Soulcycle brands spinning and spirituality

Having heard about Soulcycle, a cult-phenomenon among NYC spinners, I tried out one of their classes during a recent trip. Soulcycle’s spin on spinning is to add dumbbells and dance moves to stationary biking. It operates back-to-back 45-minute classes in eleven studios around New York, three in Los Angeles, and soon will have two in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Soulcycle also incorporates watered-down spiritual messages of the type one hears in yoga classes — but unlike the typical yoga class, a Soulcycle workout is shorter, burns way more calories and includes minimal stretching. Think of it as a yoga-alternative for the Type A exerciser.

Are you ready “to soul?”

I went to Soulcycle’s West Side studio after signing up for class online. While online signups are typical for many exercise classes, Soulcycle actually had me choose a specific bike on their website. My registration was confirmed with a “Welcome to Soulcycle” message that listed my assignment to Bike #32. It also offered information about attire, hydration and Soulcycle etiquette.

Soul Etiquette - SoulCycle

Soulcycle packs in the riders

As a fan of good manners, I loved the etiquette rules — especially the part about “laundry,” since Soulcycle places their bikes as close together as possible. It’s a New York thing — people there have learned to tolerate less personal space than those of us who live in California suburbs. All the same, with 50 to 60 bikes crammed into a space about three times the size of an average living room, personal hygiene is key.

Although crowded, Soulcycle finesses their routine so that, even when you’re doing dumbbell raises, you rarely bump into the people on your left and right. For example, arm extensions are performed to the front, the rear and at 45-degree angles — but never out to the sides.

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Maria and Serena and the 2012 US Open: day/night costume changes

Some of the male players are varying their shirt colors at the Open, but generally they keep to the same overall color scheme — this year, it’s mostly a red, white and blue one. But Nike has upped the glamour quotient with its top female tennis celebrities by giving them dark dresses to wear for evening matches. All this costume-changing is making the fashion experience of the US Open feel more like a Mary-Kate and Ashley movie.

Maria Sharapova

US Open 2012_MariaSharapova_Day

 

Maria’s dress for daytime matches is a demure pink, with brown criss-cross stripes that form a diamond under the bust. Its clean lines and sleek shape emphasize her cover girl proportions. While the pink is pretty, in my opinion it’s far too dainty for Maria’s incessant grunting and ruthless style of play.

 

MariaSharapova_USOpen2012_Night1

 

Maria-Sharapova-Back-Court-Night-Womens-Tennis-Dress

 

The nighttime dress offers sheer sex appeal. Sewn from a shimmering fabric that’s not quite black, not quite brown (Nike calls it “Anthracite”), it drapes slinkily over Maria’s body. The back yoke is cut in to expose the shoulders, with gold thread detail that traces a Spiderman-type of motif. What does Spidey have to do with tennis? The dress is gorgeous, but really: the sexy fabric and gold Spiderman decoration? All she needs now is some Swarovski crystals embedded in the bodice.   [Read more…]