and this is where I bash SoulCycle.

by Mary & Christina on April 18, 2014 · 0 comments

So about a month ago I decided I wanted to try out the recent craze in exercise- SoulCycle.  My friend Kaitlyn had given me a gift certificate for my birthday and I was really excited to go.  I am a spinning instructor myself (have been for about 6 years)..as a side note.  When I walked in, I was really impressed about the design of the place. Everything, down to the darn water fountain, was top notch.  The bikes were nice too. They each had a little “holder” on the back for a light (2-3 lbs) pair of dumbbells.  One bad thing I would say is that for being such a nice and expensive place- why do the bikes not have computers? It would be nice to have my RPM, a class, watts, my HR  (of course I would have to be wearing my polar heart rate monitor) etc on there.

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Before class started- the instructor did not ask anyone if they were new or if they needed help getting set up. No instructions, either.  Perhaps the other people were not new faces to her, but I sure was.  She did not know I  was a spinning instructor and knew how to set my bike up and how to ride…for all she knew I could have been brand spankin’ new to this.  But I digress. The music started and I must admit- I did like the music- motivating and a good mix.  The sound system/mic system were top notch, too.  Her bike was up on a podium type thing in front of the class and she had candles around her bike which sort of illuminated the room. It was pretty.  It was like she was a god or something, ha ha. SOULCYCLE GODS UNITE.

Before class, she told us that the “choreography” was up to us and that we did not have to do it if we did not want to. “Choreography?”, I thought to myself.  What the heck does this mean?  Next thing you know, she had us doing these weird movements, butt taps, push ups, etc on the bike.  This was part of the choreography because we were moving to the beat of the music.  I felt like I was thrashing my body around.  There was absolutely NO benefit to the moves and it certainly did not help our “core” as she kept claiming.  When I became certified in spinning- I was always taught that the bike is for riding. and only riding. We were told to not even stretch on the bike.  Obviously once you start teaching yourself- some of these rules can be broken (i.e. stretching your legs on the bike, using weights, etc.) but this was to the extreme.  If you want to do push-ups and all of that kind of stuff, do it AFTER the class.  You’ll see and feel more benefit, too.  At my last job I created a class that was 45 minutes of cycle and 15-20 minutes of plyometrics (abs, arms, etc.).  This was much more effective than the dancing we were doing on the bike.   Additionally, these moves we were doing at SoulCycle can be a cause for injury. You shouldn’t be doing this on a bike. Could you imagine if we all rode around on bikes outside doing this? The looks we would get…and the injuries that would ensue.  The only thing that was effective, in my opinion, were the light weights because we did so many reps that I was feeling it in my muscles. One point for SoulCyle. Woop!

Additionally, while we were doing all of these crazy movements I kept thinking about about my “power stroke”. I was not getting an effective stroke in because of everything that was going on up top.  I thought that these weird upper body movements would last only briefly but no, they went on for the ENTIRE class. Shoot me now.

And what about form?  The instructor did not mention form ONCE…not ONCE. Did not explain hand positions, resistance, how to safely stop your bike if something were to go wrong, how to pedal correctly, etc.  She had no system on how to talk about resistance. No scale. No perceived exertion (you should feel like you are not able to talk to the person next to you, you should feel like you are treading water, etc etc.) Talk about a fantastic way to get hurt.

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We were too busy dancing (I mean riding) to even do things in the class that would ACTUALLY benefit us. What about sprints, jumps (ACTUAL jumps), standing climbs, seated climbs, standing runs, anything like that? They were too concerned with the choreography that this got overlooked.  Did we do some of these things? Sure.  But attention was not given to it.  They were short lived. Also- I remember we were “climbing” (or were we? I think we were dancing up the hill) and I had sufficient resistance on but perhaps not as much as she wanted.  I had just run the NYC half marathon the day before so I was using this class as recovery- shake out the legs, etc.  She was walking around the room watching us dance, I mean cycle (I keep doing that), and she actually came up to my bike and turned my resistance knob to the right. I wanted to curse her off. bleep, bleep, bleep (haha) but instead I nicely explained that I did not want a lot of resistance on because I had just run a race and my legs were recovering.  I thought that this was insane. I always tell my class to listen to their bodies. Everyone is a different age, has different experience with cycling, are at different fitness levels and also everyone wants to get something different out of the class they attend on that specific day. Not everyone wants to push their body to the limit that day. After telling my class this I always follow with something like- I am not saying take it easy, I am saying know your body and listen to it. Challenge yourself but know where limits are.  I would never come up to someone and turn their knob up.  Perhaps if someone is  “bouncing in the saddle” I may make a general announcement that hey if you feel your body bobbing up and down- touch up that resistance and it should feel better. You move the wheel- don’t let the wheel move you. I am not tooting my own horn over here. These are basic principles of not only being a Spinning instructor…but any type of group exercise instructor!

I thought I was doing something wrong. Because I didn’t feel like I was getting a good workout in.  And then I thought… well- its probably because (I mentioned this before)- that I am not getting a good power output on the bike because are we really biking? No.  It wasn’t me. Despite the fact that I had just run a half marathon- I was still attempting to get in a good workout. But with all the other stuff going on, this made it hard.

Lastly, $34 per class. A 45 minute class at that.  Really, people?  I’ll be the first to admit, I am not the best with my money. Okay, fine, I suck with my money.  I spend it left and right and I buy fitness classes like candy. But this? It is an outrageous price. I would never buy it.  You can get a better workout at your local small cheap gym’s spin class than at SoulCycle.

So obviously my overall rating of this place is not very high.  I will say though…I only went to one class with one instructor. Perhaps I would be able to say the above with more confidence if I were to have gone to multiple studios, multiple instructors and multiple classes. But I do have quite some experience with spinning so I feel as though my feelings would not change and felt like I got a good feel for the overall vibe of SoulCycle.  SoulCycle is just another fad…some fads are good though…but I do not think this is one of them. I do not believe that it will last.

Now the question stands…what about FlyWheel?  I’ll have to check it out for myself. My gut tells me that I will like this better. You race people and you have a computer with stats on your performance (and I believe these workouts get uploaded to your profile on their website?).  I’d be interested in trying it on for size.

o

Rant Over. Sorry SoulCycle.

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pigeon pose makes me feel so antsy.

by Mary & Christina on April 16, 2014 · 0 comments

Hi, friends. How are you doing on this fine, 30 degree April morning?  I woke up today to frost on the deck…not cool. The good news is that it should be warming up today and  the rest of the week should stay that way.  Last week I visited Harry in North Carolina.  I went for 8 days which is the longest I have seen him for since about July of last year. So it was nice to spend a good chunk of time together.  Riley came along for the trip too! She is a very behaved little girl on the airplane, let me tell ya!  We just relaxed all week which was nice… took the dog to the beach, ran on the beach, worked out together, made dinner together, went out for drinks, went out for dinner, watched movies, read, relaxed, slept in, etc. Just what I needed.

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While I was there I read The Hunger Games and started Catching Fire (I have since finished it, watched the movie and started Mockingjay).  Confession: I have not read a book for leisure since…college.  Even in college I never read the books they assigned to us to read (haha!). I was a bio major and didnt really like literature…plus the books never really tickled my fancy.  I know that is bad but admitting is the first step.  Anyway…after college I went to PA school a week later, finished PA school, studied for boards and started working right away.  And I guess I was used to not reading that I didnt think to pick up a book. But now I realize how much fun reading can be- if you are reading a book you want to read.  Anyway- my sisters gave me Hunger Games for my birthday…in January..and I finally read it.  I am absolutely hooked.  Great books…the kind you dont want to put down.  I am on the third and final book and I feel like after I am done I am going to miss Katniss, Peeta, Gale, and the rest of the characters…did you ever feel that way? I feel that way about Breaking Bad, too hahaha. I miss Jesse and Walt :(

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I recently started getting back into yoga and have started doing pilates and barre classes in the mix as well.  I am not sure why I got out of yoga- I really enjoy it. I feel so relaxed and centered when I do yoga and I feel better about my body and best of all, I feel like I am a better runner when I do yoga.  I went to class with Mary last night.  I feel so good now. It is a good thing to balance with biking, lifting/body pump, and running, I think so anyway.  I feel like I do so much extremity things but barre, yoga, and pilates focus on the core, strengthening, lengthening/stretching, etc. So it makes for a good balance.  I dont know why but but pigeon pose makes me feel so antsy. I feel like we stay in the pose for SOOOO long. Like alright already- I feel stretched…lets move on to the other leg! Does anyone share this feeling or do I need to learn to just let go and take a chill pill?

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That is me in Naples, Florida. My sister Mary and I went there about a year ago when I was doing a rotation in the area.  How pretty is that sunset?

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That picture of Riley makes me crack up? We made burgers for dinner on Sunday night and she has a very bad habit of jumping up on the chair when no one is looking. She wanted that hunk of meat so badly. Look how intent those eyes are.  ha ha ha! Crazy girl! For the record- I do not feed this beast from the table but I cut up a burger and put some in her bowl (and some for my parent’s two other pups).

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This is Riley and I at Harry’s place in North Carolina. I am well aware that I have become the Dog Obsessed Lady. Proper noun. Whatever.

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I started to follow “I <3 to run” on facebook and they post these funny eBibs all the time. They crack me up, some of them. This one could not be more true.

Have a good day!

Question 1: What books do you love? Have you read Hunger Games?

Question 2: What do you think of yoga, pilates, barre?

Question 3: Do you have any pets?

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