What to Expect from Your First SoulCycle Class

Last weekend, I reached my peak state of basicness: I went to a SoulCycle class. I know, hard to believe it’s taken me this long, but my curiosity finally got the best of me & I wanted to see what the hype was (S/o to Aminah for taking me, you’re the bomb.com). Well, everything you’ve heard about it is true and I get why people are obsessed with it because SoulCycle is absolutely LIT.

SoulCycle is more than just an exercise class, it’s a true experience. That sounds super dramatic & ridiculous, but it couldn’t be more true. It’s not just a spin class. You may roll your eyes at “finding your SOUL” while riding a stationary bike, but trust me, you have to be there to believe it. Yes, it’s an extremely hard workout (you will sweat A LOT) but you actually do walk out of there feeling incredibly empowered.

So if you’re even remotely considering SoulCycle, just sign up & give it a try. And just so have a head’s up, here’s what to expect from your first class. 

Before Your Class

Alright, so you decided you’re going to try this whole SoulCycle thing out–now what? Thankfully, I had Aminah to walk me through the sign up process because it’s kind of intense. Let me break it down:

  1. Go onto www.soul-cycle.com and sign up as a new rider (basic information, email, password, etc.)
  2. To get the new rider discount ($20/first class), the best way is to call the studio where you want to go and tell them that you’re totally new to this whole SoulCycle thing. They’re very nice & accommodating. They’ll ask you for your credit card and add the new rider discount on your account.
  3. Okay, now pay attention. Every Monday at NOON, that’s when the weekly sign-ups start. So even if you want to go on a Saturday, you have to sign up Monday, starting at noon. And depending on how popular your instructor is, spaces fill up fast (Seriously, it was the most stressful 10 seconds of my life, followed by that time I had to buy pre-sale Drake tickets), so make sure you’re logged in & ready to go. Just click on a bike marked by a number (they show you a map of the studio) & you’re registered to ride.

The really nice thing about SoulCycle is that they send you an email immediately after about what to expect/how to prepare, but here are some other things to keep in mind.

  • Pack your bag: Especially if you’re going prolong your basicness & to brunch afterwards (guilty), bring a change of clothes because you will get really sweaty. Other things to bring: socks (you need them for the shoes they give you), water bottle (a MUST) and towel (although they have them for you as well).
  • What to wear: Capris/leggings or shorts that won’t ride up/chafe. (Really recommend super breathable leggings for ladies). Work out tank or tshirt is fine, although most people (myself included) just end up wearing their sports bras (did I mention you sweat a lot?) You can wear whatever shoes you want to the studio (just remember socks!!) because they give you special shoes, as mentioned before.
  • H Y D R A T E: Yes, you have a place for a water bottle on your bike, but I definitely didn’t drink enough water before hand which definitely did not help me. Drinks lots and lots of water the day/morning before.
  • Eat a little something:  This isn’t something like “oh I never eat before I go on a run.” You definitely need something in your stomach before you go. Doesn’t have to be a lot, but you really don’t want to pass out during your first SoulCycle class. My class was at 10:45 a.m., so about an hour before I had an apple with peanut butter and a KIND bar & felt good.
  • Bring a friend: It definitely helped that I went with Aminah (who’s been before) so I could ask her a bunch of questions/calm my nerves, but if you don’t know anyone who’s gone before, bring a friend so you can try it together! I definitely was a little nervous leading up to it, so it was nice to have someone to go with.
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what’s poppin’ Ami

Getting There & Getting Ready to Ride

I went to the Rittenhouse Square (RHSQ) studio in Philly (super nice, great location). They tell you to get there 15 minutes before your class, but if since it’s your first time, I’d go closer to 20-25 minutes. That way, you can get your bearings and get settled. Let me warn you, as soon as you walk in, you get hit by a wall of ENERGY. It’s electric in there. The instructors, staff working the desk, the other people coming out of classes–it can be a bit overwhelming. Just kinda go with it. You’ll get used to it soon enough. Here’s what to do when you get there:

  • Sign in: Remember that bike number you signed up for? Since you probably forgot, luckily for you, you initial next to your name and bike number when you get in.
  • Get your shoes: Like I said, you need special shoes so pick those up at the front desk. The first time you go, your shoes are free–every other time it’s $3 to rent them.
  • Check out the (swanky) locker room: Yea, the locker room is kinda like a spa. There’s two areas–lockers and then the showers/bathrooms/etc. You can leave your stuff in the lockers while you’re in class and then head back up there after class to shower and such. There are towels and small toiletries (hair ties, band aids, razors, deodorant, etc.) available. And everything sorta smells like citrus.
  • Get to know your bike: Alright, when you finally make your way down to the studio (loud music will probably already be playing), find your bike and make sure you adjust it. This is important. You’re going to be with this bike for the next 45 minutes so you want to make sure it’s set up right. If you have trouble, just ask someone, they’re more than happy to help. They can also help you get your shoes clipped in right because it’s not as easy as it looks haha. Your instructor will also tell you what weights to grab (they go in the back of your bike) & you can get a towel for your ride too (highly recommend).

Woo! You’re ready to ride.

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How do I get to “warrior” status?

During Class (aka Finding your SOUL)

HERE WE ARE. The moment you’ve been waiting for–finding your SOUL. Of course, every class is going to be different depending on the instructor (shoutout out to Nick Turk–it wasn’t love at first sight, but by the end of class you had my heart), but you can generally expect….

  • Jams on JAMS: It kind of feels like you’re at frat party, but better music & less sticky beer on the floor. The instructor literally has a mini DJ set up on his podium. 98% sure Beyonce is required in some way in every SoulCycle class across the country.
  • Candlelight, darkness, somewhere in between: Yea, there are candles in the studio? Just go with it. Sometimes you ride by candlelight. Sometimes you ride in complete darkness. Sometimes a few lights are on. It kind of feels like a yoga studio but more high energy and obviously bikes.
  • A very hard workout: It’s fast. You gotta really pay attention but it’s really fun. If you miss something, don’t worry about it, just stay with it best you can. You’ll be adjusting your speed and resistance throughout, while also working your core and arms. Keep at it the best you can, DRINK WATER and ease off if you need to.
  • Lots of inspirational messages: This is what makes it different than “just a spin class.” SoulCycle is about being present, pushing yourself & feeling strong. It’s like a 45 minute pep talk. You go, Glen CoCo.
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if you don’t take a picture of a neon sign, did you even SoulCycle?


Your legs might feel like jello but you feel alive. You can go back up to the locker room to shower/get ready, return your shoes/towels and head off to brunch…where you’ll try to figure out how to financially afford an unlimited SoulCycle class pass ;)


Hope that answered all your questions about trying SoulCycle for the first time! If you want to know anything else, feel free to leave me a comment. Happy riding! &.


4 thoughts on “What to Expect from Your First SoulCycle Class

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