Natalia brings the perfect mix of motivation and meditation that we look for in a SoulCycle class. She’s not about to let you slack (we’re still thinking about that double-weight arms song), but she also clearly spends the time thinking about the intention for each class that she teaches. With song influences from alternative pop to hip hop, she has something for everyone. We would have preferred a little less talking on the spiritual/inner peace front and a little more instruction on form to help us push ourselves a little harder.
SoulCycle’s brand is rounded out with their clean and bright space. The front desk will offer up clip-ins and SmartLife water and if you get to class a little early, you can peruse the constantly changing Soul-branded attire. The hallway has lockers with USB chargers for your almost-dead phone and the locker room has everything you might need for class from bobby pins to spray deodorant. Post class, there are three showers that are stocked with Le Labo shampoo, conditioner, body wash and face wash, making the $30 class is worth it for the product alone. The downsides of the West End location are the cramped hallways and chaotic morning getting-ready time where a hair dryer and mirror space can be hard to quickly come by. On the way out, ask for the Orbit for the full SoulCycle experience.
2301 M St NW, Washington, DC 20037 West End Spin $$$$
SoulCycle West End
West End Spin, $$$$
2301 M St NW, Washington, DC 20037
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